Reader Roundup: Does it bug you when veganism is treated as a fad?

Image: Kittikun Atsawintarangkul /

When I first became vegan my parents passed it off as “a fad” – something akin to skinny jeans or knee-high boots. Oh, she’ll get over that – like compassion is some kind of nasty phase that some teenagers go through! They held their breath and tried not to roll their eyes…until they realized (about 5 years later) that my veganism was not going to “pass”. Still, occasionally when I’m visiting, my mom asks me if I want cheese on my sandwich, as though the “phase” might finally be over (almost 20 years later!!). I’m sure I’m not the only vegan who has experienced something like this with friends/family/coworkers, etc. And  for us, veganism as a fad can be a bit of a touchy subject.

This week our blog theme is The Vegan “Fad,” and so we asked YOU “Does it bug you when veganism is treated as a fad, and why?” Thanks to those of you who shared your thoughts via facebook or email (see below). If you didn’t get the chance to weigh in and want to now, share your thoughts in the comments below!

I think belittling the important movement of veganism to something as historically irrelevant or frivolous as a trendy fad is very harmful; to do so suggests that veganism is only important in a self-serving sense (effect on body image or sex life, etc.), which is inaccurate.  Veganism goes beyond  the fad of “diet” and it’s more than what you eat; it is a lifestyle, a philosophy, and an educated choice that one makes every day to do as little harm as possible and approach all actions with a sense of compassion.  Eating vegan and being vegan are two different things entirely.
– Ashely Thomas

It bugs me because people don’t understand the difference between vegan/raw/organic/food miles/gluten-free, and just lump all this stuff together without attempting to understand it.
– Amber Wells

[I think it’s harmful to the vegan movement to be viewed as trendy.] Trends are whimsical since they are matters of taste. The same is not true of moral principles.
– Michael Sizer-Watt

It bugs me when Veganism is spoken about as a diet program to lose weight…especially when the already anorexic Hollywood culture try it on for size (so to speak). I love Kathy Freston, but I wish she’d “lean away” from talking about weight loss.
– Christine Tsotsos

I don’t care what the means are that bring [people] to Veganism. All that matters is that they are vegan because whether they know it or not they’re playing on my side and helping achieve less suffering. It doesn’t matter of they are aware of that or not.
– Aspen Brooke

I’m happy anytime anyone, for any reason, eats compassionately.
– Lisa Knox Bullum

It bothers me because I’m 54 years old and well beyond the “fad” stage. I don’t understand how some people can think that compassion is something that can go in and out of fashion anyway.
– Caren Giufre

The fact that it’s easier to find a vegan restaurant or grocery store now than it was ten years ago outweighs any irritation I feel about trendiness.
– Jaci BellaTrixx Selby

Fads can be beneficial to a society by exposing people to ideas/experiences they wouldn’t have otherwise considered, allowing that society to progress. I am excited to be vegan at a time when veganism is just emerging as a mainstream, acceptable lifestyle. People are much more receptive to our message now. I went vegan in 2001 (11 years ago) and it was much more difficult to find acceptance or understanding then! Now it is incredibly easy in most places! People actually know what I am talking about!!!
– Marie Lillian Isley

Those who call it a fad are those who would deny compassion and their values for the taste of flesh. They also have their guard down and WHEN the day comes that (most of) the world is vegan, they would rush to find excuses to blame still others, that they kept the reasons for going vegan from them.
– Kamal S. Prasad


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