It’s been a little while since we’ve written up an article built almost specifically to get people talking and really take a stance, so it only felt right to do just that. There’s a certain stigma seen on the Internet and in social circles that paints the entire vegetarian and vegan movement, and that’s the stink of superiority. A lot of current meat-eaters get in quite a stink just by the mere mention of a vegetarian diet, regardless of how it’s presented, though the reason isn’t because it involves a diet lacking meat. Rather, the problem is that they feel they’re being talked down to. That vegetarians are smug and hypocritical. That we walk around as if we’re better than everyone else. Is this true? Well let’s take a look.
Within the vegetarian community, a number of differences crop up. First, there’s a general splitting between roughly four reasons for becoming vegetarian, those being for health reasons (“a vegetarian diet is health”), ethical reasons (“a vegetarian diet is friendlier to animals”), environmental reasons (“a vegetarian diet is more beneficial for the environment”), and religious reasons (“my religious forbids meat”).
Error. Page cannot be displayed. Please contact your service provider for more details. (27)And the problem is we aren’t entirely guilt-free in this issue. There is a definite attitude of superiority going on to some degree, at least among those who speak the loudest. Perhaps this is a public image sort of deal, but there’s a stereotype out there that in movies or TV shows, any character who needs to be shown as being high-and-mighty or hypocritical with the fewest words possible is almost always labeled as a vegetarian, allowing the other characters to groan and say, “That explains everything!” Suddenly we’ve got to a point in society where “vegetarian” has become shorthand for “elitist jerk.”
The real problem with this attitude, whether you believe it or not, is it ends the possibility of the other person ever taking you seriously. A handful of things occur in the moment that you say “My lifestyle is better than yours and if you don’t agree then you’re wrong.” First, you have placed your life above theirs, making them feel that you think less of them (which you did technically say). Secondly, you have pointed out that not only are your choices better than theirs on the scale of “good and bad,” their choices are near the bottom, thus telling them that the difference between the two of you is quite vast. And finally, you’ve left no room for discussion with the use of absolutes. You’ve said your lifestyle is better without any reasoning and then just said they are wrong, a phrase which has no defense whatsoever that doesn’t lead into an argument.