By reinforcing repeatedly that “there are vegan men, veganism can be manly,” we are saying that there is something wrong with a movement being women-lead and women-dominated; that there is less value in contributing or joining a “women’s” social movement. It reinforces the notion that a man participating in a so-called “girly” movement devalues that man, because women’s things are less valuable than men’s. Not only this, but the more strongly we argue that veganism can be masculine, veganism can be for beefy weightlifter men and male fighters and gym bros, the more we reinforce the notion that veganism has to be one or the other. By insisting that veganism isn’t a “girly” lifestyle and treating all male vegans like the world’s greatest gift to animal rights, we strengthen the idea that gender has anything to do with it.
Veganism is a movement dominated by women, which does not make it any less valuable for our presence. We deserve to be more widely recognised among our leaders and innovators. There isn’t a shortage of accomplished, inspiring, talented, and powerful vegan women, we just don’t celebrate them and share their work as widely as we do that of men.