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Being an effective voice for animals

May 28, 2010

Portland front-yard chickens

How should I do this?  This is a question I have been mulling over for a few years.  Lately, though, I’ve been thinking about it a lot more.

I have also been thinking a lot about why I blog.  I’ve asked myself why I blog.  At first, I wasn’t really sure.

A few years ago, when I first started asking myself what I could do for animals, I decided that the best way to talk about being vegan was to talk about good food.   I’ve often found the best way to get a non-threatening dialogue going with someone is to talk about a shared love of good food.  I thought I could create and share delicious food with others in the hope they could see that being vegan isn’t an unhappy a choice as some would imagine it to be.

Whenever I’ve begun a blog, I’ve felt that my personal thoughts and ideas about veganism should be kept out of my blogging.  Often my thoughts and ideas are strong and passionate.  I’ve learned that it’s an art to express an opinion in a way that doesn’t make others want to build defensive walls.  I’m still not sure how to engage others in discussions about veganism with the result of creating curiosity instead of impressions of militantness.

Invariably, at some point in each of my blogs (I’ve had several incarnations) I end up talking about my thoughts, like I have here for the last few posts.  And I’ve shied away from this because I’ve gotten the impression that most people don’t like strong opinions.  Or maybe it’s just my strong opinions.

With Epicurvegan, I had a specific image in mind, one that I thought I had to be careful to cultivate in a way that interested people but didn’t leave them with any feeling of being judged.  Along the way this has led to a self-censorship where I decided it would be best that I not talk about my personal thoughts involving animals and animal rights.  I felt should blog only about things that are useful and make others happy.  Like food.  And crafty stuff.

But I am not being truthful to myself.  And I don’t think I’m being as effective a voice for animals as I could be.

Recently, someone I have a lot of respect for said that if we could all just contribute to our own little piece of the pie, we’d all get more done and have a greater impact.  This same person also introduced me in blog post about vegan bloggers in Vancouver, saying that in addition to food and crafts, I also write the “occasional bit about animals.”

A dear friend of mine commented on a post here saying, “You always give me something to think about and consider about the world I live in.  I don’t always like the reality that you show me – but I like that you show it to me.”

These three instances really resonated with me.  They also did not sit well with me.  Why?  Because I can easily do more.  I can have a powerful voice.  I just need to learn to use it in the right way and talk about ideas, not opinions.  Opinions, I think, just might have the unintended effect of making others feel talked at instead of being engaged with their own ideas being heard.

While I still have a lot to learn about being an effective voice not just for animals but for veganism as a whole, I think I also need to be honest with myself.  And while I do that I would like to express my ideas in an honest way and temper that honesty with the same empathy and compassion for people’s feelings that I have for animals.

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6 Comments leave one →
  1. conradvisionquest permalink
    May 29, 2010 5:24 am

    great post! i have had similar feelings when deciding what to blog about and what not to blog about. the posts that i thought i would get the most flack for (and were the most honest in terms of my opinions) have turned out to be the most popular. go figure.

    when writing opinion pieces, i take alot more time and am careful with my wording for the very reasons you talk about: i don’t want to turn anyone off to veganism. i feel it is our responsibility, as people who choose to live a vegan lifestyle, to be happy and intelligent speakers when discussing animal related issues. we are the voice for the voiceless.

    on the other hand, i am asking myself if my own self-censorship might be cowardice. i have strong opinions, too, and the posts that i write that reflect those opinions, to me, seem watered down. i am slowly becoming more comfortable with expressing these opinions. (i am speaking for me personally. it all depends on the blog and the blogger.) and like you, i want to write about them in a way that is thoughtful and honest. i think it’s hard to write anything without some of your thoughts and feelings showing through.

    with all that said, i find that most of my readers are already vegan or vegetarian, or at least open to the idea. as much as i would like to reach the folks who know nothing about being veg*n or have had limited exposure to the ideas that come with it, i just don’t think that’s the case. people who come across my blog are either searching for vegan info or are visiting because i commented on their veg*n friendly blog. so all the concern i have that i will offend non-veg*ns with something i’ve said is probably futile. but i do enjoy sharing information and trading recipes with other veg*ns and veg*n blogs.

    i think for me the most effective thing i can do right now is expose those around me who know nothing about veg*ism or are misinformed. a great way to do this is with wonderful food! i enjoy cooking for my non veg*n friends, and proving to them that being vegan is not all twigs and berries and spilling fake blood on people.

    well, apparently i have alot to say here. i may have to turn this comment into a post!

    ~wendy
    http://conradvisionquest.wordpress.com/

  2. May 29, 2010 8:29 am

    Fantastic post! The best blogs get readers because the blogger is open and honest about themselves. We all want to hear your real, authentic voice. I wish I had more time to comment – look for a response post on the Liberation BC blog soon!

  3. May 29, 2010 8:35 am

    When I first started my blog it was all about food. Then I realized part of the reason I blog is to share and talk about the animals. I try to let people know what’s really happening out there in the real world and some things can’t be sugar coated. Not everyone is going to like how I say things but that’s always going to happen with anything. So far I haven’t received any bad comments, knock on wood.

  4. May 30, 2010 6:46 pm

    I feel you on this one completely. I, personally, would love to hear what you have to say (and I am positive others will appreciate it as well -especially those without human voices)!

  5. May 31, 2010 2:14 pm

    Thank you to everyone for all of the very positive comments! 🙂

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  1. What kind of voice should we be for the voiceless? « The Vision Quest of Life

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