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I’m NOT Freelee the Banana Girl! [And That’s Okay!]

If you’re vegan and on YouTube frequently–hell even if you’re not vegan and on YouTube once a month, you probably know of Freelee the Banana Girl.  Freelee has a massive channel that’s growing more massive by the day.  She focuses on the health side of being vegan using her impressive physicality as proof.  In many ways, Freelee and I are incredibly different.  And that's a great thing…

See, when I decided I was going to take to the Internet for my activism and try to reach people through videos on YouTube, I had no idea where to start.  I just wanted to make some difference, any difference for the animals and, inspired by the effectiveness of Gary Yourofsky’s speech, I decided that the Internet, the means by which the majority of us stay connected today, would be my best bet.

You can hear the full story of my journey into activism in this video post, but suffice it to say, I was clueless and intimidated and…well, lost.  I'd been vegan and fiercely passionate about animals for as long as I could remember, but I’d always felt powerless to speak for them.  And now I was going to embark on the seemingly insane journey of creating videos when I had zero experience, a rather crippling tech phobia, and no interaction with YouTube outside of the odd cat video.

I’d known of Freelee through her site 30BananasADay, which I was a member of back when it was rather small.  I saw her YouTube career skyrocket and thought, “maybe that’s how I should do it.” Make videos more frequently.  Not spend so much time researching and editing and creating all the visuals that fly around the screen.  Maybe show some skin?

(No? …okay.)

Maybe talk about diets and weight loss?  I bet that would get me some more clicks!  But here’s the thing: I’m not Freelee.  And I came to realize that that’s a very good thing.  Because there’s already a Freelee out there who can be Freelee far better than anyone else.

Now, this video post's not really about Freelee, it’s about finding your voice and getting active. See, the more varied our voices the more people we can reach.  Freelee can reach people I can’t and I can reach people she can’t and Gary can reach people neither of us can.  And guess what? So can you.  People connect with different people.  And the more of us who are out there speaking out, the more opportunities there are for people to make the connection. [tweet this]

I know it’s scary taking a stand and speaking up.  Trust me on that.  But you have the power to make a difference–to change people's lives and literally save the lives of non-human animals.  And you don’t have to be Freelee, or Gary, or even me for that matter.  You need to find your own voice. [tweet this]

And it may be a bit rough at first.  Just go way back and watch some of my early videos.  I had no hair, number one, as I’d just finished getting shaved and branded, and I was recording on my computer’s camera and sat way to close to it–so basically, all my early videos are a giant bald head.

But I started. and that’s the key.  So this video post has been rather atypical and a bit out of my comfort zone.  In the video up top, I’m not in front of my educating screen and not throwing out statistics from peer-reviewed journal articles.  And i’m not wearing pants. but it’s something that I felt the need to say. That your voice is needed.  Just as you are.  Don’t wait until you feel ready, because you’ll probably never feel that.  And don’t wait until you think you’re good enough or smart enough. Use Google. [tweet this]

Seriously though, the animals can use every single voice that’s willing to speak up.  Do you think a veal calf trapped in his cell, unable to move and scheduled for slaughter in a number of hours cares whether you say the perfect words?  Or if your hair looks good?  Or if you know how to field every question you receive?  Or if you feel you’re thin enough or smart enough or confident enough to speak out about veganism?  No.  He just knows he is suffering and terrified.  He needs freedom.  And I'm pretty damn sure he’d take it by any means.

So get out there and find your voice, your version of activism.  It may look completely different than anything I or anyone has ever done.  And that’s awesome.

And hey, if you feel you need some help getting started, I do offer one-on-one coaching to help guide you through the process of finding your individual effective form of activism.  And if you want to go the YouTube route, which I think has great potential, I also offer YouTube coaching for building an effective channel from the ground up.

But whether it’s videos, or lectures, paintings, interpretive dance–whatever–start educating, start speaking up.  Take advantage of the little opportunities in your every day life to speak up for the animals.  We need you–they need you.  And you can make a difference.

See ya next nugget!

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My Activism Journey

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11 Comments

  1. Sofia on 03/11/15 at 2:11 pm

    Thanks for the video Emily! I’m personally happy that you’re the way you are and your videos help me a lot on y vegan journey. I have to admit that I don’t Freelee banana girl, her contest is not interesting for me, but that doesn’t anything:). As a quite new vegan I’ve been trying to find ways of how to educate others, and I know it should be via photography and some lectures, but that needs some planning ahead…I also plan to use your online coaching, it’s just right now I don’t have money. As soon as I have I will contact you as I will need some help how to deliver veganism to others in a best posssible way. Thank you again!

    • Emily Moran Barwick (BiteSizeVegan) on 03/11/15 at 2:25 pm

      thanks so much Sofia ;) your support and encouragement really mean the world, honestly. and i’m, as always, honored and moved to hear i’ve had an impact in your life. and no rush about the coaching- i plan on being around for a while :) and photography can be *very* powerful! much love ;)

  2. sally anne hubbard on 03/11/15 at 6:07 pm

    Dear Emily,
    I enjoyed your video and you are so correct we all need to speak up for the animals.
    I joined Facebook so I could keep in touch with my fellow animal activists.
    We are making a big difference, you have heard of the announcement by RInglings (cruelest show on earth) that they will retire their elephants by 2018. That was due to all the effort from all the activists.
    We can and will make a difference to the lives of animals.
    Kind Regards,
    Sally Anne

    • Emily Moran Barwick (BiteSizeVegan) on 03/11/15 at 9:16 pm

      thanks so much Sally Anne. and i have. it’s great news although very disappointing that they’re saying it will take 3 years to phase out.

  3. Sofia on 03/12/15 at 3:12 am

    I like you and your videos because you sincerely care about the animals first and foremost. To me veganism is animals, yeah sure the health benefits are great and all and you feel great but to me, in the end I could care less about all that. It’s animals that matter. That’s why I like your content you don’t sugar coat things. Thanks for being real

    • Emily Moran Barwick (BiteSizeVegan) on 03/12/15 at 1:24 pm

      thanks Sofia :) i’ve never been much for beating around the bush, so to speak. and i’m the same way- animals are the priority. even if being vegan was bad for my health, I’d still do it.

  4. The Vegan Junction on 03/12/15 at 7:51 pm

    I agree, it’s a mixed feeling regarding Ringlings.

  5. The Vegan Junction on 03/12/15 at 7:56 pm

    And I appreciate your style and approach to animal activism. Very informative, yet with a splash (or a few splashes) of humour that, I think, is even more effective in getting the message across! ;)

  6. Juli Loupe on 03/13/15 at 5:06 am

    Loved the vid Emily. Love your authenticity and humor. Great topic…inspiring others to inspire…much needed. High regards for you and your work. I’m your fan.

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