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  1. #1
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    feminist arguments for vegetarianism?

    This was brought up in another thread that of course I can't find now... but what are the feminist arguments for being vegetarian?

    I can see how there is a feminist argument for going from vegetarian to vegan - all the products like milk and eggs are made by the female animals - but plain vegetarian?

    I don't intend this to be a "justify yourself" accusation, I'm just curious.

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    i brought that up on the bust magazine thread and completely forgot to post a reply to your query there.

    related to the milk and eggs reason for going vegan, all of the new cows that are bred for slaughter come from the females, who are raped pretty frequently by insemination machines to keep this going on. then, to add insult to injury, the baby cows are ripped away from their mothers pretty mcuh directly after birth.

    also, there is the language issue. the same sorts of language that have been used to help subjugate women (and minorities) have been used to subjugate animals. there is an excellent book called "the sexual politics of meat: a feminist-vegetarian critical theory" that goes much more in depth than i can here, but consider the word "dehumanized". that is what sexist (or racist) language supposedly does to the slurred individual -- takes away their humanity, denotes them as a peice of meat or an animal, something to be objectified by and subjugated to the needs of the slurrer.

    when someone is dehumanized, it takes away the imperitive to treat that person with respect. they become merely an object rather than a living being. i simply ask why is any living thing being treated that way? to me, if feminism hold up logically, then all living beings deserve at least respect...which, in this system of food allocation we have, animals are not getting. even though it is ::normal:: and ::natural:: for humans to eat meat, it is not normal or natural for us to treat them in such a manner in order to do this...breeding them at accelerated rates through mechanized insemination, keeping them locked in cramed pens, cutting off their body parts (beaks, toes) for our convenience. it is not a hard jump of the imagination to see this ideology at work in other arenas of society. there is nothing so wrong about women doing work or making babies...but when women are forced to do these things, when they are kept inside the home, forced to work continually throughout the day with no compensation (or even recognition that what their doing is, indeed, work), made to procreate whether willing or not by husbands and fathers, then it is a crap system. and eerily similar to what we still do to animals.

    feminism, in my opinion, would do much better for itself trying to change this androcentric ideology than simply trying to change it for one class of being. just because a group is finally considered human does not mean that they always will be, and as long as this system of disregard and disrespect to non-human beings exists there will always be the threat of further subjugation. for another, minoritiy-centered takes on the subject, read "the dreaded comparison: human and animal slavery" by marjorie spiegel.

    and finally, there is the food-supply issue. why some people have an abundance of food and others have none is a complex issue, related in part, at least, to our use of suitable crop farming land for the grazing of animal herds. now, i hear a lot of people argue that, well, do you just want the animals to starve? well, no. the things is, we breed animals at unnatural rates into unnaturally large herds, feed them large amounts of grain and legume crops all of their life, and then kill them for the meat. it probably goes without saying that for every pound of meat that we get off of that cow, we have fed that cow ::at least:: ten pounds of grain. chances are, without us having bred that cow through forced, mechanized insemination, it would not have existed in the first place. because some privledged people want to eat 1 ton of meat, we make an animal through artificial means and then feed that animal 10 tons of grain to get said ton of meat. i also know that much of the grain fed to animals is too low-grade for human-consumption...however, the land that was used to grow said feed was not to low-grade to grow a large abundance of food, which could have been, with a different harvesting technique, been perfectly suitable for human consumption.

    how is this a feminist issue? well, firstly and most obviously feminist, it is widely documented by many scholars and orgainzations that when food supply is low, women and children suffer first. secondly, and this ties in with the who gets considered human argument, when world food supplies are low, tellingly is is third world nations that get hit with the burden of this. the ghost of imperialism is strong, and not to be too facetious, much like the ghost of lord voldermort in harry potter, is very possibly not quite really dead. when it is accepted to treat some beings with less respect than others, it hurts feminism.

    so yeah, very long-winded, but like i've said, there are a few books on the subject, so i wanted to be sure to cover all of the many salient points. as for people here who eat meat, this is not an attack on you. just as people frequently share their reasons for eating meat with me, i share mine with other people. i am not trying to convert anyone, just share a not oft-heard viewpoint. as for hunting to get around these issues, i know many hunterts and i am not so sure that the way it is done in this country (typically...you, of course, might be the exception) is so very respectful to animals. plus, i hate guns (and really, most weapons).

    and, full disclosure... i eat dairy. i'd like not to, but life is not always so cut-amd-dry even though critical theory is ;)

  4. #3
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    I was curious about the vegetarian/feminism argument too. I'm a veggie but I hadn't thought of it in terms of feminism at all. Thank you for the thoughtful explanation!

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    Yes, thank you. I don't see myself going veg any time soon, but those are some really interesting arguments, and you articulated them beautifully :).

    And don't feel bad about the dairy. Without dairy, there is no cheese (soy cheese is no substitute). I discovered in seventh grade that I have a dairy allergy and have to limit my dairy consumption, so I pretty much gave up drinking milk altogether so I could still have cheese. Cheese is love.

    Alison, who just ate a plate of nachos for dinner

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    I understand the dairy thing (kind of) But... chickens make eggs. On their own. Without any help from even roosters.

  7. #6
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    Quote Originally Posted by Lainie
    I understand the dairy thing (kind of) But... chickens make eggs. On their own. Without any help from even roosters.
    Taking away the fact that females are the providers of these foods, you can still find feminist arguments for vegetarianism, as slowgraffiti220 provided.

    In fact, my feminist reasons for vegetarianism have nothing to do with exploitation of female animals, though maybe they should. My feminist reasons concern the ideal of ending world hunger, of redistributing food and resources equally, of not spending so much freaking grain on animals, animals that get abused. It's like looking at a math equation that gives you an awful headache. It's all terribly connected.

  8. #7
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    Re: feminist arguments for vegetarianism?

    slowgraffitti listed some excellent points. but if you are interested to look into it further you should read carol adams - she initiated feminist vegetarisim.

  9. #8
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    Re: feminist arguments for vegetarianism?

    Quote Originally Posted by kindarana
    This was brought up in another thread that of course I can't find now... but what are the feminist arguments for being vegetarian?

    I can see how there is a feminist argument for going from vegetarian to vegan - all the products like milk and eggs are made by the female animals - but plain vegetarian?

    I don't intend this to be a "justify yourself" accusation, I'm just curious.
    You should check out a book called, "The Sexual Politics of Meat: A Feminist-Vegetarian Critical Theory". I have this book and it's quite interesting. The ISBN is 0826411843 if you're searching for it.

    I would pull out a few factoids for you, unfortunately I've already packed it in a box (I'm moving soon!).


 

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