Either you are, or you aren't.
Um, no, I don't agree with that. Because while it's true that you can't be pregnant-ish, you most certainly CAN be vegan-ish, and that's exactly what we have to encourage folk to move towards if they aren't ready to embrace veganism whole hog, so to speak. (A speciesist phrase no doubt, but also a good example of how animal use and abuse is so embedded in our language.)
And while I understand the appeal of this pithy saying, I don't think it's terribly helpful in trying to get more people to adopt a vegan path. It also reflects a rigid and dichotomous black-or-white, either/or way of thinking that personally drives me nuts. You can't force veganism on someone else, so wouldn't it be better to help people discover how some of their values align with veganism already? Wouldn't it be more effective to let them discover their inner vegan, if you will? I want people to aspire to be part of the vegan movement even if they're not quite ready yet to go the whole distance. I want them to at least HAVE vegan ideals. So how is an either you're 100% in, or we'll consider you 100% out approach useful? Sure, it may foster certain group cohesion, but don't we want our small (and sometimes clique-like) group to grow? Even if it means messy imperfection and folk disagreeing about labels, I want ALL of us to want to use V words: vegan, veganish, veganist, vegan-in-progress, mostly vegan, veggie, vegetarian. Hurray for them all I say! :)
Two other vegan phrases I also find annoying (although I'm sure there's more, snort) and may address in future include:
- ex-vegans were never vegan to begin with
- the world is vegan if you want it