I don't talk about being vegan on here.. there's nothing to talk about really in the context of body acceptance or fat pride, but the rest of you guys and gals.. well, you're giving me something to talk about and it's not good. I want to talk about the fatphobia and sizism that goes on in a lot of vegan communities. Now, I realize that this post is going to piss off a lot of people for various reasons, but this is serious and it needs to be mentioned. I want to go on record as saying that I know that not every vegan or vegetarian is sizist, but I've noticed a very obvious pattern in groups and forums over and over. I even wrote a blog about it quite a while ago. In that blog, I talked about how Dr. McDougall, a doctor who pushes a vegan diet as a way to reverse heart disease, said, "Fat vegans, however, have failed one important animal: themselves. Furthermore, their audiences of meat-eaters and animal-abusers may be so distracted by their appearance that they cannot hear the vital issues of animal rights and the environment; resulting in an unacknowledged setback for a fat vegan’s hard work for change." which basically means- sorry, but if you're fat nothing you say really matters.
So, now that we've established that I'm not talking about all vegans, I think it's fairly clear that vegans (and many vegetarians) hate fat people. Now.. I get it. I do. Vegans tend to get lots of hate, even if they're keeping quietly to themselves. Their very existence tends to offend people so they feel like they have to have the very best image possible. People assume that vegans are malnourished, nutrient deficient, sick, and basically every sneeze, sniffle, or bad day is blamed on their lack of animal products. Because fat comes with the stigma of unhealthy and vegans want to present the epitome of health then fat vegans are bad for business. So I want to say that I understand the psychology behind all of the fat hate. But that being said I have to also say that it's fucking unacceptable.
So here's your strategy, right? Animal products are full of fat and calories and, therefore, if you stop eating them you'll lose weight.. so, market veganism as a diet or "lifestyle change" will bring more people to the movement by preying on their low self esteem and body hatred. While the strategy may work initially what do you intend to do when all the newbie veg's don't lose weight? Or when they lose it but then gain it back? As a diet, it fails, just like any other, and you've lost your pull. More so, you've become part of an industry which is cruel to animals.. specifically the human animal. Yeah.. maybe only beautiful, thin, tanned girls and buff, handsome, wavy haired guys will make you look good on the surface, but do you really want to be that shallow? More so, do you want to alienate over half of the population?
I asked some vegans over at reddit to give me their opinions on fat people. Over and over I was told that vegans are thinner than omnivores, but when asked for evidence I was given studies which, again, only showed a very slight difference in BMI (which we all know is what? That's right.. inaccurate and horribly flawed to begin with), which amount to 30 lbs or so. In addition, 25 vegans were turned down for weight that wasn't near enough to the ideal, likely skewing the results. Otherwise the results were pretty typical. The same fat hate and social beliefs were present in the vegan community as any other- fat people were lazy, gluttonous, unhealthy. They're fat because they over eat and under exercise. I tried not to correct anyone because I just wanted to see the honest answers. And honestly what I saw was that people believed veganism makes people thin "if they're doing it right" and, if they're still fat then they're gorging on fries and cakes all day. Fat vegans are the "bad" vegans and there were definitely some people who said fat people should be hushed to the back of the line so that veganism can appear as awesome as possible (because we all know that doesn't include fat). More so, the same people who said they were against bullying of fat people also tended to say that they should hate themselves and their bodies. The same people who said that bullying and shaming hurt more people than it helped qualified it with "but it does help some people".
One girl, a vegetarian, said that she wanted to go vegan, but isn't because she's afraid of facing judgement (user solutions were for her to go vegan and not tell anyone- like that 'friend' you always hang out with in secret but pick on in front of your other buddies). Another said that she's vegan but doesn't tell anyone because she's afraid of the same. She said that she even stopped protesting or talking to others about it because she felt that she didn't represent veganism very well because she was fat. A non veg friend said that vegans were both ableist and sizist. A vegan from twitter said that the fat hate in vegan circles kept her from attending vegan events.
It's no wonder so many fatties are afraid to go near veganism or vegetarianism with ads like this from PETA:
But we know that PETA is sexist and sizist- after all, their spokeswoman, Ingrid Newkirk, has said that she believes that it's impossible to get fat on a vegan diet and that people are only fat because of animal products, but what about your average vegan? I follow a lot of vegans- in my blog reader, on facebook, on twitter.. and I'll tell you that it's pretty common for me to de-friend someone for photos like these:
|"Live fat Die young" vegetarian T shirt|
Keep in mind that these are all photos that have been posted by actual vegan advocates in the name of veganism.. one facebook vegan advocate had an entire album of nothing but these types of photos with sizist, fatphobic, captions. Vegans that I spoke with seemed caught in limbo between fact and prejudices and their own experiences. Many claimed that you didn't have to be thin to be healthy while turning around and insisting that fat was unhealthy. I can't say that I saw anyone really respond in a body positive way.
I spoke to one vegan fat activist, Kreeli, or, ZaftiVegan, whom i follow on twitter. She said, "I
It's obvious that the message is that veganism is only for thin and healthy people. Thin unhealthy people and fat people are unwelcome. So if 64% of the US is supposedly "overweight" or "obese" then you're alienating the majority of people and, very likely, keeping them far far away from veganism or vegetarianism. More so, the hypocrisy is obvious and ridiculous in a community that's supposed to be about compassion and understanding. You need to get it together.. fat vegans aren't the ones hurting the movement, fat haters are. You have an obligation to all animals- even the human ones.