I think the beautiful think about veganism is that it breaks down barriers. Cultural barriers that disallow you from seeing with a crystal clear vision. And once you are able to do so, you recognise this movement for what it truly is – abandoning all former ideologies and ‘normalities’ to go in search of the truth. Not just in regard to animals and the food we eat, but in regard to every other conditioning, preconceived notion or damaging misconception we may have been raised with. Perhaps the longing that many vegans hold is for the development of a progressive society, one that detaches from previous beliefs and unfounded views and instead, begins to question not just our treatment of animals, but also our attitude in regard to all else that we may have deemed a normality up until now.
Where do women come into this. Well simply, my experience in becoming vegan has led me to acknowledge that if I am to claim I want to a free-thinking world and a progressive world then I must apply this to all other avenues I partake in. I can not apply certain logic or a particular belief-system where it suits me, but then refrain from utilising the same in another situation. I believe the reason so many of us are dysfunctional in action and thought, is for the very reason that we choose to apply logic when it suits us, but when we are required to abandon ALL of the harmful notions from which many of our personal beliefs stand, we refuse to do it. So we apply our reasoning where it suits us, not where it requires us to update our programming and reach for new realms of consciousness. This will only take us so far in regard to consciousness, and practising an entire way of being that is in keeping with our vegan beliefs, or other beliefs that promote non-violence and discrimination. So now to the women part ; What makes abstaining from eating animals and their produce so wonderful, is that one is no longer participating in behaviour that is not only thoroughly unnecessary but also indisputably harmful to other beings, ourselves and the planet. Vegans yearn for equality regarding animal issues, and so we begin weaving equality and non-violence, among other liberating principals, into our everyday existence simply from no longer purchasing animal products. Now, we always say that Veganism is about no longer participating in practises that result in the suffering, commodifying and killings of other beings. In rejecting the many absurd and violent practises which a growing number of society are no longer choosing to be part of, we move closer to an age of immense consciousness, one that i am tremendously excited to not only be alive to witness, but to also hopefully play a small role in shaping. But there is a correlation I have chosen to make in regard to the male and female relationship that i feel it is important for vegan men to take into consideration if they are to claim they stand for certain ideals. So here it is : As a man, you can not claim to be an advocate of non-suffering and non-objectification, if your approach towards the females you encounter displays the opposite attitude.
Over the years, I have come to realise that what gender somebody is, should not play any remote role in influencing how we treat them. Not gender, not age, not colour, not race, not sexual orientation. Don’t worry, i’m not about to turn this into an article on racism, ageism, feminism and speciesism that’s a bit too much! but back to my point ; I do not change my behaviour in communicating with someone based on their age, gender and appearance. My treatment remains the same. Wether you are a man or woman, that does not dictate how kind I am or how willing I am to communicate with you. My behaviour remains consistent towards all. because I feel the same towards both men and women. Neutral. Curiosity maybe, but without any agenda, without any motive. Simply another human that I care to connect with and gender, appearance or age does not influence my behaviour in regard to connecting with them. I advocate veganism yes, but what I really advocate is progressiveness on all fronts. Compassion on all fronts. To advance, to strengthen, to cultivate, to re-programme, to re-create and to throw away every notion currently held that could pollute your vision, limit your perception and interfere with how we interact with others as well as ourselves. I’ve always said that my role in this life is to break stuff. Break belief-systems indoctrinating, narrowing and clouding other’s visions preventing them from witnessing what i consider to be necessary if we are to leave a world of unconscious, primitive and violent behaviour behind. I like breaking stuff ; thought patterns, habits, traditions, social rules and cultural normalities! great deal of enjoyment can be found in breaking everything and anything that gets in the way of us seeing what our journey in this life should entail. It should not entail violence. It should not entail loathing. It should not entail discrimination. It should not entail objectification. It should not entail limitations. If we are to continue in practising outdated misconceptions then we will never evolve past the bigotry, sexism, inequality and hatred so many of us witness and wish to live without.
Now, unfortunately, often more than not, as a woman, the men one interacts with tend to come with a great sense of entitlement. Entitlement that naturally influences their behaviour. Behaviour which can become forceful, self-righteous even aggressive if not responded to in the way they desire. This is based on personal experience but also the experience that many other women I have had the pleasure of knowing, have endured. Sadly, our world has a long way to go in regard to BOTH animals and women being acknowledged as equals and as deeply feeling and powerful beings oppose to objects and commodities (entirely the same way in which animals are viewed). What vegan women yearn for is a world in which we are all given the same value regardless as to what race, gender or species.
