Kalel’s No Longer Vegan?!
This blog post is in response to Kalel’s recent confessional video “I’m Not Really Vegan?”. If you don’t already know, Kalel is a prominent influencer and YouTuber, known for her commitment to veganism and love for animals. I’ve been a follower of hers for years now and absolutely love the content that she puts out. Seriously, whether that’s a vegan grocery haul or apartment tour…you name it, I’ll watch it!
Since Kalel’s recent video, where she ‘owns up’ to a few non-vegan elements in an otherwise completely cruelty-free life, there’s been a pretty big backlash online. Honestly, I was a little worried to watch this video; Kalel was (and still is!) a vegan icon to me and I didn’t want to shatter any illusions. But as it turns out, I came to the end of the video with greater respect for her and a better understanding for how best to approach veganism.
I’ll start by saying that I do understand where the backlash is coming from. Somewhat understandably, vegans aren’t in love with the idea of such an influential figure talking about the non-vegan products that are for some reason or another too hard to ‘give up’. But at the end of the day, the non-vegan things that Kalel consumes and/or uses are massively outweighed by all the good that she does to promote veganism. It goes without saying, being 100% cruelty-free would be better. But 4 or 5 chocolate bars a year don’t, in my eyes, undo all of Kalel’s work spreading the vegan message to her millions of subscribers.
Punishing her for not being perfect seems counterproductive to helping progress the vegan cause, particularly when, as a result, she’s now decided to stop labelling herself as vegan.
I’ve decided that I’m no longer labeling myself as vegan. How this community has reacted to my honesty made me realize I don’t want to be a part of it anymore.
— Kalel 🐱 (@KalelKitten) August 3, 2018
The way I see it, we need to learn to loosen the reigns a little. If nothing else, watching Kalel’s video and reading people’s reactions made me realise just how important it is to lift others up, not drag them down. By punishing people for the non-vegan things they do/eat/say/wear, we can have a detrimental impact and end up turning them away from all the incredible aspects of veganism. Let’s say, for example, someone is willing to swap out their milk with a dairy-free alternative but they’re still hell-bent on eating steak every week – to me, that’s still worth celebrating. I know it can feel hard and even counterproductive to accept, but the reality is that small substitutions can lead to massive progress. So, if we don’t celebrate the little things, we aren’t doing our best to foster greater change down the line.
Oh you know, just causally living out my fantasy of being an angelic vegan princess. 😜 Anyone who knows me knows that I have an EXTREME love for animals… so naturally, I was very excited when the insanely talented, @irenerudnykphoto emailed me with the idea for this shoot. I hope these photos inspire everyone to think more about our relationship with farm animals. As it is deepest my wish for humanity to extend their compassion to all life… from fellow humans 👩🏽 to little chickens 🐥. Only then will the world be a truly peaceful place.
As someone who started off eating fish before going vegetarian and then finally vegan, I can say with confidence that it really is those small changes that snowball and create the biggest shifts. So, cheer on the people who are making an effort and you may find that down the line, they’ll be swapping out more than just dairy milk.
Ultimately, the world won’t change overnight – nothing does. It’s unrealistic to expect such a dramatic shift in the way we live and eat. But by encouraging small steps and letting people know that the vegan community won’t shun them for not being perfect, we’re far more likely to be the change we want to see in the world.
To bring this back to Kalel, I think she showed real honesty in her video and that’s is so refreshing to see. No, she isn’t perfect but is anyone?! The negativity and judgement we can throw at people for falling short of our exceedingly high standards can be overwhelmingly detrimental. So, if we can become more accepting of progress and everyone’s own, personal journey, I think we’ll end up reaching our plant-based future a hell of a lot faster.