So recently, I received an email from someone who made my day (don’t worry, I did get permission):
I just wanted to say that I really enjoy your veganime blog. I’m not vegan/vegetarian (I’ve done it for a bit before, live/play with people who are, and am more focused on other advocacy areas at the moment.)
I think, in general, your blog is one of the most awesome critical readings of anime that I’ve found. I also think that even outside of veganism/vegetarianism in general, the things you talk about are really good analyses of struggles that anyone attempting any kind of ethical living will go through, in relation to the world, in relation themselves, in relation to the fortunate and unfortunate social politics one finds in communities around their particular ethical living.
So even in the areas I’m actively grappling with, your blog has really awesome insights that apply!
This isn’t the first email I’ve gotten, though it is the longest. Thank you so much for taking the time to write to me, by the way :)
Anyway, I’ve been wanting to write a reflection post. With the exception of my nomination for the Liebster Awards, most of my posts are written in an article-ish way that don’t really allow my ‘casual voice’ to come through. So I thought that I’d take this opportunity to reflect on my blog, in addition to responding to the email, which I’ll get back to later.
Now, when I started this blog, I already knew that I wasn’t going to have a lot of readership. It doesn’t always have to do with the quality of my content or the time that I put in – I’ve written fanfiction before, and trust me, it is very easy to get lots and lots of readership if you know what you’re doing ;)
Veganism and anime don’t exactly make good bedfellows. Very few people are interested in both veganism and anime, and even fewer are interested in veganism and anime, and the particular animes I’ve written about.
So why bother?
Well, two reasons.
Firstly, this is who I am. Anime is what inspired me to try to live conscientiously, which had an influence in my decision to go vegan. Veganism, in turn, is now a prominent way in which I try to apply what I learn from anime. What I am able to relate my explorations of anime to my life, and apply what I learn in a meaningful way, I find that watching anime becomes that much more enjoyable. In that sense, Veganime partially functions as my personal journal. I am my own audience. Every time I write a post about an anime, I walk away feeling that I know it a little better.
Secondly, I believe that animal rights, and veganism, are changing rapidly. Many celebrities, athletes and other personalities have starting talking about veganism, or even going vegan. The number of vegans in the US doubled from 2009 to 2012 – to 7.5 million people, or 2.5% of the population. For those of us born in the 90s or earlier, we spent our childhoods believing that veganism was this really really weird, obscure thing (I know I did!). Vegan babies were practically unheard of.
For the children growing up today, things will be different. It is far more likely that they will personally know someone who is vegan. They will see vegan options being offered everywhere. They will understand that vegan diets can be nutritionally adequate without having to overcome years and years of misinformation.
And, hopefully, they’ll be interested in anime too.
This is my target audience. I’m writing for the future.
Presently, my blog has a little over 1300 total views according to the WordPress counter. Back when I wrote fanfiction, I was getting hundreds of views per day. But that’s okay.
See, I want to kickstart a culture of relating veganism and anime. I know that my blog is one-of-a-kind, at least in the observable internet universe. Just as some of us use great works of literature to help us interpret our lives, I use anime to interpret mine. And so, when I first went vegan, I was desperately searching for such a blog, scouring google with all variations of keywords in hopes that it would pop up. There was none.
As veganism becomes more popular, I know that there will be people like me further down the road. And so I want this blog to be there for them. It could be 5 years, 10 years, before this blog actually becomes useful, I don’t know (this is one reason why I prefer to cover cult classics instead of the popular anime of the day), but by then I want to have covered many many different animes, so that these people will have something when they need it most. If it helps even one person feel a sense of belonging, it’ll be totally worth it.
Now that I’ve gotten that out of the way, let me respond to the email.
I’d like to make it clear that I am 100% supportive of any form of conscientious living. I’m not about to assign a vegan agenda to everything, and be like, ‘uh no, you aren’t vegan so it doesn’t count’. No matter what you do, if you decide to rescue a dog from the pound instead of buying one (please don’t EVER buy a dog), or to auction off your anime collection to raise money for cancer research, I applaud you, and I thank you for trying to make this world a better place.
I always wanted to get involved in humanitarian work, but I never really had the opportunity to do much. In that sense, I like veganism – because it’s something everyone has access to. Maybe not something everyone can commit to, because a lot of it depends on your circumstances, but you get the point.
But to me, veganism is only one facet of conscientious living. And I don’t believe in separating it from all the others. That’s why I tend to write in ethical generalities. You can interpret my posts however you want. If my blog inspires you to do good in any way whatsoever, it will make me more than happy!
As far as veganism is concerned, I totally understand if you don’t feel like you have the ability to undergo such a drastic change right now, or ever (in any case, you should limit cholesterol intake to 300mg or less a day so you don’t run into health complications when you’re older – FDA recommendations :P).
I’d rather hedge my bets in the future. So yeah, just please don’t oppose the change. Please don’t spread misinformation or bad stereotypes about veganism, please correct anyone who tries to spread misinformation or bad stereotypes about veganism, and please don’t make life difficult for the vegans you know ;) If they seem picky about restaurant choices, understand that we try to be as un-picky as we can possibly be. We’ll settle for any restaurant with even a single quasi-nutritious vegan dish. It’s just that some restaurants (or sometimes a majority of them) want to make our lives living hell.
If there are any unreasonable vegans in your life, send them my way and I’ll smack them for you.