23 responses to “On Hating Vegetarians”

  1. jamie_miller

    I never understood these attitudes either. People react in similar ways when you say that you don’t own a car or a television or that you don’t drink alcohol.

    1. springheel_jack

      I got that car thing a lot. Then I got a car again and everything was much easier.

    2. tuliphead

      I’ve found people get remarkably offended when you tell them you don’t watch television. My husband went so far as to suggest I don’t tell people that because it makes them uncomfortable and angry. WTF?

  2. Anonymous

    Well-said! Personally, I could do with never hearing “even vegetarians make an exception for bacon!” again.

  3. sibyline

    I think there has to be a line between proselytizing and informing. I feel like it’s so hard in this culture sometimes to communicate your ethical or moral impulses without it being construed as you taking a side. And food is so tangible and such a routine part of life that it’s hard for people not to see it as something partisan.

    My position is a little bit stronger than yours, and sometimes I wish that my vegetarian friends had been more forthright about explaining things to me so that I could have become a vegetarian earlier. Aside from the environmental impact, which is a super-valid point, for me what tips the scales is the way that animals in the U.S. especially are so incorporated into industrial processes that they function as equivalent to inanimate objects, not unlike car parts or stereo components. And I just find that utterly unacceptable. And I’m willing to point out to meat-eaters who speak out against dehumanizing capitalist processes that there’s a discrepancy between that political position and their decision to eat meat, and that it’s something worth considering.

    Having said this, I’ll be in the Philippines this summer and I’ve told myself that I will only be vegetarian if I’m not inconveniencing others. Meat production processes are much less industrialized there anyway, and transporting my values to that context also necessarily entails compromises. It’s a lot less convincing to be choosy about what you’re going to eat when so many people in your immediate proximity don’t even have the choice about whether to eat or go hungry.

  4. Anonymous

    I read what you wrote above with interest, and wonder just how much the culture of vegetarians out there on the west coast is different than the east.

    I agree with you, most non-veg’s should just let it go and not be so defensive. Many don’t handle it well, but you seem to paint it such that meat-eaters behave worse than vegetarians. I would disagree and say it’s just about even. While meat-eaters should be less defensive, It is a two-way street and militant veg’s need to realize their personal morals are not the morals of the hive-mind. It’s one thing to say “I don’t eat meat” and it’s another to say “*I* don’t eat meat.” Maybe this is less common out there on the west coast, but it sure happens here on the east coast.

    I’m sure that nearly all of them would object fervently if someone spent time telling them that they need to convert to scientology, socialism, or join the Juggalos.

    Maybe where i’m from is partly to blame. I do get a little defensive about it, because I grew up in a county where people were always telling you how to live, what to believe in, and all that religious horseshit they push on kids to scare them into not drinking, drugs, and fucking the horses.

    Then you have the typical southern passive-aggressive behavior. Add these two together, and you get some pretty unruly people on both sides of the fence. I have definitely gotten the look for ordering chicken wings, shish kebabs, and hamburgers at lunch with co-workers. 3 of my 8 coworkers are vegetarians for moral or religious reasons. A summer BBQ was planned and one of them said the whole thing would have to be vegetarian or they wouldn’t come. How is this a rational response?

    1. handstil

      I have the opposite problem, I’m a vegan and I want to be invited to all the parties and bbqs but I frequently get left out because no one wants to “offend me!” ahah

      1. miss_geek

        I hate that so much! I want to come to the dinner parties too, but I almost never get invited because I don’t eat meat :(

  5. handstil

    Thanks for writing this!
    I am SUPER guilty of having “new vegan syndrome” and I’m still working on toning it down A LOT. I appreciate your point of view, and I’m glad you are eating less meat. :)

    1. sibyline

      i’m sure i’m experiencing some of that too. but it’s so annoying sometimes how you can’t express a non-mainstream opinion in certain contexts without being construed as preachy…

  6. msinformation23

    In general, I don’t care what people decide to eat. If you’re wealthy enough to choose a restricted diet of any kind, go you. Poor people don’t get food choices; it’s a luxury.

    I can tell you what I do hate about it though. I get really irritated when a American middle class people with voluntarily restricted diets bitch about how crazy hungry they are all the time. Or how they can’t possibly shovel down as much tofu or peanut butter as they need. Generally, that sounds like it’s either from martyrdom or anorexic cattiness, neither of which I have patience for.

    Veggies do get a lot of shit, particularly in SoCal – but then so does anyone who eats an unconventional diet anywhere. Every few years I go on a no sugar, no white flour diet. I feel immensely better while this diet – and you’d think it wouldn’t be a big deal, but people have utter shit fits when I won’t eat dessert or white bread. Next time, I’m just lying and saying I’m diabetic [which if I don’t lay off the sugar will be true].

  7. fatalfloor

    Thanks for this. I was a vegetarian for more than a decade, and I still don’t eat red meat or poultry. I’ve always tried to be as low-key as possible about discussing it. The reaction that always irritated me most: “But this is REALLY GOOD tri-tip/bacon/whatthefuckever! You should make an exception!” It’s hard to wriggle out of that one without at least implying that you just might be valuing some abstract ethical concern over sheer tastiness, and for the reasons you’ve explained here, that tends not to go over well.

  8. eyeteeth

    Thanks, but where’s Hitler on this list???

    1. nyxie


  9. frobisher

    Basically, people should just calm the fuck down and not assume everything is about them. I think this applies both to the people the above refers to as well as, for instance, militant vegetarians.

    To make a long story short, even if you think a particular thing is the right thing to do, in the final analysis, you don’t make those decisions for other people.

    Also, I, I “attack pantaloons” and “It does not imply burgers”.

  10. hotelsamurai

    In re: #5

    The old naturalistic fallacy. I hope I live to see the day it is wiped out like polio.

  11. kasheri

    Thanks for mentioning the “vegetarianism is child abuse” fallacy. We’ve had this one thrown in our face and it really boggles the mind.

    Your reason for going vegetarian twice a week is precisely my reason for being a vegetarian. I wrote an article about it once, and many readers were surprised. They thought all vegetarians were of the “meat is murder” variety.

    Finally, as for surviving Pop Tarts, I would argue that the jury is still out on that one.

Leave a Reply to ignatz Click here to cancel reply.