Monday, September 6, 2010

Countering the Stereotype

From AML: Countering the Stereotype

Society’s stereotype of animal advocates and vegans is a significant roadblock to widespread change. “Vegan” no longer needs to be explained when referenced. But unfortunately, the word is often used as shorthand for someone young, fanatical, and antisocial. This caricature guarantees that veganism won’t be considered – let alone adopted – on a wide scale....

It is not enough to be a vegan, or even a dedicated vegan advocate. We must remember the bottom line – reducing suffering – and actively be the opposite of the vegan stereotype. Just as we need everyone to look beyond the short-term satisfaction of following habits and traditions, we need to move past our sorrow and anger to optimal advocacy. We must learn “how to win friends and influence people,” so that we leave everyone we meet with the impression of a joyful individual leading a fulfilling and meaningful life.

The importance of this is seen in this feedback VO received over the weekend:

Thank you! I have been hesitant to go the vegan because of the almost OCD / purity nature of many of the messages, and the preachiness of the practitioners. Your literature, which is so rational and emphasizes "reduction of suffering," is the answer I needed. It motivated me to go the vegan route, knowing that there are others who, like me, are not purists/ perfectionists (which is an empty term, anyway!), but who do just really care to lessen suffering. Please don't pay any mind to the fanatics who criticize your literature for being rational.    :-)

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