I have been vegan for three months now. I know I am not perfect, I know I have made mistakes, but I have been doing the best that I can.
Veganism has been on my radar since high school when one of my friends started a vegan diet. She claimed she was doing it for health reasons, but I quickly saw just how unhealthy she was while doing it, barely getting any of the nutrients she needed, and I thought she was absolutely crazy for attempting it. Just a few years later, I came to college and I joined the rock climbing team; suddenly, I knew many people that were vegans. These people were nothing like my friend in high school; they were strong and healthy, I frequently saw them eating nuts, fruits, and vegetables while I snacked on potato chips and candy. They weren’t doing the diet for health reasons, they were doing it for environmental and moral reasons. At first, I was incredulous; how could anyone cut all animal products from their diet? That meant no pizza, no cupcakes, no milkshakes! My favorite foods were macaroni and cheese and tacos, and I knew I could never lose those things. I had heard of vegan cheese and other substitutes, but I was wary. Those crazy vegans claimed that their food was just as good, but I knew that couldn’t possibly be true.
Feminism: the theory of the political, economic, and social equality of the sexes.
Veganism: a way of living which seeks to exclude, as far as is possible and practicable, all forms of exploitation of and cruelty to animals for food, clothing, or any other purpose.
Why have so many of us overlooked the relationship between feminism and veganism? As feminists, we fight for equality and defend the reproductive system and our freedom to make choices on issues that pertain only to females. Why should males be considered superior to women just because we are biologically different? We can ask the same thing about inequalities between animals and humans. We are all members of the same animal kingdom and there is no sense in defending the equality of the sexes in only one species. Gary L. Francione is a staunch vegan feminist and strongly advocates the relationship between the two. As one of my favorite quotes of his reads: