Vegetarian for a number of years and fast approaching a year of veganism, animal rights are more than a matter of principle for myself but a passion in which I strive to voice for the unspoken through subtle “everyday” activism and choosing a cruelty free plant-based lifestyle.
“Veganism is a way of living which seeks to exclude, as far as is possible and practicable, all forms of exploitation of, and cruelty to, animals for food, clothing or any other purpose.”
(Definition of veganism, 2016)
Responding upon the brief set of Identity, focusing my attention towards “groups” and the notion of documenting “strangers” – the stigmas surrounding veganism and the stereotypes faced everyday will stimulate my work. Having contacted a local group of vegans through social media whilst gathering responses from many who wish to break these stigmas, they have agreed to be part of this project – the outcomes will be a series of portraits taken on medium format film confronting who vegans truly are.
A number of stereotypes/stigmas gathered in response –
“You don’t look like a Vegan, you look great (referring to weight)”
“A lot of people tell me I do it to lose weight/stay slim or tell me I do it for being a dotwork artist and want to fit that hippy onelove stereotype, the neggy type that literally will not listen to a word I say will believe this. Tend to block out the friends and family that persistently felt like this about me.”
“A lot tell me the teeth thing, I think I may have even agreed with it way in the past! But the concept that we’re closer to carnivores than herbivores due to our teeth or something? I’m not entirely sure on that one tbh but I feel like it’s not strong enough. Our teeth and stomach seem pretty fine to chew and digest plant based foods.”
“The protein / malnourished thing is a big one – that often bothers me the most when it’s some chicken nuggets burger diet person telling you this..”
“It upsets me that there are people out there that not only typically see vegans as angry, self righteous characters, but they tend to not have the willingness to even understand the grand schemes of what this Earth is going through and how we play a part in that.”
“People assume I’m a hippy because I care about animal rights, whenever I’m ill it’s obviously because I’m vegan, my protein and calcium levels are DEFINITELY awful, people assume I think I’m better then them. The list goes on..”