Saturday, 18 October 2008

Birthday Parties and the Myth of the Militant Vegan

I hate parties. I hate big groups of people. I hate the pressure of organising things. So why then, you might ask, did I decide to invite all my friends to Osaka for the weekend to celebrate my 24th birthday? I don't know but it seemed like the right thing to do. Plus, it was Pam's birthday around that time too so it was an excuse to make her come to Osaka and hang out with me.

Since this party was for me and Pam, I wanted the eating part of the occasion to be entirely vegan if at all possible. There is a great restaurant in Osaka called Green Earth but it usually closes at 5pm every day. However, since I remembered that they host vegetarian parties, I figured why not ask if they will stay open later for us? And when I say "I" I mean "my boyfriend" who called and organised it all. hehe.

Anyway, the one thing you must remember when you invite a bunch of non-vegan friends to eat vegan food is that people will make various comments ranging from positive to, what you may deem to be, ridiculous, arrogant and/or enraging. I love my friends a lot and they are all great people but when a bunch of vegans are enjoying their food, it's really a lesson in survival to keep your mouth shut. There is a time and place for criticism of veganism and it is not over delicious food and at a birthday party.

Also, my other observation is that people still believe in this myth of the militant vegan. Of course there are plenty of vegans who won't hide their disgust while their friends tuck in to dead flesh but I think I've learned that people are incredibly sensitive when they are eating/cooking and antagonising someone is not the best way to make veganism seem appealing. Honestly, the vegans that I know are all really nice people. Yeah, they feel strongly about their lifestyles but they don't (usually!) go around starting arguments over dinner. In my whole entire life as a vegetarian and later as a vegan, I have probably started 1 or 2 discussion which have turned into arguments. However, I can't count on all my fingers and toes how many times people have attacked me or made disparaging comments instantly as soon as I mention that I'm vegan (and please note: I didn't bring up without any reason, it usually just comes up naturally since they wonder why I'm not eating the pizza everyone is sharing etc).
In my experience people tend to choose one of three paths when faced with a vegan:

1) become instantly defensive

2) make stupid jokes about how vegans just eat tofu and carrots and/or are puny, pasty weaklings

3) are interested and ask insightful questions (or sometimes stupid questions but that's OK because at least they are being friendly)

Well frankly, I am fucking sick of the first two. If you start an argument with me, you better be willing to take it as good as you can dish it out. Because I pretty much guarantee you, that I have a response to every one of your dumbass comments and I know a damn sight more about animal behaviour and physiology, nutrition, the environment, and farming practices than you do! So suck it!

One last rant, if an omnivore criticises my food then it's OK - it's just their opinion. But if I criticise your food then it must be because I'm a VEGAN (cue scary horror music). Never mind that I've always hated the sight, smell and taste of bacon and sausages, even when i was a tiny kid. Never mind that loads of people think that cow's milk is fucking gross. Never mind that loads of people think eating an entire plate of meat is nasty and also a heart attack waiting to happen.

But of course, I'm forgetting: it's NORMAL to eat meat. And becoming vegan instantly marks you as being insane.
We are the vegan freaks after all.

-- Sarah

Sing it sister.



Anonymous said...


Christopher said...

1) Carnivorous Guilt epitomized.

2) Ignorant and not assured in their own beliefs.

3) Ignorant but open-minded.

I also like no. 3, I enjoy the conversation and making people realise there is more to cuisine than meat and more to Vegan cuisine than grass.

Thanks for this post, I'll be following this blog from now on :D.