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 Post subject: feminism and veganism
PostPosted: Sat Dec 01, 2012 5:01 pm 
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i've been thinking a lot about the links between feminism and veganism lately. it's clear that veganism can be a very strong critique against the patriarchal dominance that is not only symbolically associated with meat but that is also inherent in the industrialized food system.

just wondering if feminism played a big part in becoming vegan for any of you? i would love to hear some stories.


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 Post subject: Re: feminism and veganism
PostPosted: Sat Dec 01, 2012 6:32 pm 
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It was not even remotely a factor for me. But while I was deciding to become vegan I read an article/blog post that lister the top 5 reasons for becoming Vegan, and one was that it was a "feminist issue" because of how it effects female chows and chickens. It seemed like a thin argument for me, that for some reason we should be more concerned for the female animals effected as opposed to male ones.

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 Post subject: Re: feminism and veganism
PostPosted: Sat Dec 01, 2012 11:41 pm 
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Feminism didn't really have anything to do with my becoming vegan, but these days I have a special spot for dairy cows as it relates to our shared innate right to control our reproduction and to love and care for our offspring.


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 Post subject: Re: feminism and veganism
PostPosted: Sat Dec 01, 2012 11:43 pm 
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Moon wrote:
It was not even remotely a factor for me. But while I was deciding to become vegan I read an article/blog post that lister the top 5 reasons for becoming Vegan, and one was that it was a "feminist issue" because of how it effects female chows and chickens. It seemed like a thin argument for me, that for some reason we should be more concerned for the female animals effected as opposed to male ones.

*listed *cows

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 Post subject: Re: feminism and veganism
PostPosted: Sat Dec 01, 2012 11:58 pm 
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P.S. the person to read on this is Carol Adams, this is her shtick. http://www.caroljadams.com/


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 Post subject: Re: feminism and veganism
PostPosted: Sun Dec 02, 2012 2:49 am 
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Ariann wrote:
P.S. the person to read on this is Carol Adams, this is her shtick. http://www.caroljadams.com/



I liked what I could read of The Sexual Politics Of Meat, but it was extremely triggering when discussing how abusive partners will use pets to hurt their victims, so I never finished it. But I think she made really good links between how women are dehumanized and animals are feminized, and how vegetarianism is scorned because its considered feminine.

It was actually when I decided to go vegan and started talking on vegan message boards and a particular IRC chat that I got more into feminism. Before that while I did think sexism was a problem, I was under the impression that feminism was something that happened before I was born and there weren't any contemporary feminists around. I'll always have veganism to thank for exposing me to feminist writers and theories.

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 Post subject: Re: feminism and veganism
PostPosted: Sun Dec 02, 2012 5:21 pm 
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c.dot wrote:
i've been thinking a lot about the links between feminism and veganism lately. it's clear that veganism can be a very strong critique against the patriarchal dominance that is not only symbolically associated with meat but that is also inherent in the industrialized food system.
I'm sorry, how is it clear? I don't see how the consumption of animal products has anything to do with cultural attitudes to gender.

Moon wrote:
But while I was deciding to become vegan I read an article/blog post that lister the top 5 reasons for becoming Vegan, and one was that it was a "feminist issue" because of how it effects female chows and chickens. It seemed like a thin argument for me, that for some reason we should be more concerned for the female animals effected as opposed to male ones.
Well, I suppose more female animals suffer because they are more useful in terms of milk and baby production. A handful of males can provide young with a bajillion females. The remainder get killed in their infancy. I don't see how that is a feminist issue, either...

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 Post subject: Re: feminism and veganism
PostPosted: Sun Dec 02, 2012 10:23 pm 
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While it wasn't a factor when I went vegan (I was young and raised in a fairly conservative household so I didn't really confront or get confronted by feminism until after I went vegan) I definitely view this as a feminist issue.

How is it not? We exploit female reproduction and bodies on a much larger scale than male bodies when we eat animal products. It's against choice to take a cow's baby away, and it's against choice to male them conceive and bear offspring.


