There’s always a lot of debate around how to approach non-vegans about vegan stuff. Some side with the gentle approach, while others seem to believe that shock tactics work. Is one way more effective than another? It’s hard to say and maybe there is no definitive answer, but here’s my take on it.
Shock versus Chill
When I talk about veganism to people, it’s only ever when they’ve asked about it. Despite the utter vitriol I often feel inside, I choose to go for the more chilled, matter of fact, here’s how it all is, kind of stance and I make sure I know my shit. But the thing is, that’s not what converted me into a vegan. Shock tactics – finding out what happens in the dairy and egg industries, watching horrendous videos and angry rants by committed activists – that’s what got me. So then, why am I choosing the softly softly approach? And more importantly, is it working?
In a word. Nuh.
I’ve found that people will ask. They will listen. But they don’t actually do anything about it. They don’t change their behaviour. And it honestly makes think every time that there might have been a different outcome if I had tried the guilt trip/in your face tack. If I’d left them thinking “Shit, that is fucking horrendous” then maybe the next time they pick up a packet of lamb chops, they might think twice and look for something else. If I left them with a terrible image in their minds, they might make that change as a result. I don’t know for sure, but the gently, gently route so far has done very little. I even have people who were once super careful about talking about meat in my presence now telling me about the type of meat they have in their diets. My gentle stance has officially bitten me in the butt.
However, the in your face tactic, going on other evidence, also has serious drawbacks. The only out and out arguments or ‘heated discussions’ I’ve had have been on my Instagram page where I make posts that take no prisoners. It’s my frustration outlet so I’m very in your face on my profile (when I’m not posting my rescue dog pics) and it has gotten backs up before. I’m pretty damn sure that no one came away thinking, “Well, I’m convinced, I’ll go vegan”.
Freelee & Co
Ugh, I’m not name-dropping, I swear, but I can’t post about this subject without mentioning this lot. Now, I have praised Vegan Gains in the past but that’s been due in large part to the fact that he “backs his shit up”, as I so eloquently put it, so it kinda makes it OK in my eyes to be a bit, erm, feisty? But other “feisty” vegans, who I once paid attention to, are even pissing me off to the point that I avoid their videos these days. One of these people is Freelee (not Durianrider – I just couldn’t hang with that dude from the start). I loved her passion in the beginning, and while I’ve never followed her diet, I did take a lot from her videos. These days however, if she’s not name-dropping for clicks, she is just whining. And whining and whining. And backing nothing up. It makes her come across as a blind, angry vegan that you know you couldn’t have a decent conversation with IRL. I think it’s this unapproachable aspect that is the biggest pitfall of the shock tactic vegan. This is where the chilled out vegan approach works better – you can’t tell people about veganism if they close their minds to it and coming at them in what they will see as an angry way, is exactly what that will do.
So what to do? Is there a middle ground? Or perhaps an approach I haven’t even thought of? I’d love to hear your experiences.