Silver: All food production is exploitative.
Whiny, pale, and possibly even intent on eliminating the entire human race to make way for fluffy bunnies, the Straw Vegetarian is a thinly-veiled Strawman who is desperate for a bacon sarnie or would really like meat "if they just tried it". In some works, vegetarians or vegans are also shown arrogantly forcing their meat eating family and friends to stop eating meat, often referring to them as murderers. More often than not, no-one likes folks like this, often saying under their breaths, "Can't I have just one meal in peace?"
The vast majority of vegetarians, however, are not like this. Most have eaten meat before and choose not to continue doing so for multiple reasons. The more well-rounded ones are also respectful of what others eat, though it helps if that respect is returned. Also, the distinction between vegan and vegetarian is fairly simple: vegans don't eat anything that comes from an animal full stop, whereas vegetarians will eat animal products as long as killing the animal is not a requirement to obtaining them.
- This section is a pick 'n' mix of stereotypical traits — any number of them can apply.
- Really stupid, often a Dumb Blonde, sometimes to the point that they'll happily eat chicken "because they're not animals, they're birds!"
- Calls themselves "vegan" without understanding the difference between vegetarianism and veganism. The former eats no meat, the latter eats no animal by-products (meat, milk, eggs, etc). Vegans in film cannot eat most conventional baked goods, which contain eggs or butter, and have what other Americans would consider a very restrictive diet (here's a good outline of some of the issues even for people trying to avoid animal products).
- Hates people who wear furs or support any businesses that use Animal Testing, claiming all such people are evil sadists who hate animals.
- Almost always Caucasian.
- Often a Soapbox Sadie and/or Granola Girl.
- Very pale and physically weak.
- Repressed and secretly desperate for meat.
- Continually pushes their views on others, and is keen to brag about their vegetarianism even if it's not dinner time.
- May have a rose-tinted view of the animal kingdom, sometimes to the point of delusion. May lead to the Straw Vegetarian getting attacked by the animals they claim are harmless.
- May wish that humans were wiped out so they'd stop killing animals.
- Acts like a dietary fundamentalist, treating vegetarianism as a moral absolute.
- A member of an Animal Wrongs Group.
- Almost has to be a Strawman Political by definition; generally portrayed as an annoyingly self-righteous liberal or left-leaning politically. If female, they have a good chance of also being a Straw Feminist.
Compare and contrast Evil Vegetarian, where an evil villain abstains from meat (out of conviction, squeamishness, personal taste, or whatever) but is nonetheless prepared to do things most people would consider far worse than meat-eating to attain his ends. The Evil Vegetarian is always a straight-up villain, and also differs from the Straw Vegetarian in that his villainy is not necessarily directly connected to his vegetarianism; for him, the latter might simply be a lifestyle choice of little immediate importance to his other activities. The tropes are not mutually exclusive, however, and a character can easily be both. See also Meat Versus Veggies, and further Real Men Eat Meat.
People who exhibit some or many of the typical traits of the Straw Vegetarian as described here certainly exist in real life; probably the most (in)famous was Adolf Hitler, who promoted vegetarianism and animal rights and sometimes filibustered against meat-eating at the dinner table, regaling his guests with horror stories about the abuses of the meat industry. However, like all "Strawman" tropes, this one refers specifically to fictional characters deliberately crafted by an author to exhibit particular traits, and/or make a point: a living person by definition cannot be a strawman. Therefore, No Real Life Examples, Please!
- In an advert for Quorn (a type of meat-replacement protein) the vegetarian is portrayed as the classic whiner "it's-a-phase" stereotype. Which is really weird when you consider that the stuff is aimed at primarily at vegetarians.
- Lance Blastoff encounters one in Frank Miller's Tales to Offend. She is immediately converted when she smells the delicous aroma of roast dinosaur Lance is cooking.
