Veganism’s Eternal September & Gatekeeper Syndrome

In the early internet users hated AOL for creating an “eternal September,” when throngs of ignorant newbies joined the web. The first people to join movements can be an insular bunch. These innovators pride themselves on being different. But they can become downright antagonistic when they see people crowding in on a space that had previously felt “special” to them. I think vegans are facing this exact problem with the old guard today, and it’s something I want to touch on here.

The future of veganism is about innovation and making a vegan world, not a close knit, exclusive club. The history of innovation demonstrates that people who start movements aren’t always the ones to take those messages to the the next level. In the same way that Moses couldn’t take the children of Israel to the promised land, some of the early leaders of the vegan movement – especially those who focus on purity, aren’t likely to lead us there, either.

Vegans and the “Eternal September” Dilemma

Scratch the surface of online veganism, and you’ll soon encounter the concept of the “fake vegan” – someone who claims to be vegan, but isn’t quite vegan enough. If you think you might be a fake vegan, never fear. The self-appointed vegan gatekeepers will definitely let you know when you stray.

But when you hear people raging on the internet (and in real life) about “fake vegans”, and other details (are vegans eating too much oil? Not enough? What is the one true diet?), it should actually encourage vegans everywhere.  The growing ire of the vegan gatekeepers is one of the best signs we have that plant based diets are on the edge of becoming the new normal. Bring on veganism’s eternal September.

What do you think? Join the conversation!

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