vegansaurus!

10/01/2009

Have You Heard the Good News? Vegans in a Missionary Position…   »

You’ve tackled the OMFGGGWHHYYYY, that decision every girl has got to make for herself—and you’re converted. Here’s your Big Book of Seitan, thanks for joining us. As we saw in the comments last time, people are pretty passionate about their own personal whys—and are ready to wear it loud and proud.

That’s natural.

When you’re feeling great, healthy and happy with your choice, the lifestyle, the good you’re accomplishing, and gripped with the Vegenaise fever (honest to God, I’m not a vegan—I’m a Vegenaisan) it’s only natural that you start to talk about being saved. Spreading the word. Getting others to accept tofu as the Lamb of…not lamb. You want others to feel as good as you do.

That’s natural too.

It’s the ultimate passive-aggressive plea: strong and silent.

In the book of Matthew (that’s the one with all the “begats”) you see how a little movement like Christianity is born, grows, and spreads. Religions grow with a little help from their friends. Mormons know this. They’re the name-badge-wearing kids sent to your door in the hopes that if it shows up on your WELCOME mat, you’ll welcome it into your life—and tons of people do. While numbers are tricky, surveys report the Mormon Church has grown significantly and despite being less than 200 years old, the number of Mormons in the United States is roughly equal to the number of Jews. That’s some hustle.

Of course Mormons—or any religion, John Travolta/Tom Cruise and the stress tests included—have no monopoly on proselytizing. Companies like Amway, Pampered Chef, and Mary Kay recruit on the basis of enthusiasm, as does everyone’s favorite uncle, Sam. Yeah, the military recruits too.

So. As enthusiasts of a group, do we as vegans have a responsibility to be fruitful and multiply? Not by breeding baby vegans (necessarily) but by convincing others to join us. Where does veg-proselytizing fit in to your life? If you do it, what’s your approach?

  • Do Unto Others: You don’t want anyone coming after you with the “it’s only an egg, what’s the big deal?” argument. So you keep your choice to yourself, and let others live and let live—if they so choose.
  • Be Holy As I am Holy: You lead by living. You entice people to go veg by showing them it’s easy, it’s rewarding, and goldurnit, it’s the right thing to do. You’re a quiet crusader, convincing and converting by example.
  • Brother Love’s Traveling Salvation Show: You’ve seen the light, you’ve been saved, and you’re mounting a revival tent show—you don’t hesitate to tell anyone, anytime how they could better serve themselves, animals, and the planet. You preach the gospel of putting down the cheeseburger—loudly.

As for the pitch, you can make your “sell” just like tofu—ranging from silken to extra firm. Similarly, there’s a right time to use each kind: the boss at lunch might rate a silken, while the roommate gets the full-blown, Tempur-Pedic extra firm. And yes. Survey says it’s a continuum of proselytizing and chances are you fall somewhere in betwixt these—but where? Have you ever convinced anyone to veg out—and is being a missionary a required part of being a good vegan?

This is the second article in a recurring series, The Vegan Diplomat; The Art and Politics of Being Vegan in any Situation Society Throws on Your Plate, brought to us by the lovely Zoë Stagg. Zoë writes about politics, pop culture, and social media. She went cold-tofurkey—total omnivore to vegan on April 26, 2006 and never looked back. Despite her rural upbringing and the fact that her dad may have wanted her to enter the Dairy Princess pageant in high school, she firmly believes in the conservative nature of veganism. Her last non-vegan meal was a Turkey Lean Pocket. Ew.

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