You be the judge: should my girlfriend stop claiming she’s a vegan?

By Georgina Lawton (via The Guardian)

Agnieszka has been vegan for a year but ‘slips up’ occasionally. Dylan thinks she’s being hypocritical. You need to get to the meat of the matter.

The prosecution: Dylan

Agnieszka tells our friends that meat is murder, but then will eat bacon at home

Agnieszka calls herself a vegan and tells everyone she doesn’t eat meat and animal products as she believes it to be cruel, but when we are at home she is more lax. That’s fine – she doesn’t have to deny herself her favourite foods just to prove some moral or political point. But the performance she puts on in front of other people irritates me sometimes.

We will go to a restaurant with friends and she will make a big deal about refusing to try certain foods. If someone asks why, she will give them the spiel about how meat is murder. That’s fine if they are interested, but it can be a bit much.

The most annoying thing is when she gets home and then raids the chocolate or cheesy crackers.

She has been a “vegan” for about a year, so it is still new to her, but it’s funny how often she slips up. A few months into it I was cooking a fry-up and she leaned over and said: “Oh can I have a piece of that bacon?” I said to her: “Aren’t you a vegan? What’s going on?” She told me not to police her choices and ate some. I laughed – I wasn’t policing her, just holding her accountable.

She doesn’t really like it when I joke about her being a bit lax in front friends and family. One time at the pub I exposed her bacon-eating in front of my brother. It was in jest but Agnieszka was annoyed and said I was trying to embarrass her. That was the one time we really argued, but it wasn’t about her veganism at all; it was about her being hypocritical.

Agnieszka hasn’t tried to ram her opinions down my throat and doesn’t tell me I can’t keep meat in the fridge. I like a lot of the dishes she suggests and am grateful for how she has educated me on issues around food. It’s just that when she slips up, I feel she should own it. I find the performative aspect of being a vegan a bit strange.

The defence: Agnieszka

I’m adjusting to a new diet and have slipped up a few times. Dylan is being annoying

When you transition into a new diet, it obviously takes some getting used to. I don’t think it’s healthy to cut out all animal products overnight. It needs to be a gradual thing.

Dylan’s great but he could be a little more supportive. He loves telling people I’m a fake vegan and has made jokes in front of our friends about me being hypocritical. He called me out in front of his brother over eating bacon when I was just a few weeks into my veganism. At the time I just craved the taste of it, but Dylan has reminded me of it so many times since, I don’t think it was worth it.

I didn’t take it well when he called me a “fegan” in front of his brother. When we got home, I said to him, “Don’t ever do that again,” because it felt like he was trying to put me down. I hate this weird word: what even is a “fegan”? He did apologise but I was annoyed for days.

I don’t try to change his habits at home, and I am not controlling about his diet, so why is he trying so hard to get involved with mine? We have lived together for two years and share the cooking. If Dylan wants to eat meat in front of me I have no problem with that. But I have slowly tried to introduce more vegan dishes into his life, which I think he appreciates.

I went vegan because I believe that eating fewer animal products will be better for me and the environment. The production of meat and dairy can be so inhumane, and the fact that so many of us aren’t aware of the cruelty is worrying.

I tell people what I know about the brutality of the meat industry only when they ask. When we go out for meals I don’t think I am preachy or tell our friends what to eat. Everyone can make their own decisions – I am only concerned with my diet.

Dylan needs to stop making jokes about my lifestyle in front of other people because in private he is actually quite supportive and interested in veganism – so it’s him that’s being a bit performative.

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