Vegetarians: Not Just Here to Make You Uncomfortable

You like bacon, I get it. That’s wonderful. But please stop harassing me because I don’t.

I see and hear people dissing vegetarians all the time – whether it’s on social media or on the way to class. I don’t understand what it is about us that cause people to make fun of us in their statuses, go on twitter rants, or complain about our inability to be cool and just “go to the steakhouse already”. The funniest thing I’ve encountered as a vegetarian is people saying that I’m being difficult. What my dining company fails to realize is that yeah, it’s pretty difficult eating out sometimes. As much as that sucks for you, carnist, who has to get a hamburger at a different restaurant, you fail to realize that I wish it wasn’t so difficult. It can be infuriating to scroll through different menus online and not find something that meets your dietary needs. You ask me, “Wouldn’t it be easier to just eat meat?” Yeah, it would! It would be a lot easier because the Western world, for the most part, still thinks of meat as a necessary part of every meal. I didn’t become a vegetarian because I wanted to piss off all my dining mates. I didn’t wake up one day without researching what eating meat is doing to the human population, environment, and animals – and just decide that being a vegetarian would be better for my rad hipster image.

The funny thing is I’ve had people try to educate me on why I’m wrong about vegetarianism when they haven’t read anything about it. Someone doesn’t choose to change the way they’ve been eating for two decades on a whim. Having special dietary needs can be hard. When I cut out meat and animal products, I had no choice but to learn to cook for myself since my friends and relatives were all carnists. It wasn’t easy. When I came home after a ten hour day with sore feet and an empty belly, the last thing I wanted to do was cook, especially when my mom had tons of leftovers and a dish in the microwave ready to go. Being a vegetarian or vegan can be very hard in the beginning, especially when you’re used to finding an abundance of food options anywhere you go.

The United Nations has made a plea for people to stop eating meat (x) and yet I continually have carnists telling me that I’m an extremist. This article isn’t meant to shame you for eating meat and I’m not going to name all of the reasons why I think you shouldn’t (but feel free to contact me if you’re interested), I am simply asking you to respect my decision. If I don’t lecture you when you order a steak – please don’t lecture me when I order a veggie burger.

Kat Stubing