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Vegan in Heels

I am a self-proclaimed girlie girl.

My naturally brunette hair has forcibly been transitioned into a shocking shade of blonde, I drive a ridiculously cutesy red car, I wear high heels everywhere, and I rarely leave the house without a healthy slathering of makeup. I was selected as Snowball Queen and the Most Photogenic girl in my high school class. I cry during Titanic (“Never let go, Jack!”), I love to cook, and I become absolutely giddy when a certain boy holds my hand on date night.

I am also a hard-core vegan.

As a decidedly feminine gal, I’m amused at society’s perception of the vegan typecast. In pop culture, we are often perceived as tribes of granola-looking hippies who drink unsweetened green tea while smoking pot, playing acoustic guitar and physically hugging our tree friends (please see image below.) While I do appreciate a good cup of green tea, I find this representation of our movement pretty hilarious. Since when did empathy for animals equate to greasy hair and liberation from bras? I support those who conserve water and wish for their mammary glands to live in a free and unrestricted world, but these things are certainly not one and the same.

Oh em gee!

Personally, I’ve found that a clean-cut image helps when promoting veganism as a mainstream way of life. During introductions, people have honestly said, “You don’t look like a vegan; you look pretty normal.” While this highlights a collective obliviousness regarding normalcy, I actually welcome those types of statements. It means that I have opened someone’s mind to a new possibility of thought. Maybe vegans aren’t so weird/extreme/peculiar, after all.

In addition to the hippie stigma, our demographic is stereotyped as a horde of white, motivated, liberal, young women. Admittedly, I fit that description down to a tee, but I guess I don’t object to being clumped into this bandwagon of awesomeness. The problem with the stereotype is that it pigeonholes us as a group of citizens with diminutive power. Yes, we can vote and grow up to “be whatever we want to be,” but unfortunately young women are not major players in the present-day cultural power structure. Young women do have significant influence in consumer matters, but our dollars are in a David and Goliath type of battle against a predominantly meat-eating populace. We need to make more of an impact, which is why I wish that the public would open its eyes to the extent of our diversity – and our strength.

Vegans are many things. We are a growing population of athletes, volunteers, business moguls, musicians, lawyers, philosophers, immigrants, teachers, liberals, conservatives, mothers, fathers, children…the list is endless. Vegans are gay. Vegans are straight. Vegans are white. Vegans are black. Vegans are angry. Vegans are loving.

No, we don’t live off the grid in freakish communes. We live right smack dab in the middle of society, and we actively contribute to that society too. If only we had access to maps with little red dots marking the homes of local plant-eaters…You know, like a less disturbing version of a sex-offender website.

Regardless of our fashion choices, political viewpoints, gender, or race, vegans are sharing an important message of compassion and justice with the world. Dreadlocks (and stiletto heels) have nothing to do with it.

Stella McCartney rocks my world

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Adrianne Prettyman

Program Manager

The Seed: A Vegan Experience

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