Vegans can sometimes get a bad rep. People get an image of a crazy hippy in a poncho, gnawing on a carrot stick and shouting insults to meat eaters any chance they get. Admittedly, you do get some who are like that, but most are decent and tolerable people, I promise!
However, sometimes I sense that a handful of vegans have a feeling of superiority and put themselves on a pedestal even within the first day of starting this lifestyle. Even I praise myself for pursuing this diet as I know it does a whole lot of good for the planet and animals (blah blah blah). But on many occasions, more so recently, I have been questioning my morals.
As I was stood in a busy Primark dowsing myself in the range of free samples of perfumes with my basket of £1 jewellery, I had a sudden thought. Why do I shop in places like this when they use vulnerable children to make their products and pay them virtually nothing? Why do I still shop here?
The reason? I turn a blind eye to the realities.
How can I write a blog on veganism and encourage others to live more ethically when I still contribute to unjustifiable things like child labour? I feel like a hypocrite!
The same thoughts rattled around my head before I turned vegan. “It’s the way the world works”, “I can’t afford this lifestyle”, “My change won’t make any difference in the big scheme of things”.
By shopping in places like that, I am choosing style over ethics, just as when I wasn’t vegan, I chose taste over my morals. It was actually eating me up inside when I realised I was just another mindless consumer, buying shit I don’t need from unethical sources. I thought I was different (as pretentious and gross as that sounds). I thought I was a conscious buyer. I guess I am not in a lot of aspects.
Yes, my diet is 100% vegan. Is my lifestyle? Probably not. I will most definitely have products that are not completely 100% vegan and cruelty free but I really do try my best. I have makeup products I bought before I was vegan or before I knew they were not ethically sourced but I feel like it is a bit pointless chucking them all out. I’m not demanding more supply by using up an old makeup product. There may be some people out there that totally disagree but at the end of the day everyone is open to their opinions on what they think is right and wrong.
Now more than ever, I am actively educating myself on different shops and products that do not exploit the defenceless. It’s hard not to be enticed by consumerism. The instant gratification of a spontaneous bargain is thrilling but we forget the fact it is at the expense of other being exploited.
I love thrifting, so I am going to try and purchase more from apps such as Depop, Vinted and even Ebay. I am also going to start selling my own clothes on Vinted, so someone else can get a good little bargain too! Mobile apps where you can buy and sell clothes is such a convenient (and more ethical) way to do a bit of shopping in your free time!
To be honest, I am not one to buy all of the latest makeup products. I feel like if I have a product, there isn’t much point buying another until every last drop is used (yeah, I sound a bit like a cheapskate!). So, I am going to further my understanding on what brands are cruelty free and vegan the next time I go to buy a new foundation or lip liner. I know The Body Shop are in favour of animal rights, so they will definitely be at the top of my list!
Also, shopping locally is a great thing to do too!
I think a big thing to think about is to stop attacking people who do not have the same views as you. Before you start telling someone how to live their life, take a look at your own. Yeah, you might be a vegan or whatever, but I am sure there are aspects of your own life you could change. I am making it a challenge to myself to be more reflective and really be aware of who I am actually giving my money to.
I may do a follow up blog post in a few months and share my progress. Well, I bloody hope it is progress! Why not try it yourself and make small changes in your life and we can all share our experiences.
I’d love any tips and tricks on living more ethically! So, leave a comment, write a blog post or let me know on Instagram at veryheartyvegans.