- In a recent issue of Spider-Woman, Jessica Drew discovered that an Evil Chef in a Canadian ski lodge was serving human flesh to his diners, and played Straw Vegetarian to stop people from eating; knocking bits of food out of their mouths and shouting things like "MEAT IS MURDER!" Her actions in this case were justified (well, more so than for the obvious reason that the villain was a murderer) in that, in the Marvel Universe, anyone who eats human flesh in the Canadian Woods turns into a Wendigo, and the chef was intentionally attempting to turn all of his unknowing patrons into Wendigos.
- Tharg's Future Shocks: Parodied by the "Vegetable Liberation Front", who raid grocery stores to free 'enslaved vegetables'. They only eat edible rocks, because eating fruit or vegetables is wrong. One guy notes that they might get a bad rep with the "Mineral Liberation Front", but his partner says that doesn't matter because most of them have already died of starvation.
- Hector's girlfriend Autumn from Zits. The first time she saw Jeremy eating a burger, she got a hysterical fit as if she truly had never seen anything so terrible before.
- Victor the Vegan from Pearls Before Swine, possibly the only person on earth more arrogant than Jeff the Cyclist.
- Tales of the Undiscovered Swords: During his introduction, Konotegashiwa berates Shokudaikiri for serving "senseless death" and flips the food he cooks to the floor for containing fish and cream. Of course, seeing as he is a sword, this also makes him hypocritical on top of already massively jerkish – though to be fair, he acknowledges this.
Konotegashiwa: Isn't it enough that you and I are both weapons? Now you have to commit this shit too?
- In Everything Is Illuminated, the (obsessive) Collector wants a memento of the field of sunflowers. He walks over to them and, instead of picking a few petals or something, he picks up a harmless, living, grasshopper and seals it in one of his polypockets where, we are forced to assume, it suffocates. He is also incredibly pale.
- In Hallmark's For Better or For Worse, the female lead's son Collin is engaged to her rival's daughter, Sophia. They have decided they are "vegan", despite having no clue what it means. Collin later thanks his mom for her muffins, being apparently oblivious to the fact that neither he nor Sophia could eat not only the veal parmesan, but probably most of the salad, nor the muffins, nor most everything on the table. In other words, they're idiots, along with the mother, who could easily have served eggplant and held the parmesan. They also visit a farm where livestock is used and nobody objects to cattle being milked, and decide the best example of a vegan cake is carrot cake.
- Scott Pilgrim vs. The World plays with this, portraying vegans as Large Ham superhumans who have super powers and taking Brandon Routh on a role, who at that time was the last performer of the role of Superman and was explicitly used as Actor Allusion. Of course, this was done to ridicule the "narcissism" of the vegans, but as a result it looks like Stealth Parody.
- Specific diets and anyone who follow them are poked fun at in Two 4 One as though they're this. It's especially played for laughs when the protagonist starts coming out to his co-workers as transgender, and one assumes the important thing he has to tell them is that he's a vegan.
- Madeline Bassett, a recurring character in Jeeves and Wooster books is an unbearably mushy and sentimental girl, who eventually becomes a vegetarian and forces her fiancé to follow her diet. As a result, he leaves her for a cook.
- Magrat Garlick, in her first appearance in Wyrd Sisters, is the kind of vegetarian who is prone to informing non-veggies how much undigested meat they probably have in their colons. Lords and Ladies balances it out by contrasting her with an absurdly old-fashioned cook who doesn't believe vitamins exist. Interestingly, the book between those two, Witches Abroad, doesn't really mention her vegetarianism at all, making her surprisingly unquestioning about the ingredients of all the foreign food she's trying.
- Eustace and his parents in The Voyage of the Dawn Treader are vegetarian; they also follow other health fads like avoiding alcohol and tobacco. All these lifestyle choices tie into their characterization as bland, effete snobs and trend-followers who subscribe to secular intellectualism instead of the Good Old Ways. He says they're also Quakers though, and there is a dose of Straw Pacifist too.
- Dawn from The Babysitters Club. Especially bad since she didn't start out like this (possibly a case of Flanderization). She went from being a normal girl who just happened to be a vegetarian to one who would self-righteously lecture the other girls every time they ate meat, going on and on about how she was going to outlive all of them because of her healthier lifestyle.