One begins to question how certain men can advocate equality, peace and freedom when it comes to a particular cause, but in regard to the treatment of women, the opposite attitude is applied. Although it may be a rare feet to meet those that apply their belief-system across all walks of life oppose to one area they feel passionate about, while excusing their behaviour and attitude towards other areas, contradicting the very values that they have expressed they stand for, I do believe that it is more than possible for men to begin to change their approach in how they view women and i believe than veganism can be a great teacher in allowing us to not only cultivate greater compassion towards other sentient beings, but also the opposite gender which many of us may hold particularly negative notions towards. But in regard to men, often when this topic arises and i point out that as a vegan man, it should give one a greater awareness when it comes to how to perceive and approach women, oppose to the men who are perhaps highly unfamiliar with just how horribly primitive the objectification of anyone truly is, i may be met with an uncomfortable silence that confirms that not only do we have a long way to go from a vegan stand-point, but also a stand-point in which we allow our belief-system in regard to veganism reach beyond animals and encompass issues that both women and others who may be of different sexual orientation, suffer on an everyday basis. I find it strange that one can be vegan, but despise mankind as a whole. I find it strange that one can be a vegan man but hold misogynistic views and pet a cow with one hand while grabbing the ass of a woman in public with the other. I find it strange that one can advocate equality, compassion and freedom for one group, while continuing to ostracise, disrespect, humiliate, objectify, commodify and look down upon another. Of course this does not apply to the treatment of women alone. It is one of many examples which display the convoluted and contradictory behaviour most of us carry out in choosing to encompass certain characteristics and values when it comes to representing a particular cause of our liking, while at the same time, rejecting, discarding and even participating in the very behaviour we would despise (when used with the movements we represent) towards those that we deem unnecessary to demonstrate the same virtues and moral code of conduct with. It’s basically what irritates most vegans about people who eat animals ;
“Ye i love animals. I eat them but that’s just because some are here to be eaten. Dogs are man’s best friend you know?….How is a cow the same as a dog anyway”?
Is this any better than…
“Ye i’m a vegan guy. I don’t believe women issues tie into animal issues, so it’s totally cool with me if women are viewed as sexual objects to fulfil my desires, what’s that got to do with being vegan anyway?”
This bubble of hypocrisy and contradictions however will remain entirely shrouded from our view as we convince ourselves that thou art holier than a non-vegan person for encompassing morals that exclude the suffering of other sentient beings (but just not women). It is a strange thing that we do…in convincing ourselves that our own moral high ground is that much higher that those who’s dietary habits include animal products, when it could in-fact be considered even worse that in-spite of having the awareness and understanding as a vegan man as to how truly horrifying the objectification and commodifying of any animal truly is, one’s behaviour is not remotely reflected through one’s treatment towards women.
If we are to claim that it is only natural and instinctive to approach women with the intention of ‘courting’, then i fail to understand how we can promote liberation and equality for animals, in which we claim to hold the entirely opposite opinion to the one we practise in regard to the treatment of women. If we are to become progressive with one movement and hold certain beliefs towards that movement, then we must apply the same beliefs and behaviour in regard to all else. You can not advocate peace for all animals, and yet be perfectly fine with people being killed instead. You can not advocate that animals are not objectified, used, looked upon as commodities, a form of entertainment, or a means to pleasure you, while treating women with the very behaviour you find abhorrent in regard to the way animals are treated. If we are to become progressive with the movements that advocate non-violence, equality, and love, then we must practise it in all areas of our lives. This is by no means easy, since it means constantly accessing and building greater awareness towards ones behaviour as frequently as one can. But if we are to truly encompass the virtues we stand for and influence future generations to become the people we wish to witness more of within our society, then we must make the equality and non-violence that we stand for, (along with the advancements we wish to see with one particular cause) apply to all other areas of our lives. Not just the area which involves the food we put on our places.
About the author
Jwaydan Moyine is a classically trained Film Composer, Pianist, Cellist, Singer/Songwriter, and a Writer and Entrepreneur. She founded Earth Children to bring awareness to matters regarding the Environment, Animal welfare, Sustainable & Conscious living, Wellness & Humanitarian issues. She is heavily involved with activism for animal welfare in the UK and Egypt and child welfare in Syria, Thailand and Romania. She resides in Berkshire Running an organic food farm, an organic skincare company, and an online platform called Vegans & Elephants, bringing awareness to matters regarding the Planet, Plant based nutrition, Cruelty free living & the necessity of adapting to Veganism for the sake of Sustainability, Animal welfare and our Health. She has several qualifications in nutritional therapy, culinary medicine & holistic healing. You can find out more on what she is doing over at the Earth Children Facebook Page!
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