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 Post subject: Re: feminism and veganism
PostPosted: Sun Dec 02, 2012 11:47 pm 
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Pamela wrote:
How is it not? We exploit female reproduction and bodies on a much larger scale than male bodies when we eat animal products.

but i think that's because most males are killed pretty quickly on large-scale farms, whether you're talking about cattle or chickens or whatever. the ones that aren't killed as newborns are generally slaughtered for meat not long after. it's not long-term exploitation in the way female dairy cows or laying hens experience it, i guess, but it's not a system that's biased in favor of males. they don't have more or better choices.

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 Post subject: Re: feminism and veganism
PostPosted: Mon Dec 03, 2012 12:10 am 
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I can see the two being connected because both veganism and feminism are choices to buck the status quo, and to consider what is right rather than what is. Both are positions which respect the right of each individual to seek out a life of his/her choosing, and live that life to its fullest potential. But I also don't see feminism as a women's issue, but rather as an issue of human rights. I think it is just as important that I raise my son as a feminist as my daughter because it opens options for him as well. And hopefully it means he won't be a jerk to his future partners regardless of their gender.


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 Post subject: Re: feminism and veganism
PostPosted: Mon Dec 03, 2012 3:38 am 
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acr wrote:
Pamela wrote:
How is it not? We exploit female reproduction and bodies on a much larger scale than male bodies when we eat animal products.

but i think that's because most males are killed pretty quickly on large-scale farms, whether you're talking about cattle or chickens or whatever. the ones that aren't killed as newborns are generally slaughtered for meat not long after. it's not long-term exploitation in the way female dairy cows or laying hens experience it, i guess, but it's not a system that's biased in favor of males. they don't have more or better choices.
Which is part of my point. In addition, the choice here is an economic one. Males are killed because they cost money with less, or no, return. Females are useful both for producing milk and young (whereas it's often the case that one male fertilizes a whole herd). It's not hot-blooded prejudice, it's stone cold pragmatism.

They aren't exploited because of their sex, they're exploited because of their species. It's just the case that there's more of a return for female animals, and males are practically valueless.

Please don't take this as me being anti-feminist or pro-exploitation, because I'm not. I just don't agree with the logic behind your argument and it's in my nature to probe inquisitively.

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 Post subject: Re: feminism and veganism
PostPosted: Mon Dec 03, 2012 2:47 pm 
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I think DEG summed it up pretty well.


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 Post subject: Re: feminism and veganism
PostPosted: Mon Dec 03, 2012 3:38 pm 
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The link between feminism and veganism didn't inspire me to go vegan, but it sure has helped me know that it's the right choice and stay vegan. I actually did my senior thesis on the whole relationship between veg*nism and feminism (I even used the PPK as a source!!).
This is going back a few years, but I remember I had my paper talk about the common reasons for going veg*n and how can be read as a list of feminist issues
-There's the exploitation of female bodies of course (and, in turn, the males wouldn't be killed if there wasn't this system of exploitation of the females)
-social justice issues: workers' conditions in factories
-environmental/sustainability concerns
-the basic idea that there exists another being that we are allowed to control/exploit.
-health: some studies showed that eating meat increases the risk of cancer in women much more than men)
-protest: I, for one, feel that veganism is just another way in which I question the "normal"

My real paper had more explanation and proper citations of course, but that's just an idea.

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 Post subject: Re: feminism and veganism
PostPosted: Mon Dec 03, 2012 6:53 pm 
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I absolutely believe that feminism and veganism have a link, and furthermore became a vegan because I felt certain ethical arguments about veganism ring true with my feminist inclinations. Reading Carol J. Adams definitely influenced me and I still feel that a lot of what she says is very personally relevant, twelve (almost thirteen) years later.

In a very general sense, I link veganism to feminism just as I've later linked both those two movements to other social justice struggles in that they all concern very broad issues of power, institutionalized inequality, privilege, etc. For example- the concentrated greed and entitlement of one person or one small group of people can simultaneously be responsible for the factory farm that puts animals in misery, the environmental havoc resulting in manure runoff from the factory farm, the health hazards that low-income employees and community members face as a result of exposure to the factory farm, etc.