- Penny on the pilot episode of The Big Bang Theory.
Penny: Oh, I'm a vegetarian. Except for fish. And the occasional steak. I love steak.
- In Malcolm in the Middle , we find out his class is full of these at the Krelboyne picnic. Hal becomes a hero to all the beleagured dads in attendence (who very obviously were not vegetarians) by sneaking in real meat, but chaos ensues when the Krelboynes realize their "tofu" is bleeding.
- Dick Solomon became one of these as a Compressed Vice on 3rd Rock from the Sun, reverting to his normal meat-eating ways at the end of the episode. Justified by the Rule of Funny and the fact that Dick's personality is just that extreme.
- Regine from Living Single becomes one after watching a daytime talk show where its said being a vegetarian not only good for you, but will keep you active and young looking when you get old (as well as have a hot, young boyfriend).
- Subverted in Hannibal by having Hate Sink Freddie Lounds be the show's vegetarian. Ironically, this leads to her being one of the only main characters who has not eaten human flesh.
- CSI averts this completely with Sara Sidle. She did complain when Grissom wanted her to clean up his meat experiment, but now they seem to have a good understanding, and she never fell into the stereotypes at all. She does occasionally point things out to someone in the break room, but doesn't get pushy about their choices.
- Played straight with the paleontology student who died on the set of the animatronic Walking With Dinosaurs live show. He not only pressured his girlfriend into swearing off meat, but he idolized herbivorous dinosaurs and despised the carnivores to a degree that seems idiotic in a science student.
- Britta from Community is one, as well as highly hypocritical about it, smugly announcing to the Study Group that she's a vegetarian while wearing a leather jacket.
- Similarly averted on Bones with Temperance Brennan. Her diet change was an outgrowth of one, the pig farm incident at the end of season one that was connected to her mother's death and two, writing in the real life choices of the actress playing her.
- Gordon Ramsay at one time seemed to believe this of most vegetarians and has pulled stunts before, such as allowing a cook to tell a passing vegetarian that something with bacon in it was vegetarian. He also organized a TV stunt on his program The F Word where he filled a restaurant with (supposed) vegetarians who had all agreed to try meat (presumably to put pressure on any regular veggies watching). He's softened up considerably since then, after some research on intensive pig farming.
Ramsay: It's enough to make anyone turn fucking vegetarian, for God's sake. And I've always sort of knocked vegetarians and vegans for missing out on the most amazing flavour you can get from meat. But you can see why so many people change instantly.
- That's So Raven: Raven's best friend Chelsea is a vegetarian and the shows Cloudcuckoolander. Her mother may also be a vegetarian as well as a hippie.
- Parks and Recreation: Chris Traeger isn't quite a vegetarian, but his health nut tendencies are treated in the same manner. One episode sees him attempt to get hamburgers removed from City Hall's cafeteria because they're unhealthy, and he makes a proposal to Ron Swanson: They have a cook off where Chris makes a turkey burger and Ron makes a hamburger. Chris slaves over his burger, making it with expensive ingredients, while Ron just slaps ground beef on a grill. Ron wins in a landslide, and when Chris has a bite, he announces that beef is just inherently better.
- Star Trek: Enterprise: The Vulcans criticize humans who eat meat whenever they have the opportunity. For instance, one episode featured a group of Vulcans stranded in a remote area and two of them preferred to starve rather than eat an animal to survive. This was in sharp contrast to other portrayals of Vulcans, such as Spock, who maintained a vegetarian diet as much as they could but were willing to eat meat if there was nothing else available, seeing voluntary starvation as illogical.
- Some early Seinfeld episodes have Elaine as one, with the strong implication that she only wants a cheap excuse to argue with people.
- Two and a Half Men has Mia, one of Charlie's fiancees, trying to make Charlie stop eating meat. Not only was she a straw vegetarian, she was making Charlie give up everything he liked, including drinking, cigars and even sex.
