20 September, 2007

All the vegans I've ever seen are pale, thin, and sickly!

... Usually followed by either, "But you're not like that," or the ever-so-polite, "You, um, don't look like a vegan..."

You can say it, you know. I'm fat.

Yep. Cat's out of the bag. I'm a fat vegan. A fat vegan feminist lesbian radical progressive science geek, or whatever other labels you want to stick on me - s'okay, really; I fit the labels, so I'm not offended. But what does offend me is the idea that vegans have to look a certain way - especially if they want to be taken seriously as a vegan.

Consider, for a moment, that despite the weight-loss/medical industry's brainwashing, humans come in all shapes and sizes naturally. Consider now that, whether or not they are thin naturally or artificially, vegans have lots and lots of yummy vegan things to eat - cake, cupcakes, frosting, nice cream, cookies, macaroons, candies, and so on (and that's just the unhealthy yummy vegan things!) - which we may or may not ingest on a regular, semi-regular, or semi-annual basis. Consider next that many vegans have reconciled their sense of self and need for confidence with their not-conventionally-acceptable body and so may not wish to do this. Then consider that, believe it or not, some people actually consider it against their morals to diet.

What does all this mean?

Quite simply, it means that vegans can and do come in all shapes and sizes. Vegans can be short and thin or thin and tall or tall and fat or short and fat or tall and average or short and average or simply average. Just like vegans can be feminists, pro-feminists or antifeminists, they can be pro-life or pro-choice or pro-abortion or anti-choice, they can be conservative or liberal or moderate and everywhere between those, they can have tattoos or piercings or scarification or corsets or no body modifications at all, they can be businesspeople or wage slaves or free-livers, they can be gay or straight or bisexual, they can be atheist or Christian or Muslim or Wiccan or Hindu or Jewish...

And any combination of any of the above +infinity.

So, next time you look at someone weird when they tell you they're a vegan because they just don't look like it, remember this - humans are not standard. In terms of personality, no animal - including humans - is. This includes vegans. We can be any kind of person - get to know us, and see if you like us!*

* (And for god's sake, don't tease us or tell us how you ate X animal product for Y meal the other day. It's not very nice.)


  1. Actually, I've always seen a pro-life stance as decidely anti-vegan. I'm not saying that some vegans don't twist themselves into an ethical pretzel to accomodate the fetus-cult, but denying the agency of women is hardly a step towards promoting the same in animals.

  2. Agreed, anonymous; I see it that way too. But I wanted to put it into there to show that vegans don't all think alike, just like they don't look alike - in any way. :)

  3. My husband and I fulfill the scrawny, thin, pale vegan stereotype, unfortunately. But we've both looked like this our entire lives - veganism's got nothing to do with it!

    This stereotype drives me crazy, though. Everybody is obsessed with being thin, so why are they criticizing vegans for it? And is there really any physiological connection between consuming animal products and the tone of one's skin? Not that I know of. I could eat a t-bone steak for every meal, and I guarantee you, it wouldn't give me a golden tan. The only thing that would do that would be if I were to slowly give myself cancer in a tanning bed...and then everyone would think I looked healthy!

    Anyway, what I'm getting at is, the whole thing is bunk. ;-)

  4. The lack of assimilable b-vitamins in your diet will make you pale. Unless, you just have fair skin. There is certainly a difference though. Being a healthy vegan takes a lot more effort than an omnivorous diet, that's where all the unhealthy stereotypes come in. And yea, there are a ton of fat vegans here in Portland.