The Sexual Politics of Meat and PETA

Carol Adams wrote a good book in 1990 called The Sexual Politics of Meat: A Feminist-Vegetarian Critical Theory. While not without its faults (what book is perfect?), I appreciated the way she made connections between oppressions and subjugations, highlighting what is one my key mantras – oppressions and subjugations are related and you can’t just address one without attention to the others (and certainly not at the active exclusion of others). If you could see the small picture on the cover, you would see that it is a woman divided up into “cuts” – and the question written is “What’s your cut?”

A quick summary – women’s bodies are objectified. The bodies of animals who are eaten are objectified – their pain, suffering, life becomes irrelevent to us because they are objects for our consumption, not beings.

But the whole point of this post is an ABHORRENT image that I stumbled-upon this morning from PETA (see below). I know, I know. PETA doing something that angers someone? Upsets them? Being provocative? Even questionable? Not a surprise. But I found it so upsetting that I will be canceling our $10 a month donation to PETA and finding an organization that does work to lessen the suffering of non-humans animals that doesn’t also promote sexism and objectification of women. It isn’t like I didn’t know that they ran sexist ads before, but somehow this was so upsetting to me that it was the last straw.

Because women and cows are alike, right? And you wouldn’t eat a woman so you shouldn’t eat a cow?

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11 Responses to The Sexual Politics of Meat and PETA

  1. ubuntucat says:

    Yes, very interesting that they didn’t choose a man. And they decided to pick a more or less attractive woman with flawless skin in an alluring pose.

  2. I used to be a member of PETA too, but quit for similar reasons.

  3. Charlie Talbert says:

    If I were being tortured in a death camp, my criticism would not be directed to the people who thought, however misguidedly, that nudity was a way to help.

  4. Elizabeth says:

    Thanks for your comments, Charlie. It is not nudity that I have a problem with, but that PETA does not make a connection between the objectification and subjugation of women and the objectification and subjugation of non-human animals. I think that we can only begin to make good and permanent progress on issues of justice and suffering if and when we acknowledge the interconnectivity of the problems we face. I think PETA harms its own work – and the chances of non-human animals for less suffering and the potential to lessen the environmental harm caused by the animal product industry – when it thinks so narrowly about its work. It reminds me of Betty Friedan talking about the “lavender menace” where she argued that women’s issues need to be addressed first and that once that was addressed, then maybe we could get to the lesbian issues. Or Clinton and Obama supporters who argue about which is worse – sexism or racism – not understanding that these are different manifestations of a root problem. And if PETA was the only organization that I could support to work for the ethical treatment of animals, I would support them. But since I imagine there are organizations that better take into account the intersectionality of these issues, it seems like my money and support would be more effective somewhere else.

    Sorry that got too long. Thanks for your ongoing work and in this area and diligently reading my musings here.

    E

  5. Chuck B. says:

    Well…to start of with, I’m a proud omnivore UU who does not see animals as the same as people when it comes to health and safety. Therefore, yes I am a member of the otherside. So feel free to dismiss my post.

    That said, this is the same group that equated African American slavery with animal cruelty in their ads, so this does not surprise me at all.

    The real problem with these fringe animal advocacy groups is that they place animals above people. What is even more shocking to me are those who support these fringe elements and then get upset when the nuts attack their sacred cows. (pardon the pun)

    Extremists whether Peta, Farrakahnists, World Church of the Creator, or the Taliban, are monmanical groups filled with those who are ruled by their fear and personal psychosis. They will destroy and hurt whoever is in their way for their misguided crusade. they worry about the feelings of semi-sentients over the emotions of fully sentients. Therefore, f you dare to feed them, then you should not be suprised when they bite you.

    The progblem is not in the stars, Horatio, it it in ourselves.

  6. pinstripebindi says:

    There are many other fine organizations who need donations, and won’t spend them on ads that treat women like slabs of meat. I’m glad you’ve realized that. :)

  7. wailin says:

    Women make me think sexual thoughts. Get over it. It’s really not you, it’s just hormones. Blame nature. Also blame nature for animals being tasty.

  8. Sam says:

    With raging homophobia in America would a man have been a wise decision for the model?

    To say PETA is equating women to cows is stretching it; humans and cows is the comparison here.

  9. Kezz says:

    Correction Chuck B. – you are not paying attention. Animal rights groups don’t place animals above humans. But, they don’t place humans above animals either. They have compassion for all.

    And comparing people who just want a cessation of suffering to the Taliban? Please….

    In fact, there are obvious parallels between the widely accepted treatment of animals by humans, and the treatment of women by the Taliban.

    Objectify, dominate, contol, torture, depersonalise, confine and abuse.

  10. Mad Bluebird says:

    PETA is for the extremley stupid only

  11. michael ferrell says:

    cows and women are the same i would eat them both they both taste good

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