- Proving that the "obnoxiously self-satisfied vegetarian" stereotype has been around for quite a while, a Monty Python's Flying Circus sketch begins with a waiter welcoming the characters to his restaurant in this fashion:
Waiter: This is a vegetarian restaurant only, we serve no animal flesh of any kind. We're not only proud of that, we're smug about it.
- Although in typical Python fashion it's played with; he ends a crazed rant about how he'd never subject an innocent, defenceless animal to any number of unpleasant tortures with "not for food, anyway." It also turns out that while the restaurant won't serve animal flesh, it's quite willing to serve human flesh.
- How I Met Your Mother, "Shelter Island": Nora is introduced as a preachy, holier-than-thou vegan, to Ted's contempt. Zig-zagged when her fiancé dumps her and she goes on a steak binge.
Nora: [Smugly] I wish I could tune out that moral voice inside me that says eating animals is murder... but I guess I'm just not as strong as you are.
Ted: That's because you need protein. [To the restaurant waiter] I'll have the lamb.
- Averted by Karen in Sims Big Brother 8. While her interview makes her sound like one, where she states her goal is to introduce one houseguest to veganism or at least vegetarianism, but she doesn't outright say it.
- The Best Page in the Universe portrays all vegetarians everywhere like this, and urges carnivores to eat more meat than usual to compensate for the animals that aren't dying.
- The Simpsons: Lisa tries to convince everyone not to eat meat at Homer's barbecue and eventually throws away the roasted pig. At the end of that episode, Lisa learns from Paul and Linda McCartney not to be judgmental about non-vegetarians, after which she mostly settles down — but it doesn't stop her occasionally lapsing into aggression in later episodes, mostly as jokes.
Lisa: I think your protest was incredibly brave.
- Also Lisa once fell in with a crowd of extreme environmental activists. She develops a crush on the leader and visits him in jail.
Jesse: Thank you. This planet needs every friend it can get.
Lisa: Oh, the earth is the best! That's why I'm a vegetarian.
Jesse: Heh. Well, that's a start.
Lisa: Uh, well, I was thinking of going vegan.
Jesse: I'm a level 5 vegan - I won't eat anything that casts a shadow.
- Admittedly she's young and has a crush; there's no strong indication she doesn't believe veganism is a good thing. In fact Jesse could be the bigger Strawman, likely only being such a strong vegan to swagger about his environmental message, not because he believes so strongly in it.
- In Danny Phantom, goth girl Sam tries to get meat banned from the school café in favour of her parody vegetarian diet of turf (yes turf, as in grass) - the result is mass protests from both sides. It's played for laughs, however, and is an Affectionate Parody (her opposite, Tucker, is utterly meat-obsessed).
- Hayley in American Dad!. An adamant vegetarian, yet in one episode, she spends her time stuck in Africa with Stan and Steve in the American Embassy, clearly eating meat dishes. In another, she admonishes her boyfriend Jeff for eating a corn dog, telling him they're vegetarian. Jeff replies "Still?"
- The Amazing World of Gumball:
- Steve Small once actually said that he was only vegan for the feeling of superiority it created. "The Potato" reveals that he hides meat in his desk because he can't stop eating it.
- Leslie the flower is an inversion; being a plant himself, he refuses to eat anything but meat and tries to convince Penny (a peanut) to do the same.
- Victor Volt of The Secret Show is a vegetarian. Though, thankfully, this trope is Averted. He never shoves it down anyone's throat. In fact, it only really ever comes up once when a race of utterly delicious aliens show up and he's the only one that can keep from eating them with a slurp, which causes horrible mutations in the eater.
- Clover from Totally Spies! claims to be a vegetarian but has no problem with eating seafood, which technically makes her a pescaterian.
- Free Waterfall Jr. from Futurama, The leader of the ironically named Mankind for Ethical Animal Treatment (M.E.A.T) who protested the consumption of "Popplers" (baby omicronians) only to be Eaten Alive by Lrr, making him the first of the Waterfall family to suffer Death by Irony. He also taught a lion to eat tofu.