Monday 23 October 2017

Can You Be a Vegan Without Being an Arrogant Wanker?

Why are vegans so militant? Why do vegans have a superiority complex? Vegans have a reputation for being judgemental, up-themselves, know it all, arrogant wankers, who can't wait to shove their self-righteousness in your face (see above). But do vegans bring this on themselves or does it come from the self-doubt of carnists? If it is important to try and convince people to become vegan, how can you convince people to become vegan without becoming pushy arrogant vegan wankers?

1. Veganism: Self-righteousness vs Self-doubt?

Of course, there are many vegans out there who will jump at the chance to tell you that they are vegan and shove it (pun intended) down your throat. I've personally never met one, but I'm sure that they exist... jokes aside, even for the shyest of vegans, bringing up the fact that your vegan is occasionally unavoidable - and by occasionally I mean three times a day when food gets brought up. Of course, it's natural for carnists to ask why someone is vegan, but it's hard to explain why you're vegan without the other person feeling like you're insulting them personally:

vegan puns

Because let's face it, most of the reasons people are vegan are not pretty, they're to do with world-hunger, bowel cancer, climate change, animals being skinned alive, heart disease, the pus and blood that's allowed in milk, the pollution of the earth, and chicks having their beaks torn off so they don't peak each other to death - none of which exactly makes for comfortable dinner conversation. [Btw are you new here? Find out how travel made me vegan in this post]

2. Can You Convince People to be Vegan Without Being an Arrogant Vegan Wanker?

Case study: vegan puns vs vegan rap (aka humour vs aggression). Okay, so during my daily morning Facebook scroll I came across two videos, the first includes vegan puns by Regan The Vegan:

In which he explains why he went vegan. Regan the Vegan chooses to go for a humorous approach similar to Simon Amstell's Carnage by employing the help of some awesome vegan puns (bitch peas I've hommusly never felt better). With the help of many vegan foods (which incidentally, is a nice, subtle way of showing a great range of foods that are 'accidentally' vegan), he explains how he originally went vegan for his health, which developed into compassionate reasons. Regan the Vegan keeps it nice and light by only gently touching on factory farming and inviting people to learn more about it themselves. He, of course, addresses the protein issue too. But the main message is simple: he's vegan, he's healthy (read: hot), and he wants to invite you to find out more. Now, the second video is a vegan rap by vegan Kyle O'Sullivan... which got taken down by Facebook but here it is on YouTube instead:

Kyle's video focuses more on answering the questions vegans are asked pretty much every day, like "aren't we supposed to eat meat?" Kyle O'Sullivan goes for a more aggressive approach by rapping, swearing and talking about butt-holes - my kind of guy. In three minutes he not only manages to answer all of these questions, he also manages to slip in a load of key reasons people are vegan. Her lyrics include my favourite:

56 billion animals each year that are sent to slaughter
56 billion animals that you can feed and water
that's 8 times the fucking human race's population
yet we can't stop hunger and poverty in every single nation

I mean, #preach. I'm going to assume both Regan the Vegan and Kyle O'Sullivan have the same goal: spread awareness about veganism via the power of social media. They both touch on health, cruelty, and protein and they both do it in an entertaining way. They both keep it down to a nice three minutes too. But where they differ is with their approaches... Regan the Vegan is very inviting, very calm, very collected, whereas Kyle O'Sullivan is angry and unapologetic.

3. If their aim is to convince others to become vegan, who is going about it the right way?

Regan the Vegan creates a safe environment where no one is judged or belittled, and the facts can be calmly delivered. In his own words "humour is a kiwiy to get people interested." Regan doesn't come across as self-satisfied, in fact, he implies that he's just like your average Joe, by revealing that he too used to be the most meaty meat eater ever. This is a great place to find common ground, almost all vegans were once carnists and if we can start from a place of agreement (meat/cheese/whatever tastes good), maybe then it's easier to move onto the bigger picture (just because you can, doesn't mean you should). - As opposed to starting off pissed off.

Kyle O'Sullivan's vegan rap on the other hand arguably creates more aggro and possibly a larger divide between the vegans and the carnists. I read a lot of the comments on the Facebook video, and people were just getting angry - possibly because they felt personally attacked by Kyle O'Sullivan. It's controversial. But quite frankly, in our society, controversial stuff shares.

When I first saw it, Regan's video has been on Facebook for 1 year and got a whopping 6 million views, which is amazing. But when I first saw Kyle's video on Facebook it had only been up for just 1 week and already had 6 million views. If you were comparing the two as a business and looking at them purely from an outreach point of view, Kyle O'Sullivan would be the social media influencer you would go for.

Additionally, Kyle manages to address a lot more in his video - both of the videos are three minutes long, but thanks to his fast (extremely talented) rap skills, Kyle O'Sullivan manages to squeeze a lot more in. Personally, I prefer Kyle's style, it's way more up my street (I love vegan rap, I hate vegan puns). But I can see the merits and pitfalls of both.

4. So can you convince people to become vegan without being an arrogant wanker?

Of course, you can. I'd love to compare the stats of Kyle O'Sullivan and Regan the Vegan and see how many people they've both made vegan, but I don't have that data. All I can say is I think both ways are important. I wouldn't be surprised if Regan was able to convince more people, but Kyle was able to reach more people, and at the end of the day we need both of these things.

Ultimately, the only person who can make a person vegan is that person themselves. But many people need a spark to get there. And different people are 'sparked' in different ways. All you can do, if you are a vegan looking to make others vegan, is just go about it in your own way - don't try and be too unapologetic if that's not who you are and don't try and be too rowdy if that's not who you are. Just stay true to yourself. (And if you've got a secret talent for making vegan puns or vegan rap, utilise it!) Looking for more vegan info? Find out the pros and cons after 1 year of being vegan

P.S. don't worry too much about being an arrogant vegan wanker - you might be an asshole, but at least your lunch didn't have one xx 

Also, here's one of the main reasons I went vegan: watching Earthlings. Here's my and my ex-bf's reaction video:

P.S. no. 2.: If you're interested in an app designed for vegans & wanna support the vegan movement and us, veganvstravel as well, use this link plz to download Abillionveg. When registering, please use our referral code: TRAVELLINGWEASELS. If you wanna know why we think this is a great app, read here.

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