5 Crazy Vegan Stereotypes—Smashed!
Meat-eaters still think of vegans as long-haired hippies with tie-dyed shirts. Were here to prove these outdated beliefs wrong.
Whether you’ve been vegan for a week or a lifetime, undoubtedly someone has asked you if your plant-based diet is unhealthy. Or maybe you’ve had a coworker tell you that plants have feelings, too. Whatever the case, nearly every vegan has encountered a person whose attitudes towards plant-based living are firmly stuck in the Eisenhower administration. To help combat some of the misguided vegan stereotypes, we’re showing how five of these outdated beliefs are as relevant today as a rotary phone.
1. "All vegans are treehuggers"
Yes, countercultural hippies during the 1960s were among the first to widely embrace vegetarianism by choosing a more humane, sustainable diet. While these plant-based pioneers paved the way for today’s vegans, we remain stuck with the image of unkempt, wild-haired, tie-dye-wearing hippies who have to combine macrobiotic proteins to survive. Times have changed, but many people’s distorted perceptions haven’t. Maybe knowing that there are vegans in every walk of life—from United States Senator (D-NJ) Cory Booker and pop megastar Miley Cyrus to string theory physicist Brian Greene—would change the minds of people still stuck in the recent past.
2. "Vegans are wispy weaklings"
While studies show that vegans generally weigh less than carnivores, the “weakling” label is misleading thanks to the array of vegan athletes crushing it in every professional sport. You want strength? There’s UFC fighter Nate Diaz, former NFL defensive end David Carter, and world-class weightlifter Patrik Baboumian. How about speed and endurance? We’ve got Olympic gold medalist Carl Lewis, Ironman champion John Joseph, and ultramarathoner Scott Jurek. These—and many other ultra-fit vegans too numerous to mention—prove that you don’t need to eat meat to excel in sports.
3. "Being vegan means you’re angry"
It’s okay to be outraged by the animal suffering, human disease, and environmental destruction that eating meat causes. That said, being angry regarding injustice does not mean that vegans are angry people. Nevertheless, many carnivores seem to think that all vegans routinely scream “meat is murder!” in people’s faces and throw red paint on women’s fur coats every day. Of course, that’s simply not the case. Instead, many vegans live much like everyone else, (ie, treating others politely and respectfully). For example, celebrities such as actress Ellen Page, talk show host Ellen DeGeneres, and hip-hop mogul Russell Simmons might speak out publicly against cruelty to animals, but they do so with dignity and grace and not anger.
4. "Vegans are know-it-alls"
The notion of vegans as moralistic finger-waggers who turn their noses up at the rest of the world is another stereotype to which meat-eaters seem particularly attached. Maybe that’s why so many of them try to knock us off the high-horses they think we ride by claiming things such as how we don’t get enough protein, God gave humans “dominion” over the animals, and plants suffer, too. The mere fact that we don’t eat animals seems to trigger many people’s defensiveness, guilt, and resistance to the issues we raise. Savvy animal activists understand this, and acknowledge the validity of these emotional responses. Matt Ball, executive director of Vegan Outreach, offers this advice to activists: “Don’t argue. Offer information, and be honest and humble … Don’t be self-righteous. No one is perfect; no one has all the answers.”
5. "There’s no humor in veganism"
Many meat-eaters seem to relish roasting vegans, and author Carol Adams suggests this is because they feel threatened and use humor as a defense mechanism. In her book Living Among Meat Eaters: The Vegetarian’s Survival Guide, Adams writes, “One teenager described this form of joking that greeted her vegetarianism. At some point, she realized, these people were making fun of her to make themselves look better.” Fortunately, comedic vegans such as talk show host Bill Maher, Jackass star Steve-O, and “Bizzaro” cartoonist Dan Piraro make people laugh without making fun of animals’ suffering or people’s compassionate choices.
We'd Love These 10 Celebs Even More if They Went Vegan
Were looking at you, Jay-Z, Tracee Ellis Ross, Big Freedia, and Dave Grohl.
Read More »
Why Going Vegan Can Help You Relax
Are you someone who practices mindful meditation? If so, heres why you should be vegan (if you arent already).
Read More »
Want Political Change? It's Time to Start Voting Vegan
Lets put ethical, moral, and environmentally conscious champions in government.
Read More »
5 Reasons Your Next Vacation Should Be Aboard the Vegan Holistic Holiday at Sea
A 10-night vegan cruise with healthy food and a plethora of plant-based celebs? Yes, please!
Read More »
How Do You Remember 100 Songs in 4 Days? For Pop-Punk Band Alkaline Trio, the Answer is Veganism
Matt Skiba says eschewing dairy helps with his voice and his on-stage energy level.
Read More »
- 5 Woman-Owned Vegan Businesses You Should Be Obsessed With
- 6 Valentine's Day Gifts for that Vegan Curmudgeon in Your Life
- 6 Red-Hot Vegan Lipsticks To Drive Your Valentine Crazy
- How a Vegan Canadian Figure Skater Prepared to Win Gold at the Winter Olympics
- How to Be a Vegan Teen Valentine
- Vegan Valentine's Day Tips From No. 1 Best-Selling Author Kathy Freston
- 5 Vegan Turmeric Recipes for Those Who Are Slightly Intimidated by It
- How A Vegan Diet is Making ''Everything'' Easier for One Punk Singer
- Your Meat-Eating Friends Want One of These 10 Vegan Books
- 7 Ways to Veganize Your Bed, Just in Time for Valentine's Day
- 5 Steps to the Perfect Vegan Valentine's Day
- 8 Love-Infused Vegan Events to Celebrate Valentine's Day
- Thanks to These 7 Vegan Pies, We Have Declared National Pizza Day a Holiday
- No Valentine This Year? Try Vegan Speed Dating
- 6 Ways to Queer Your Vegan Valentine's Day
- Bought Too Many Vegan Girl Scout Cookies? Here are 10 Desserts You Should Make With Them
- Glow Up With These 18 Vegan Beauty Brands in 2018
- How One Chef is Getting NFL Players to Go Vegan
- From Struggling for Breath to Running Marathons: Veganism Saved His Life
- 6 Badass Vegan Women Who Don't Take Any Sh*t