Saturday, November 24, 2007

omg vegans and vegetarians eat stuff that isn't meat! HOW DARE THEY!

Yes, yes, I know I should avoid Fark.com, but sometimes I find useful stuff in the discussions.

Their pissing and moaning about Tofurky, however, was just idiotic. Poor them, having to live with the knowledge that people are eating meatless meals in their own homes for Thanksgiving! In fact, there are people eating foods that these guys haven't tried, but KNOW are horrible and disgusting, and it's just plain wrong! That, and, omg, sometimes the people eating this disgusting Tofurky stuff are occasionally FAT! That's, like, even worse.

Because, y'know, it's totally their business what I want to eat, and whether or not I'm fat.

This kind of bitching and moaning leads me to believe that such complainers are not totally comfortable with their own choices. Many of those I know who aren't nasty assholes to me about being a vegetarian are people who are conscious about their diet choices, and have come to terms with them.

But, hey, let me answer some of the stupid-ass questions raised:
"If you aren't eating meat, why are you trying to replace it with meat substitute?" This to me seems like something they could figure out with a couple of brain cells, but let me answer it anyway: Because sometimes, people are vegetarian or vegan because they don't want to kill animals. Eating fake meat means they can have the easy, convenient source of protein without the whole animal torture and death bit. Duh.

"Why are people fat if they are vegans?" Because being fat isn't wholly dependent upon diet. Genetics, medications, and other factors come into play. Body fat can be made from all kinds of foods, not just meat and dairy. Also, see above about it being an animal rights thing for some people. Health may or may not be a consideration.

"But tofu tastes bad!" Okay, well, that's an opinion, you see, and not everyone shares that opinion. Besides, Tofurky is made from tofu, but it doesn't taste like tofu. Also, tofu can be prepared well, or it can be prepared poorly. Most people who have eaten my tofu like it.

"zomg lol plants are alive too!" People who bring this up are generally just being deliberately obtuse. If you cannot figure out that a squash is less likely to suffer than a cow, then I really can't help you. Of course, I will dignify this by also mentioning that each cow must eat many times more plants to process them into meat than if someone just eats the damn plants--and this becomes a huge problem when cows are fed grain instead of being allowed to eat grass (incidentally, grass is helped by proper grazing by cattle, so the factory farming process of stuffing them with corn has a bunch of problems that I won't go into here).

"But I totally knew this one vegan who was snotty to me about my diet, and stuff, so how dare anyone be a vegan!" That's nice. I hear this used quite frequently as an excuse for people to be assholes to vegetarians and vegans. How about this: Don't be a dick to someone who hasn't actually done this to you, regardless of your experiences with other people in the past? Why is that such a difficult concept? I'm not responsible for the actions of others. Maybe I should be an ass to you because a meat-eater who wasn't you was trying to sneak sausage into my lunch? Would that be fair? I have come to recognize this excuse for what it is: An excuse for intolerant, asinine behavior that the people would have engaged in regardless of their past experience. I make you uncomfortable, so you want to lash out at me, and this gives you what you believe to be a good rationalization for doing so. Only, it isn't. So stop being an asshole.

"I knew a vegetarian that only ate potato chips and candy!" Okay, and? For one, their dietary choices aren't any of your business. For another, they're someone else, not me, so why does this relate to me at all?

"BUT OMG WE HAVE CANINE TEETH!" Yes, we do. And even if humans are "supposed" to be omnivorous, some of us choose otherwise because of a desire to reduce the suffering of animals. Our teeth really don't have anything to do with it.

"BUT YOU NEED MEAT!" What people really mean by this is, they cannot imagine how THEY would eat without meat in their diet. Because it is incomprehensible to them, someone who does otherwise is frightening and/or disturbing. Remember, though, that just because something seems difficult or impossible to you, it doesn't mean that others find it so.

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I suppose I should be less bothered by them, I should be accustomed to it, but sometimes I just get overloaded with annoyance. I did read one book a while back that helped a lot, though--and the recipes in it are very good: Living Among Meat Eaters: The Vegetarian's Survival Handbook by Carol J. Adams. Some people are uncomfortable with her suggestion that antagonistic omnivores are likely subconsciously (or consciously, for that matter) conflicted about their meat-eating, and instead of dealing with it, lash out at people who have made the choice to remove themselves from the conflict. However, even if you do not agree with that idea, her suggestion to view antagonists this way is helpful in dealing with their unpleasant treatment of you. She offers excellent advice in dealing with a number of situations, prioritizing respect of others' choices, even if you disagree with them. I cannot recommend this book enough, especially for new vegetarians who are becoming frustrated with the way they are treated.

9 comments:

Ruth said...

I had a bad experience with a friend who decided to become vegetarian, then vegan, then kicked me out of her circle of friends for eating meat and not hating myself for it. It's hard for me to not worry about that when I make new vegetarian or vegan friends, but then they're generally not CRAZY like my ex-friend, so I'm okay!

Also, people on fark are stupid. Meat substitute grosses me out, but I don't go after people about it! Jeez.

nukkingphutz said...

