Monday, March 12, 2012

"We Vegetarians"

They are all kittens, but they're not all same.




You could easily change the vegetarians from the title with any other word, as in, we the waffle-lovers enjoy this, we the pie-eaters love that, to stick just with the food. What remains is the statement that WE ALL want this or that, love this or that, dislike this or that, and that is just wrong.
I remember reading an article written by a vegetarian lady, she said that people often think that vegetarians dislike the taste of meat, which is simply not true – they love the taste of meat and greatly enjoy, for example, the meat-flavored soy substitutes, like soy sausages. I have no doubt that this lady spoke the truth about herself, and perhaps about a lot of vegetarians she personally knows. However, I do have a vegetarian aunt who seriously dislikes the taste of meat, and who also hates substitutes, the imitations of meat or milk products which don’t actually come from the animals. If she’s not going to eat meat, milk, eggs, anything coming from animals, then she’s not going to eat it, and she won’t be looking for the substitutes either, not when it comes to the taste substitutes (she will look for the other nutritional sources, of course).
When we talk about vegetarians, we talk about a wide variety of people. Some of them don’t eat meat, but do eat milk and milk products, eggs, honey, some eat fish too – and some of them will look for meat-flavored food, while the other won’t. Then there are vegetarians who will eat milk but not eggs, and vice versa. There are those who will not eat anything coming from an animal. There are also those who will refuse to eat anything that was cooked or baked or fried, only raw stuff is acceptable. And, of course, they all have their reasons for doing so, some do it for health, or because they think eating animal products is unethical, some say they do it out of sympathy for the animals, and so on.
And this was just scratching the surface, there could be many other differences among the people who are all vegetarians in their own way.
The same could be said for any other group of people – for example, saying that all of us women want the same and are the same is simply ridiculous. Perhaps, instead of we vegetarians (or, let’s say, we women, since I’m not a vegetarian myself), it would be better to say many of vegetarians, or some vegetarians – but not all.
Maybe I’m nitpicking, but I really dislike these we (as in all of us, and without knowing the opinion of every one of us) statements, they immediately make me think: Hey, wait a minute, I know so-and-so who is (enter what he/she is) but is not like that at all! Come to think of it, I know a plenty of 9enter what they are) who are not like that at all!
What are your thoughts on the subject? Do you ever get annoyed at such statements?

9 comments:

Karen Wojcik Berner said...

We writers agree...just kidding!

But, seriously, I do think you are correct about using such sweeping phrases, first because it is not logically possible. Second, because it creates an us versus them dynamic.

Some, many, etc., that works better, I think.

angel011 said...

Yes, us versus them dynamic too, with them quite often ending up as demonic enemies.

Kelly Hashway said...

I'm very much a 'to each his own' kind of person. I don't think people fit nicely into molds. People are different and have a right to be so. So, no, I don't like when people are lumped together and assumed to all be alike. Maybe on some levels we are the same, but it's our differences that make us who we are.

Claudine G. said...

Kinda reminds me of the 'All men are ...' or 'Women are all so ...' rants. I agree, generalizations and stereotyping dilute individualism. We'd be left with very limited opinions. Horror!


(That kitty picture is so adorable. They are all grey kittens, but very different quirky characters.)

angel011 said...

@Kelly: same here!

@Claudine: I'm glad you like the picture, it turned out to be a wonderful illustration for my point! :)

Bella said...

Ivana, I'm with Claudine and Kelly. When we use a cookie cutter mold mentality to group people, we render individuality meaningless. We can all enjoy certain similarities but we're unique, each and every one of us. :)

angel011 said...

Bella, we sure are all unique. :)

Jodi Lobozzo Aman said...

Haha! Karen, that was funny! i'm a veggie for over 20 years and know there are all kinds!

angel011 said...

You mean, you're not all the same, like clones? OMG! Just kidding!