I will not live in a vegan bubble


As a vegan, you’ve probably had that feeling.

You know the one. The kind of feeling where you try to explain something to someone, but they turn a blind eye to it. Or, even worse, they tell you to stop making such a big deal out of it.

That feeling, the one that is probably lurking in the back of your throat right now due to recalling such incidents, is similar to the one so many people are feeling when the newest PETA campaign is laughed at or applauded.

Here at T.O.F.U., I drew the line in early February, and I’m standing behind it. I watched the ad and my immediate reaction was one of disgust. I’ve railed against PETA before, but this newest stunt upset me more than usual. It just seemed obvious why such a campaign was a bad idea. So, I waited to see what the reaction would be as other vegans tweeted, shared, and talked about it.

Sadly, most of the voices came from outside of the vegan camp.

Open Your Ears Before Your Mouth

Since our last issue attempted to push other areas of concern into the vegan discussion, I felt it appropriate to try and continue to promote this idea with this campaign in mind.

Fighting oppression shouldn’t stop at your kitchen table or down the street at the protest against the local factory farm. Deciding to fight against such a force should start within and follow in everything you do. The animals are not the only ones being oppressed, and any fight for them should be sensitive to this.

It’s one thing to choose to be the voice for those who are unable to represent themselves, but to choose to ignore or downplay the voice of those who can represent themselves is just placing you at the table of the oppressor. That table is full, trust me. They don’t need any more mouths.

Stepping Out of the Vegan Bubble

Vegans often joke about how great the world would be if everyone was vegan. We could eat wherever we please, and no one would critique anything on our plate. It seems like a dream.

However, in the real world, I don’t like the vegan bubble. The kind of mentality that puts the PETA campaigns up on a pedestal because they’re fighting for the animals is not something I can support. In many ways, it seems that you’re either with PETA or against them, and if you’re against them, then you’re against the animals.

I’m calling bullshit on that mentality, and I think it needs to change. In fact, I think a lot of things within the vegan bubble need to change.

Biting Off More than You can Chew

The sad truth is that being vegan is not the finish line. There is plenty more to fight for, but the good news is that there are plenty of people out there fighting. They believe in their cause(s) just as much as you do, and they’re willing to stand up for it against all odds. So, if you don’t understand why someone would be offended by the PETA campaign, or if you do but you don’t want to say anything against our big famous uncle, give those who are fighting it the attention you feel you deserve in regards to your own fight.

Step out of the vegan bubble, listen, and discuss:

Vegansaurus – PETA’s “Boyfriend Went Vegan” ad makes me want to hurl!

Stop Patriarchy – Making Sexual Violence Against Women “Cool” … This Time from PETA

Connect the Dots – One Plus Negative One Equals Zero: A Response to PETA’s Rapey Ad

Carol J. Adams – Sigh, the sexual politics of meat once again

Policymic – Why PETA Should Use Food Justice, Not Sexy Sexual Innuendo, to Attract More to Their Cause

Women 24 – Animals Deserve More Respect than Women

Women 24 – Respect ALL Women, nonhuman women too

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  1. Pingback: One Plus Negative One Equals Zero: A Response to PETA’s Rapey Ad | Connect The Dots Movement

  2. candice wrote: Mar. 01, 2012

    That is some freaking sweet bokeh, BTW, and totally goes with your fruit banner

    • Ryan wrote: Mar. 01, 2012

      Haha, I only recently learned what the term “bokeh” meant, and I had to look it up a minute ago to remind myself. =-)
      I think you’re right about letting the organization know, but I might just be a little too jaded to have been unable to do that originally. I’ll try to send along my thoughts to them over the next little while.
      I have not funded PETA to my knowledge, and, on at least one recent occasion, I’ve avoided ordering from another group that openly supported them. Originally, I had a problem with their sexist ads and their apparent dependence on such tactics to promote a cause that I feel has so much more going for it than most products that rely on sex. In a similar vein, I’ve avoided promoting American Apparel as much as I can. Of course, with this campaign, which honestly should not have gone past the first marketing brainstorm session (or maybe should not have even been uttered at all), they went further than just relying on women in lettuce bikinis.
      In a way, I guess it’s also sad that it had to be this point where I decided to truly step away from associating with them. The past campaigns should have been enough, but for some reason, this was my breaking point.

  3. candice wrote: Mar. 01, 2012

    It’s probably more the ‘people tuning them out’, I don’t know. I have seen a petition already, and I have never seen that happen before. I still think you have to let the organization know that either you will no longer be supporting them with donations…if you are, or as I told them, that they are making it really hard for me to share any links or posts related to their organization, which is a really tough call, because I believe those campaigns are important. For the life of me I can’t wrap my head around the fact that nobody within their organization stopped them from putting out that unbelievably ill-conceived campaign ad.

  4. candice wrote: Mar. 01, 2012

    Well, some of us, instead of bitching on facebook and trying to smear the organization as a whole, just contacted PETA and told them directly what we thought of their ad campaign. What I’ve been seeing is quite the opposite of what you’ve related here. I see vegans more than happy to jump in on any criticism of PETA.

    • Ryan wrote: Mar. 01, 2012

      Hi Candice,
      Thanks for the feedback. I agree that there are plenty of vegans and other folks who criticize PETA overall, but my concern is that there seem to be less than usual concerned about this recent campaign. It scares me that, although a lot of previous campaigns were offensive for one reason or another, this one seems to hit on so many key issues, and a lot of folks have not noticed them. Perhaps they’re accustomed to tuning PETA out, or they just don’t see the point in continuing to try and change the organization’s methods, but my fear is that they just don’t see or care about the underlying issues.
      As for approaching PETA about it, that would be one of the major reasons I’m concerned. As far as I know, the best response they have given is that the campaign is playful and that is made obvious by her smile at the end. To me, that smile only adds to the frustration that the whole ad creates. To suggest that a woman who is in poor physical condition is obviously alright with it because she smiles, and, therefore, approves of her boyfriend’s actions, is only supporting so many cultural ideas of sex, woman’s rights, and a pile of other things. So, sadly, I don’t see the point in contacting PETA about this. They don’t get the concern, but I’m hoping other people will if I approach them instead.
      That being said, I am happy to know that you are using your voice to try and change things, both with PETA and with T.O.F.U. Whether or not we agree on everything, it’s better than being silent.

      hope all is well,

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