Jeering the Rise of the 'Hegan'

Smirks and groans greet a trend piece on male vegans

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On Wednesday, The Boston Globe informed its readership of the hottest new trend sweeping the nation: "heganism." Never heard of it? Well that might be because it's not really a trend at all. That, at least, is the contention buzzing around the blogosphere today. According to the Globe article, hegans are male vegans whose diet has nothing to do with politics. They are simply "embracing a restrictive lifestyle to look better, rectify a gluttonous past, or cheat death," Kathleen Pierce writes.

She interviews a series of tough guys, including a police detective and Texas firefighter, who have reduced or eliminated the meat in their diet.  “The thing I hear all the time is: ‘Are you still on that diet?’" says one hegan. "It’s the farthest thing from a diet. I don’t feel limited at all. If anything, what I eat has expanded not contracted.’" Anne Sullivan for one, loves the piece. "Whether you're a hegan or a shegan, together we are 'wegan,'" Sullivan says.  She does, however, write for a publication called Super Vegan. Outside the food world, writers at Salon and The Awl are really giving the article and its subjects a tongue lashing.

  • Where Are the Statistics?  Thomas Rogers at Salon writes: "Unfortunately, Pierce admits, there are 'no hard numbers on how many hegans exist.' This is unfortunate, because when promoting arbitrary trends, it's often useful to have hard figures. (The entire trend piece, as it turns out, is based on anecdotal interviews with male vegans or vegan establishment owners.)" Though he doesn't like the piece, he admittedly loves the conflation of 'he' and 'vegan'. "All things said, the succinct catchiness of the word is almost enough to forgive the weaknesses of the article."
  • Who Are These People?  Alex Balk at The Awl says: "Let's leave the whole 'hegan' thing aside and focus on these rationales for not eating meat like God intended: looking good and cheating death. They are exactly the same reasons people exercise. And it makes me sick...You people who exercise constantly and eat healthy? I cannot help but look down on you. If you only knew the pity I feel when I step out of a bar at twilight of a Friday night and look across the street to see a bunch of people running on treadmills in some pathetic attempt to live longer or land a mate… it's absolutely tragic."
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