What is a Stereotype?
“Definition: A stereotype is “…a fixed, over generalized belief about a particular group or class of people.” (Cardwell, 1996).
The use of stereotypes is a major way in which we simplify our social world; since they reduce the amount of processing (i.e. thinking) we have to do when we meet a new person.
By stereotyping we infer that a person has a whole range of characteristics and abilities that we assume all members of that group have. Stereotypes lead to social categorization, which is one of the reasons for prejudice attitudes (i.e. “them” and “us” mentality) which leads to in-groups and out-groups.” – McLeod, S. A. (2015). Stereotypes. Retrieved from www.simplypsychology.org/katz-braly.html.
When people hear the word vegan, the images that are usually conjured up are those of a weak anaemic person or a hippy, a self righteous person, up on their high horse or an aggressive protestor.
Now of course there are some people who fit the stereotypical vegan mold to a certain extent, I am not denying that, but let’s look a bit deeper.
There are so many misconceptions out there that surround veganism and vegans in general. I used to believe them too, until I became vegan. Just a quick good search for the term stereotypical Vegan revealed these gems.
The public are not entirely to blame for these stereotypes floating around. The media play a huge role in portraying vegans a certain way. The media twist everything to meet their agenda ** deep breaths, I will not go on a media rant today!**
I will say this though, the stereotypical vegan has been shoved in people’s faces for a long time!
Vegans go against the grain of society, we turn our back on the education system, the oh so powerful meat and dairy industries and sometimes even our friends and family members! This radical free thinking makes people uncomfy. So stereotypes and mocking vegans seems to be the best way to deal with us.
The reality is, that we, as humans are mostly scared of what we don’t understand. Vegans are living in a way that is the polar opposite of the majority, therefore the majority see vegans as a threat, as extreme and point blank wrong!
Most vegans are quite vocal anout6the lifestyle too and “shove their opinions down people’s throats”. So with the mindset that vegans are wrong, crazy and extreme, and with their stereotypes in full force, people get defensive when encountering vegans.
They have made their minds up about veganism and vegans probably without even talking to a vegan or trying veganism.
Therefore they attack back with bacon jokes (oh so funny!) Or with an attempt to discredit veganism as unnecessary, unhealthy and extreme, they fall back on those oh so handy stereotypes and mock vegans.
Stereotypes are pretty bad though, we can all agree on this. Logically we know we cannot lump a whole range of people into a neat little box and pretend they are all the same.
Vegans share a belief or a set of morals/ethics, and believe it or not, sometimes that is all they share, other times vegans can have lots of different things in common.
Just like any community in the world the vegan community is pretty diverse. Vegans make up a small % of the world population but we are all over the world. The community is growing rapidly every year too, so different people are adding themselves to the mix.
Vegans are not only spread across the world we are also spread across many different professions.
There are vegan hairdressers, actresses, actors, make up artists, politicians, singers, authors, musicians, business owners, healthcare workers, nurses, doctors, dieticians, dentists, construction workers, retail assistants, managers, body builders, chefs, delivery drivers, marketers, youtubers, bloggers and so so many more!
Also, just like any other community in the world, there are disagreements which come to light, quite frequently in fact.
So to summarise, there are many different types of vegans, with different reasons for going vegan, there are differing opinions within the community.
Vegans vary in age ranges, ethnicities, religions, genders, sexual orientations, politics, languages, morals, body type, views on the world, personalities and beliefs.
What brings all of these different people together is Veganism. For whatever reason they choose.
We are diverse, we are passionate, we are vegan!
Please see below for my stereotypical vegan video, showing how diverse the vegan community really is!
I hope you enjoyed this blog!
Have a great day!
Love Lainey xx