I was in deep discussion today with friends and the topic of leather came up. A girlfriend of mine, lets call her Lily is a pescetarian and she wears leather belts and boots. Another friend of mine, lets call him Jake, an omnivore, piped up after lunch and asked her the question “So why do you not consume cow but wear leather?” (I bring up the fact that my friend is an omnivore because he has no hidden agenda to stop someone from wearing leather…it was more of a devil’s advocate type question on his part)
In his defense, it’s a pretty valid question. I wouldn’t generalize and say ALL vegetarians don’t wear leather, because I don’t think that’s true. However, I would go the length to say all vegans definitely don’t wear leather. The chain, to me, is a progressive one, and vegans are the most “extreme”. I don’t think I know a vegan that’s flexible, or a vegan that’s willing to sometimes compromise. These people really have 110% belief and passion in their views.
So, back to my friend. She was presented with a pretty tricky question and she didn’t feel the necessity to defend her actions. In fact, she basically said that she doesn’t need to defend her actions and that people make alot of choices that work for them or don’t work for them. She chooses to wear leather but not eat beef because she believes its wrong, and thats her choice. Nobody should pick at it, insult it, call her a hypocrite, or challenge her – because its her life and she is doing what works for her.
Well, she does have a point. It IS her life. If she chooses to wear animal products and not consume them, kudos to her. Nobody can make decisions for her. Furthermore, aren’t we all hypocrites to some extent? Life isn’t black and white – do our beliefs really hold true 100% of the time? Doubtful.
But is it right or wrong for her to call herself a vegetarian/pescatarian? Is it…hypocritical? Furthermore, what is right? What is wrong? Where’s the fine line between one’s morals and values defining oneself? Is it such a crime to be “flexible”? Is it such a crime to NOT be 110% opinionated, passionate and intense?
We aren’t all passionate about the same things – and when we encounter people who aren’t passionate about OUR agendas…it is unnerving to us, as human beings.
People are passionate about their food. More importantly, they can be, but are not always, fanatical about their viewpoints. We operate on a huge scale of differing shades of grey – there is no black and white here. There are vegetarians for health reasons that sometimes eat meat and still consider themselves vegetarian, even though by the technical definition, they just aren’t. There are vegetarians for health reasons, economical reasons, even gross factor reasons. There are vegans that flat out think everyone else is just wrong. There are omnivores that cannot fathom a day without meat. And even more ironically, there are strifes between groups.
There are strifes between us all – vegans, for example – A vegan consumed honey – is that right or wrong? There is an immediate division – and it seems that we are bound to our rules and definitions and separated by our strong minded opinions more often than not. And sometimes, it seems that we are MORE upset by a fellow vegetarian being hypocritical than an omnivore that eats meat everyday. We are more upset by a fellow vegan wearing a leather belt than an omnivore doing so – because it upsets our stereotypes, it tarnishes the definition of the word. People are PROUD to be who they are. And anyone that makes vegans look bad, vegetarians look bad, etc..just won’t fly. That’s why there are vegans that hate PETA, and vegetarians that occasionally enjoy a burger – we are all divided within our divisions.
We simply cannot be defined by a word – because it means something different to each and every one of us.