Wednesday, January 13, 2010

Faking It.

Recently on Twitter there was a Tweet that went something like this......if wearing fur is morally wrong then isn't wearing faux fur and propagating the idea of fur wearing just as wrong? This simple statement then lead naturally to the question of replacing your leather goods with pleather. And not surprisingly it lead to the questioning of the morality of eating fake meats. There is always chatter of this sort going around in the vegan community, sort of like a "how vegan are you" contest. Are you vegan enough that you don't wear clothing resembling animal skins or eat anything that's meant to resemble a hamburger? Perhaps you shouldn't even call yourself a vegan if you do. This crazy idea about which vegans are the most vegan goes on constantly.

I say, enough with the names, enough with the "I'm more vegan than you" attitude, a vegan is a vegan is a vegan. I do believe that veganism is more than a diet. I do believe that veganism is a lifestyle of awareness and compassion. I don't believe that vegans are or should be perfect. If you don't wear or eat animals or their secretions, if you don't use products that were produced through animal testing or with animal ingredients, and if your intent is to cause as little harm to animals, the environment, and yourself as possible then you are a vegan. Let's face it, if your intentions are good but you aren't a "perfect" vegan it doesn't make me any less vegan, so why should I care what you call yourself?

But I digress, now on to the issues at hand. Is it contradictory, or "unvegan" as it were, to wear faux fur and pleather and to eat meat analogs? Honestly, and maybe unpopularly, I don't think so. I've not ever been one to wear fur or even want to wear fur, so faux fur isn't really a huge draw for me. But if you like the look of fur I don't see anything wrong with wearing the faux variety (that is assuming of course your faux fur isn't made with dog fur; you can read more about that here). Pleather is hard to avoid. I mean, if you want to ever wear anything other than canvas sneakers then you pretty much don't have a choice (and canvas sneakers won't keep your feet too warm or dry in this snow and ice). As for meat analogs, I don't see the big deal. It's not meat so really, why does it matter. I mean if I'm honest, I didn't stop eating meat and wearing leather because I all of a sudden decided I didn't like the taste of a hamburger or that leather was "so last year". I don't avoid these things because I dislike them, I avoid them because I disapprove of them. They are cruel, inhumane, and absolutely unnecessary to my survival. So what if I miss the taste of a cheeseburger or like the look of a sexy pair of black knee high boots. I don't consume them and THAT'S THE POINT. Becoming vegan wasn't about thinking that cheese was the most disgusting tasting thing on the face of the Earth. As a matter of fact, I think cheese tastes pretty darn good. Becoming vegan was about becoming unselfish, it was about putting my own selfish desires aside and living my values.

So, if you want to fake it go for it. Get that faux fur trimmed coat, buy those sexy patent pleather heels, and find the tastiest, juiciest vegan burger you can find. It's your intent that counts. If fake fur, fake leather and fake meat and cheese help someone give up their more cruel counterparts we, the vegan community, should be happy about that. Any means to a less cruel society is still a means to a less cruel society.


  1. This post is awesome! I definitely don't feel "vegan enough" sometimes but lately I've stopped worrying about it and made more of an effort to learn more about all the issues that go along with being vegan. Thanks Carrie!

  2. Great blog post! Having recently discovered an awesome vegan Chinese buffet nearby, and all the genius/crazy meat-esque things on the menu... I have also discovered that I really can't bring myself to like even faux meat (it tastes/feels waaaay too much like REAL meat for me)... but I LOVE the idea that people who DO like meat have a realistic but ethical alternative!

  3. wonderful post!

    I never liked meat very much, but my husband LOVED meat. Honestly, I could take or leave fake meat but I'm happy there is a cruelty-free alternative for people like my husband. I also think analogues can be very helpful for people transitioning to vegetarianism or veganism.

    As for leather and fur, a lot of people like it -- the way it looks, the status they think it gives them, and those people are not likely to be moved by the plight of animals... but they might be motivated if they also had cruelty-free option that looked and felt just as good.

    A vegan is a vegan. I once ordered cotton candy at a ball game, tweeted it, and was attacked for it because it was processed sugar, which may or may not have been sent through bone char and since I didn't know the source, and it was 50/50 the bone char kind, I was being "unvegan" ! dear god. where is the line? that i will never leave my apt bc I might wipe my ass with TP in a public bathroom that is made by a company that tests on animals? i mean COME ON. Make vegan seem accessible by not being evangelical about it. I'm not more vegan than someone because I don't like fake meat. & someone who wears string for a belt is no more vegan than me bc I rock pleather.

  4. Love it! Great article.

  5. Anna K. Murray, Esq.January 14, 2010 at 7:30 AM

    Well said.

  6. Very well said, Carrie. Thanks for saying what a lot of us are thinking.

    Have a great weekend :)

  7. Good post. As a veggie I get given grief sometimes about eating veggie meat and quorn which really annoys me. I am not killing aninmals should be all that matters!

    Kate xx