Why do we fight about food on the internet?
Now I’m never one to get involved in comment section controversy, but I have witnessed many conflicts that have left me both amused and perplexed. In the non-digital world, people can be friends regardless of their dietary preference. Yet once we log on, we become enemies.
The vegan community is a particularly outspoken group. Vegans and meat-lovers can often be seen engaging in never-ending battles in the Youtube comment section. Though in person, I would assume that most vegans don’t attack their friends for eating a burger, many are quick to push their lifestyle choices on others when they go online.
The articles “Food Ethics: Issues of Consumption and Production” by Rob Irvine and “Resisting the Globalization of Speciesism: Vegan Abolitionism as a Site for Consumer-Based Social Change” by Corey Lee Wrenn focus on the ethical aspect of the vegan movement and discuss the role of the consumer.
Though many vegans happen to be health-conscious, veganism is not merely a diet. Many vegans do not feel that they are simply doing their part by cutting out animal products in their own lives; rather, they are looking to influence a wide audience to take on this lifestyle. What is the perfect platform to do so? Social media, of course!
Vegans are basically met with backlash every time they make a comment. So why do they keep posting?
To me, it seems a bit counterintuitive. People often look down on veganism because they are tired of these comments that bash people for eating meat and dairy. When I scroll through the comments on Youtube, I tend to get irritated as well. I don’t want to be told how to eat by random strangers on the internet and I am certainly not going to change my lifestyle because of these comments!
Though Irvine and Wrenn’s articles discuss the politics involved with the vegan movement, their points can be applied to vegan activity on social media. Vegans are persistent because they recognize an ethical responsibility to promote their cause for the sake of animals. However, in trying to promote “values,” many turn to petty insults and arguments and end up doing more harm than good for their cause.
Irvine, Rob. “Food Ethics: Issues of Consumption and Production.” Journal of Bioethical Inquiry, vol. 10, 2013, pp. 145-148, https://www.researchgate.net/profile/Rob_Irvine/publication/236654581_Food_Ethics_Issues_of_Consumption_and_Production__Self-Restraint_and_Voluntaristic_Measures_Are_Not_Enough/links/00b4953911569f295d000000.pdf
Wrenn, Corey L. “Resisting the Globalization of Speciesism: Vegan Abolitionism as a Site for Consumer-Based Change.” Journal for Critical Animal Studies, vol. 9, no. 3, 2011, pp. 9-27, http://www.criticalanimalstudies.org/wp-content/uploads/2009/07/1-Wrenn-C-2011-ESSAY-GLOBALIZATION-OF-SPECIESISM-Vol-IX-Issue-3-pp-9-271.pdf