Apparently a new wave of vegans has arrived. Of “fit, macho, sexy” vegan men to be exact.
An article published last week on the Guardian present this new breed of men as “smooth and firm as tofu” (without their tops off). The arrival of such creatures on the vegan scene has prompted the infamous newspaper to ask “Could the movement go mainstream?”
Indeed, cis white privileged business inclined “real men” vegan advocates might just be what the animal rights movement has so long hoped for.
After having suffered from being comprised largely of women and “hippies”, it goes without saying that the cause needs serious help.
Veganism’s only hope to become mainstream is resting on all those manly shoulders.
Let’s take a closer look at these specimens. Not only do they possess abs made of firm tofu (it’s much better than steel!) but they have very important skills that are paramount to reaching the masses.
They shamelessly brag and cuss.
The “mmm…bacon” crew finally have rivals worth their time!
You might think I’m not being serious, but take note guys; their methods work.
A friend of their’s, a former cattle rancher, is now mostly vegan!
All sarcasm aside, this piece by the Guardian touched on some important issues.
- The seemingly necessary (?) loss of the weak (unmanly) vegan stereotype to reach the masses
- The inclusion of plant-based and “mostly vegans” in the vegan movement
As I self-identify with the “real” vegan moniker used in the title, I thought I should answer the question.
What do I make of the newcomers?
Wannabe vegan ≠ vegan
Wannabe vegan ‹ vegan
Wannabe vegan › non-vegan
Wannabe vegan⇒ future vegan or future non-vegan??
This article almost gave me a headache. Veganism was mainstream enough to attract men whose strategy for making it EVEN MORE mainstream is to make plant-based eating (or mostly vegan-eating *cough*) part of a patriarchal norm. Then I ask, is it really necessary?
I think it’s a flawed strategy. Patriarchal norms of the meat-eating manly men have been around for too long to try and create new norms of masculinity. Instead of trying to make veganism (a movement against the oppression of non-human animals) fit into a system of oppression against women (patriarchy), why not go the rational route and fight against all oppression all at once?
The strategy advanced by those “VeganBros” may work, I’m not denying it, but do the means justify the end? If it meant a 100% adherence to a vegan lifestyle by a majority of the population, I would be open to discussion but it doesn’t seem to be the case.
Which brings me to the second point raised in the article. The inclusion of “mostly plant-based” eaters to the vegan movement. By definition, the word vegan refers to a set moral standpoint against the use of animals in any shape or form.
The original meaning of the word has been hi-jacked by the well-meaning crowd of plant-based eaters who have seen in it an opportunity to cash-in on a trend they created. On the surface, it is not a bad thing. Making vegan eating a food trend helps it become part of the mainstream discourse. Following a trend is cool, people in the mainstream want to be cool. If everyone who wants to be vegan to be “cool” is included, for sure it will tip the scale and make a massive impact. The question is, trends come and go, what will we do when all those “new vegans” turn their back on us “real vegans” and jump on the next train?
I doubt that having the possibility of easily being a “full-time vegan” would be sufficient to you know actually have full-time vegans.
What do you guys think? What are your thoughts on the best way to make veganism mainstream?
Thanks for reading. Your input will be appreciated.
*A lot of articles can be found about how “veganism is becoming mainstream”. In light of this, there’s a lot to discuss. This will be Part 1 of an ongoing serie.