Look, I get it.
The aggressive vegan preaching on the sidewalk, or who can’t wait to bring up how wrong eating animal products is at every social event – they’re bloody annoying.
The vegan stereotype is of a loud, judgmental person, and stereotypes often have at least a grain of truth.
But I’d like to share with you a different perspective – my own – as someone who went vegan a few years ago.
I’ve seen both sides, and have probably thought all the things about vegans that you do right now.
I hope you’ll hear me out, because I think you’ll come out of this feeling less frustrated or angry, and will be able to see or communicate with vegans more effectively
Are They Really Judgmental? Sampling Bias in Action
Some vegans are definitely very judgmental.
However, it might surprise you to know that most are not, despite what your experience might suggest.
Studies have shown that vegans feel more judged than people of any diet type. Most vegans are so afraid of being associated with those loud, preachy ones, that they don’t even want to bring up their diet.
So what’s the effect of this?
You talk to vegans all the time and never even know it because of this. The only ones you typically here from are those stereotypical ones who go out of their way to try and make your feel bad.
It’s a lot like those religious preachers on corners in large cities. Do they represent most religious people? Of course not.
The difference here is that since religion is more common than veganism, you personally know more people who are religious, and therefore know that the crazy ones aren’t common.
But if you’re not a vegan, or go to vegan food festivals, you likely don’t know too many vegans personally. So your sample is limited to the loudest, most obnoxious vegans.
If there’s a local event for vegans that you’re able to attend, I encourage you to attend. I think you’ll realize that the vast majority of vegans are caring, understanding people.
Are Vegans Judging You, Or Are They Judging Your Diet?
Those sound awfully similar, but there’s an important difference between the 2.
If you ask me, do I think a vegan diet is more moral than one that contains meat, I will strongly agree.
That’s an implicit judgement.
But does that mean that vegans are better than omnivores (who eat meat)? No, it doesn’t.
A vegan can still be a terrible person in every other aspect, and an omnivore can generally be a great person, I would just say they’ve got this one decision wrong.
My point is that you need to separate criticism of your choices from who you are.
If you’re discussing diet choices with a vegan and it somehow comes up that they think your diet choices are ethically wrong, it’s easy to feel personally attacked. But in most cases, it’s not intended to be an attack on you.
“Hate the sin, not the sinner,” or something like that.
A lot of this will come as a result of how well that person is able to explain veganism.
Some Vegans Are Judgmental, But Most Are Not
The reality is that most vegans have no high ground to judge from.
Most are like me, who took a long time to go vegan.
Up until that point, I was your typical athlete who ate a ton of meat.
Even though I’ll never (knowingly) eat another animal product in my life, I’ve already eaten more than some people will in their entire lifetimes.
So when I talk to non-vegans about diet, even though it’s not often, it’s never from a place of judgement. I can understand why they eat like they do because I’ve done the same myself.
To sum up: There are some judgmental vegans, but most are not. And if it seems like a vegan is judging you, it’s more likely they’re judging your diet, which is an important distinction.
If you have any questions or thoughts about any of this, feel free to leave a comment below.