Monday, January 18, 2010

Vegetarianism, Suicide, and Some Stuff In Between

Brittany Liebenow

Blog Entry Two (Which also happens to be a class entry. Isn't that awesome?)

18 January 2010

Vegetarianism, Suicide, and Some Stuff In Between

Laura Fraser’s “Why I Stopped Being a Vegetarian” explored ideas, both direct and indirect, that I really agree with. I have never been able to understand being a vegetarian. I absolutely love meat. Especially steak, yummy. As an athlete, I also find it hard to believe how someone could not eat meat. After fencing practice or any exercise in general, I am usually starving for a nice, full, hearty meal. This hearty meal almost always includes some sort of meat and some sort of carbohydrate. What can I say? I guess I am a steak and potatoes kind of girl. Usually vegetarian articles are written by die-hard vegetarians, and some vegans, who seem to think that people who eat meat hate all animals and love the ideas of animal abuse, gore, and killing the environment. That is not true at all. I love animals, especially giraffes, sloth, red pandas, elephants, and cats, and think preserving the environment is a cause worth fighting for. Tying all of this together, I was really just glad that Fraser’s article didn’t have such an edge to it; it welcomed both the ideas of vegetarianism and omnivore-ism.

While I enjoyed Fraser’s ideas at face value, I also enjoyed the applications and deeper meaning behind them. Fraser describes how she never realized the trouble it caused her friends and family for her to be a vegetarian. She used the same argument that I often hear affiliated with suicide: Suicide, and vegetarianism, isn’t just a horrible thing for you to do to yourself, it is an incredibly selfish thing to do to everyone that loves you. I guess, on a more sardonic note, if you have no one that loves you then this argument doesn’t apply, but the general idea is that no one should be a suicidal vegetarian because it is bad for the person and their little ecosystem-bubble.

I also found that Fraser’s story of the origin of her vegetarianism was quite interesting. She explains that she originally picked to be a vegetarian in college because it was cheap and because she wanted some sort of slightly political identity. In the general flow of society, this argument makes sense, but it also made me think of something else that happened in our class. I forget what day it was in class, but we were talking about something that lead to death-related things. I said that I wasn’t afraid of death, and, not to my surprise, two people in particular promptly shot me down as if they definitely knew I had no idea what I was talking about. I won’t name names but, for the record, I wasn’t kidding, and I can make my own decisions, thank you very much.

How are these two things related in the least? Allow me to explain. Fraser, in college, wanted an identity. Does she decide to just be herself, claiming a unique identity with all of the possible criticism that goes with it? No, she decides to choose an identity already established by the general public. In the end, realizing that she loves chicken and that she doesn’t really want to be a vegetarian allows her to quit being a vegetarian. She comes to terms with herself and just decides to be herself. Unlike Fraser, I realized a while ago that I do not fit into any cookie cutter identity; I am better off making my own.

That being said, my identity, thoughts, and decisions do not correspond with the average teenager (obviously). When I say that I really am not afraid of dying because if I am going to die, then I guess I’m going to die, I mean it. The people that attack me for saying that are the very people that Fraser was trying to, on a subconscious level, please in college. She needed an identity that would check out with those people. I don’t, so I get the comments.

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