how do i deal with people who say stuff like "if you were a real feminist you'd be vegan because cows are raped to make milk for you"?
Oh buddy. This is something we always run into when we do internet activism, isn’t it?
So what I’m going to do is tell you the variety of ways I have responded to this.
I get a fair amount of anon hate on my personal, or criticisms of the way I express my feminism, and this is one that I’ve gotten before. How I respond to it literally always depends on what my emotional resources are at the time I encounter the message.
The first and most important thing to note is that we are not actually responsible for educating people. They are responsible for educating themselves. We have the option of offering information to them and helping them out along the way, but education will not happen unless they are open to it.
So let’s say I get that message, and I am exhausted from work and have been having flashbacks and haven’t eaten in 13 hours.
I will sometimes just post the ask with *fart noises* in the reply. To me, a response that flippant is appropriate to the ridiculousness of such an ask. It offers me the opportunity to express frustration without getting pulled into a conversation that is going to further spend my emotional resources. (Other such options are “fuck you,” “gtfo,” “I literally do not give a shit what you have to say about anything,” etc.) You see what I’m going for here.
Another possibility…. when I have the energy, I will just honestly say, “Hey look, I understand you have poltics that include veganism, and that’s chill, but I need you to understand that making comparisons of that kind is extremely harmful to survivors. (At this point you can offer actual resources if you want to.) And (this part is important if you know them personally) as someone who is fairly close to me, I also want to tell you that your comment has hurt me personally, and I would really appreciate it if you would never say anything like that again.”
Yet another option is to elucidate exactly that false equvalencies of this sort are exactly that. There are dozens of pages that discuss false equivalencies like this and how they are actually ineffective arguments. (I usually add in something about how a discussion of veganism/animal rights is a different discussion than one of sexual violence, and when people make those comparisons, they actively dehumanize the individuals who have suffered sexual violence.
And then of course there is the nuclear option. What is the nuclear option? The nuclear option is to use all the power of your beautiful brain to destroy militant veganism and show them exactly why their particular brand of poltics is actively oppressive across many axes. (Again, there are sources all over the place that explain the classism and racism associated with militant veganism.)
Having said all this… one of the things I try really hard not to do in these conversations is invalidate their beliefs. You can fight the logic, and that’s acceptable. But if someone morally believes in veganism, you can’t fight that. Moral beliefs are often closed doors. And sometimes that’s okay. I mean, you can and should fight the things about veganism that are oppressive, but if someone wants to lead a vegan lifestyle, they of course have that right and should be left to it.
I hope this has been helpful. If any other mod or follower has anything to add, they are welcome to do so. I totally invite it!