I watched a video on YouTube yesterday that really upset me, even twenty four hours after watching, I am still upset. It was a vegan YouTuber who I have been following for awhile. I don't agree with all of her viewpoints, but overall I have enjoyed her videos. She did a video last week about why are there so many fat yogis, (she is a yoga instructor in addition to a vegan YouTuber) and I was a little offended by it, and didn't watch the whole video. It doesn't sit well with me to hear someone who is a yogi and a vegan be so snarky. I chalked that up to a difference of opinion, this woman is a very health obsessed vegan, no oil, no salt on and on, so I figured just let that slide. I decided to watch a video of hers yesterday, and she was speaking of taking her kids to a new pediatrician, and this doctor was everything she could have wanted, she believed in homeopathy, seemed to be into yoga type things, on and on. However, the doctor was overweight. In the beginning of her video, she asked her kids what they thought of this doctor, and her nine year old daughter looked right into the camera and said"why should we listen to fat people"? The rest of the video was a long, mean spirited rant about an overweight woman giving health advice. It would have been okay, except she called this woman fat and obese numerous times, making all kinds of jokes and such. This person also feels that all vegans need to be very trim in order to properly represent the vegan lifestyle. I felt nauseated after watching this. Especially seeing a child call someone fat, and it seems that the mother encourages that behavior. I think it's fine if you want to be slim, and yo think that is the best example of a vegan lifestyle. But I am so tired of the food and body shaming within the vegan community! When I meet someone who is vegan, the last thing on my mind is their appearance. I am always happy to meet another person who is kind and compassionate, and that beauty shines through. How are we going to change the world for the animals by tearing people down? Tear someone down who is doing horrible things. I worked at a bar in Erie, and I will never forget mentioning to one of the customers that I was a vegan, and he looked right in my eyes and said" I'm surprised to hear that because you aren't thin like other vegans I've met" It was like a punch in the face. As a matter of fact, I wold have preferred a punch in the face. Physical pain heals, words stay with you forever. I started questioning myself. Am I a bad spokesperson for veganism because I am not as thin as whatever the perfect ideal is? Do the animals care how thin any of us are?
I hope that some of this body shaming and food judgment goes away. I don't care what you eat, or what you look like. If you are vegetarian, or vegan, I am so thrilled, and as far as I'm concerned, that's all that matters. Vegans come in all shapes and sizes, and as far as I'm concerned that's a good thing. I'm not saying I want people to be morbidly obese, because vegan or not we all know that isn't healthy. But I don't want everyone to look the same, and thin does not mean healthy. I worked with two girls in Erie that were both thinner than me, but they both drank and smoked, and ate the crappiest of all crap for food. I was a million times healthier than them, and in mch better shape physically.
I also fear what these type of videos and messages send to people who might be dealing with an eating disorder, or any self esteem issues. Back in the day when I was dealing with my eating disorder, a video like this would have been very triggering. I read some of the comments on this video, and happily most people were as outraged as me, bt there were several people who were saying that they keep in the closet about being vegan, because they don't feel like they look good enough, and they are scared of making veganism look bad!!! We are a minority, we need people standing tall and proud, not hiding in the shadows because they don't look like an athlete or supermodel. I think some of these YouTubers, especially the more popular ones need to also think of their audience. A lot of teens and yonger watch YouTube, and really look up to these people. Maybe they are getting teased in school, only to come home and find that they aren't thin enough to be vegan. These weight obsessed YouTubers like to justify this meanness by saying they care about people's health, and they want people to be healthy. I don't agree. Calling people fat, and dismissing any diet other than theirs is not helping. It's just a different version of some of my conservative, religious family members dismissing me as immoral, or dumb for having different beliefs than them.
Words are powerful, and words hurt. As vegans, we need to lift each other up, and be strong together so we can save the animals. That is more important to me than what anyone weighs or looks like.