Saturday, February 18, 2006

and also...

I know I've been posting like three little mostly-self-serving posts a day, and I apologize. But, I'd love some input on this statement. I was writing the intro for my vegan cookbook, about how I feel about calling myself a vegan when I'm not.

"It’s not only like calling yourself vegetarian and eating chicken; it’s almost more like the women-identified “lesbians” in the second wave of feminism who called themselves lesbians but didn’t actually sleep with women. It’s the taking of a label for your own purposes, either for political or strictly personal ones, and it makes me uneasy. You can easily call yourself anything you like, it doesn’t have to mean anything, it’s just a word. When you use that word for some sort of gain, it loses it’s meaning and you potentially hurt the people who might really identify as what you’ve co-opted."

Gah, I hate language sometimes! It's so limiting. You have to take into account the historical moment in which straight-identified women called themselves lesbians (something I didn't know enough about when I wrote this), and the fact that the word "vegetarian", for example, means wildly different things to different people. Does it really hurt people who don't eat any meat if some people call themselves vegetarians, other than the annoyance of being asked if you eat chicken? I was intending to delete this and then forgot and glued it in, and I'm still debating whether or not to paste something over it.

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