Veganism seems to have turned into a dogmatic stance as much as a dietary one.
Anyone idly browsing YouTube will come across at least one zealous champion of veganism. Each with their very own brand of ‘how to live.’
There are all sorts of reasons to be vegan — ethical concerns, wanting to be healthy, to achieve weight loss, environmental concerns. Each of these causes has its own set of promoters. Virtual followers raise these vegan royalties to the throne of an oracle.
Documenting your daily life as a vegan is nothing short of a career. Judging by the lifestyles they vlog about, it’s a career that apparently makes them quite a bit of money.
Raw? High carb? No end of options down the vegan pipe.
Some even call themselves fruitarians as they bask under the (preferably tropical) sun with palm fronds waving in the background, while they sip on coconut water and swoon over the virtues of a good mango. Too much like Hollywood paradise to not evoke skepticism.
These social media personalities wield a strong influence on their audience. Most of them start out making “what I eat in a day” videos that break down what is apparently the vegan’s ideal diet. Then they extend into every nitty gritty detail imaginable: vegan makeup routines, exercise regimes, clothing hauls and even vegan relationship advice.
From the looks of it, simply by going vegan they have discovered some fountain of wisdom and they spout on the fountain’s behalf.
Any one of them would be happy to explain they do these videos because they are requested to. Requested by whom? Their fans.
If their meetups are any clue to go by, some of the followers are simply kids. Go through enough comment sections and videos you’ll even find some as young as 11 gushing about how much they’ve learned from their vegan idols.
Maybe Youtubers do convert as many people to veganism as they publicly take pride in. Plainly put, veganism entails giving up all products derived from animals.
Avoiding animal products is a diet, not a dogma.
Some YouTubers claim that this is how humans are biologically programmed to eat. Meanwhile proponents of eating meat dish out that exact same argument. At the end of the day, both are spreading misinformation targeted at a very gullible audience. Fans who happily swallow anything they have to say and then repeat it too, and with a confidence that merits something etched in stone.
The issue is not with veganism per se. Many of the health claims may be accurate, but veganism is far simpler than most Youtubers make it look like. Why complicate something if you want it to catch on?
It seems contrary to the alleged intentions of such channels — to spread veganism. Wannabe vegans should pay less attention to random people on YouTube and more on books, journals, articles and other verifiable sources of knowledge. It’s absurd to let unqualified people pose as the leaders of new communities, which is often what these vegan vloggers choose to call their following. Their very own vegan community.
Veganism is worth a go, but best step into it with your eyes wide open. It’s far too easy to get sucked down a rabbit-hole of extremes. Vegan vloggers can be undeniably fun to watch when your brain hurts at the thought of midterms, homework or finals. But the 21st century is not the time for blind devotion.
Social media is open to anyone and if history is any lesson, people are ready to pounce on anything that promises both cash and recognition. Every vegan activist might not be a money-grubbing sweet-talker, but don’t forget why every video ends with a reminder to “like, share and subscribe!”