This article brings up a lot of great points, but I would argue that it isn’t just the vegans, it’s the animals themselves, who are the last fair game for socially-acceptable persecution…
Hey, you know how you can tell someone is a vegan? Don’t worry, they’ll let you know.
People hate vegans. It’s weird. You wouldn’t think that avoiding chicken nuggets would warrant the abuse.
Vegans are one of the last remaining minorities that can be made fun of, marginalized and ridiculed publicly and have it be socially acceptable. Obviously vegans do not have it as bad as truly persecuted people like minorities, homosexuals and women, but the world is not vegan friendly. Freud pioneered the concept of defense mechanisms, and I think they explain some of the irrational hate vegans receive.
If you are vegan, you probably avoid mentioning your dietary habits at all costs. The truth always gets out, and when it does get ready for an onslaught of sensitive meat eaters. There’s the mocking, having your masculinity, sanity and/or intelligence questioned, the annoying jokes and even more annoying questions. There’s the smug superiority you’ll encounter. Oh, and bacon will be brought up, lest you forget that it is literally the greatest thing that a human can experience.
There’s this silly stereotype of the hostile, preachy vegan. I have never met one in my life. Only 2% of people in the USA claim to be vegan. Vegans are a minority, and people hate vegans. This leads many, myself included, to try to keep it mum mum as much as possible. The V word stirs up a lot of emotion in people.
I think there is an explanation, let’s start with the a relevant definition:
Defense mechanisms are psychological strategies brought into play by the unconscious mind to manipulate, deny, or distort reality in order to defend against feelings of anxiety and unacceptable impulses to maintain one’s self schema.
People are fundamentally good, or they want to be. They don’t want to hurt other people, animals or the planet. So, to do terrible things, people must be divorced from reality in some way. Defense mechanisms are the morning train to delusionville.
Think about how awful an average factory farm is. EVERYONE has to have some idea of how bad it is. Imagine the thought of killing an animal and it’s screams of agony. Just think of how damaging factory farms are to the planet. Imagine the nightmare that awaits us as our natural world’s systems collapse. This stuff is HORRIFYING.
What you are saying is scary, therefor it is not true.
See how easy that was. Now we can watch a vapid reality TV show and sleep easy at night. That’s how defense mechanisms work. Let us break down a few defense mechanisms and how they are responsible for a lot of the vegan hate, ridicule and general opposition.
The basic definition of this defense mechanism is as follows: Anxiety producing emotions and thoughts are mastered by exaggerating the opposing tendency.
Meat is murder, tasty, tasty murder
I’ll eat all the animals you don’t
Mmmm, let me fetishize bacon to prove how anti vegan I am
I hate vegans, meat is soooooooooooo good
People don’t want to contribute to the horrors of animal factory farming. That terrifies them. People don’t want to think that they are immoral. That they are harming sentient beings and distroying the planet. This gives them so much anxiety that their egos swoop in to protect their notion of self. Well, the one they find acceptable. Their ego doesn’t want them to believe they are a bad person for participating in these terrible things. It does what it can to avoid the thoughts. It hides the anxiety producing truth and then exaggerates the opposite. That’s why vegans often hear the over the top, omni stupid, pro-meat comments. Suddenly meat is the greatest fucking thing on earth. They have to mention dead animals or make a joke, every goddamn meal, as though vegans never ate meat in their lives. (And people hate vegans… )
That’s why bacon is the sensitive meat eater’s banner. It is their call to arms. It symbolizes the decadence, the gluttony, and selfishness. It directly opposes the selflessness, impulse control and sacrifice that vegan’s strive for. Bacon is gross. No really, it is. It’s a slab of fat that’s either drier than a college student’s bank account or all chewy and miserable. It’s sliced of off filthy animals that wallow in their shit all day. Those animals are also as smart as a three year old. Think of what bacon represents though, there is subconscious symbolism at work; Bacon represents the id.
People are selfish to the core and don’t like change. This is especially true when it means making a sacrifice or delaying instant gratification. We humans are essentially selfish cowards. We all hide, some just do it behind burnt pig flesh. The social confirmation behind bacon fetishizing helps people’s guilty consciences stay quelled. It’s proof that they aren’t in the wrong. This is at the root of why some people hate vegans. Salmon or chicken isn’t used as their war cry. Veal could be, but the symbolism isn’t hidden as well as the actual baby calfs are, and it’s a tad bit too real.
There was a study that showed conservatives will avoid products that are good for the environment. That’s the reaction formation at work; And so is the fetishizing of bacon.
Remember this defense mechanism the next time someone tells you that they wish they could wear a meat hat and eat it all day and move to a state where they can marry a bacon bride; as they laugh about how much they hate vegans.