I'd be willing to bet that any meat-eater who lashes out at a vegetarian/vegan like that is doing it as a direct result of having had the same thing done to THEM by a vegetarian/vegan. I can't count the number of times I've had a V/V basically accuse me of being an evil or deluded person because of my own choice to continue eating meat. And I have to admit that it's very hard to bite my tongue and not lash right back.

But a v/v who just matter-of-factly talks about their choices and doesn't bring the other person's choices into it? I don't have a problem with someone like that, and I can't understand why anybody else would, either. But I can only speak for myself - I'm a very tolerant person all around. If I had a motto, it would be something along the lines of "It's Your Life, I Can't Live it For You." I would never dream of telling someone that their choices are wrong - because they make their OWN choices, and who the hell am I to tell ANYBODY how to live their life?

I just don't understand intolerant people, period. And personally, I think that's a good thing.

boobah said...

Thank you for this post. I cannot count how many comments I've gotten along the lines of "Ewww tofu" or "Wow, that looks gross" etc... over this holiday. And I know it'll only be worse over xmas.

It's funny, while I don't really doubt the existence of veg*ns who are in your face and/or rude, my experience has been exactly the opposite. When I was an omnivore, I had lots of veg*n friends and none of them ever, even once, made nasty remarks about what I ate. But now? Totally different story. People feel free to mock my food, to mock me and to basically do dumbass shit pretty much constantly. If anything I have to sometimes fight against the urge to say something nasty back to them b/c I know it'll only turn into a story about intolerant vegans who have no sense of humor.

And Carol Adams book is wonderful. I definitely second the rec.

nukkingphutz said...

boobah, rio, and any other v/v that gets that kind of flack:

I apologize on behalf of all the non-judgemental meat-eaters out there.

We're not all like that, honest.

Rachel said...

I'd be willing to bet that any meat-eater who lashes out at a vegetarian/vegan like that is doing it as a direct result of having had the same thing done to THEM by a vegetarian/vegan.

That, and I also think many meat-eaters feel guilty upon hearing that someone else doesn't eat meat because of moral objections. I think the lashing out is a way to assuage guilt that they are contributing to the death of an animal, and they're trying to deflect from it.

Deniselle said...

I think there is something in us that makes us doubt our own ethics when we meet someone who's made an ethical choice. This is especially true if we haven't given a lot of thought to WHY we live the way we do, which most meat eaters probably haven't done. I think this is the single biggest reason why people laugh at feminists, fat activists, anyone who questions the system. Because it's scary.

I've encountered this same thing against Christians; I supposedly think everyone's going to hell, even if I don't really even believe in hell. I don't think this is because they feel guilty for their sins; I think some people just feel uncertain because they aren't sure what to believe in, and maybe meeting a Christian makes them feel even more conflicted and anxious, so they have to throw huge straw men at me to make me look ridiculous.

Rachel, I don't agree with your assumption that meat-eaters feel guilty for "contributing to the death of an animal". To me, this is an oversimplification. By eating meat, we do contribute to a CULTURE that kills animals, but not to the killing of any individual animal. Nor can we stop the killing of animals by not eating the meat. This is my logic as a meat-eater.

Andee said...

As a teenaged vegetarian in the 1970s and early 1980s -- who might have continued with her veggie ways a bit longer had college cafeterias and other venues not been so bassackwards in preparing veggie-friendly meals back then -- I used to treasure it when my dad brought me to this long-gone restaurant in New York called Greener Pastures, near Bloomingdales. Vegetarian, and kosher too. That was one of my first encounters with "un-meat" meals -- the homemade mushroom veggieburger was to die for -- and I swear it can be done right, absolutely brilliantly, because they did it.

It can also taste like library paste, alas -- won't name names, but some of those veggie coldcuts are positively barfarific, and I can see how one's first encounter with "fake meat," if it's really gagworthy, could put you off the stuff for good. The concept, however, I've got no problem with. Just because you don't want to ingest flesh for whatever reason doesn't mean you don't like the taste or texture; there are plenty of other reasons. Anything from not wanting to eat what you wouldn't have the heart to kill, to digestive issues, to wanting to eat a more ecologically sound protein source than beef or chicken, to yes, kosher diets, could be a legitimate reason.

But shit, what do you expect from the Farkletariat? These are, for the most part, the kinds of guys who would love to belong to a frat but were rejected for picking their noses at exactly the wrong moment.

Andee (Meowser)

cynth said...

The mental giants over at f@rk should never be taken seriously.

Their omnipresence and life experience lets them judge every person in every situation and how dare anyone not conform to their ideal of perfect physical form, sexual ideal,life style, and diet.

They act like a pack of wild dogs over there.

JeanC said...

Fark has gone downhill in the last year or so, it isn't worth reading the comments there anymore. I've considered signing up to refute some of them, but decided that it was like trying to teach a pig to sing. Not worth the effort.

Most vegans and veggies I know are pretty cool about it. I know several where we kid each other about our eating choices, but it is all in good fun. I refuse to be around anyone who is rabid radical either way.

While I am an unrepentant meat eater, I happen to luvs me some good tofu and will fight anyone else to get my hands on it hehehehehehe