Talking specifics, how long you got? Women have certainly come a long way (at least in some respects), but look at not-so-recent history and you see an enormous venn diagram of oppression where women and animals overlap. Owned as property? Check. Inarticulate chattel with no free will to speak of? Check. Believed to have no soul? Check.

I'm not saying anything as simplistic as 'feminism and AR are ONE AND THE SAAAME!' or 'women and animals are ONE AND THE SAAAME!' What I am saying, however, is knowing how lucky I am to live where & when I do, why wouldn't I share my privilege to help out another entity that is living under oppression?

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 Post subject: Re: feminism and veganism
PostPosted: Mon Dec 03, 2012 7:29 pm 
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i think the idea of feminism and veganism sharing some common themes is quite different from the idea of veganism being a feminist issue. i mean, if you're going to conflate them on the basis of similar oppression, then veganism must also be a race issue, or a class issue, or a child labor issue.

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 Post subject: Re: feminism and veganism
PostPosted: Mon Dec 03, 2012 7:59 pm 
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acr wrote:
i think the idea of feminism and veganism sharing some common themes is quite different from the idea of veganism being a feminist issue. i mean, if you're going to conflate them on the basis of similar oppression, then veganism must also be a race issue, or a class issue, or a child labor issue.


Which is why I used words like 'general' and 'broad' in my response. I don't have the time or the mental capacity or the reference material at hand at the moment to form a more specific, cogent response to this thread, so I figured I would do us all a favor and not attempt one until I'm ready.

I also didn't see anything in the OP or my response about veganism specifically being a feminist issue, so I'm not sure why I'm being called upon to argue that point.

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 Post subject: Re: feminism and veganism
PostPosted: Mon Dec 03, 2012 8:39 pm 
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Erika Soyf*cker wrote:
acr wrote:
i think the idea of feminism and veganism sharing some common themes is quite different from the idea of veganism being a feminist issue. i mean, if you're going to conflate them on the basis of similar oppression, then veganism must also be a race issue, or a class issue, or a child labor issue.


Which is why I used words like 'general' and 'broad' in my response. I don't have the time or the mental capacity or the reference material at hand at the moment to form a more specific, cogent response to this thread, so I figured I would do us all a favor and not attempt one until I'm ready.

I also didn't see anything in the OP or my response about veganism specifically being a feminist issue, so I'm not sure why I'm being called upon to argue that point.

i wasn't calling upon you to argue anything; i just posted after you. there are other posts in this thread that refer to the idea of veganism and animal rights being specifically feminist issues.

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 Post subject: Re: feminism and veganism
PostPosted: Mon Dec 03, 2012 9:42 pm 
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I think there is definite crossover between feminism and veganism, especially when looking at how meat is sexualized in advertisements. FootFace has a big collection of sexy meat on Suicide Food!

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 Post subject: Re: feminism and veganism
PostPosted: Tue Dec 04, 2012 4:35 pm 
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acr wrote:
Erika Soyf*cker wrote:
acr wrote:
i think the idea of feminism and veganism sharing some common themes is quite different from the idea of veganism being a feminist issue. i mean, if you're going to conflate them on the basis of similar oppression, then veganism must also be a race issue, or a class issue, or a child labor issue.


Which is why I used words like 'general' and 'broad' in my response. I don't have the time or the mental capacity or the reference material at hand at the moment to form a more specific, cogent response to this thread, so I figured I would do us all a favor and not attempt one until I'm ready.

I also didn't see anything in the OP or my response about veganism specifically being a feminist issue, so I'm not sure why I'm being called upon to argue that point.

i wasn't calling upon you to argue anything; i just posted after you. there are other posts in this thread that refer to the idea of veganism and animal rights being specifically feminist issues.


I said that it had been originally presented to me as a "feminist issue" in an article, which I didn't agree with, but I totally see the connections presented. Sorry for throwing the wording in there since it didn't actually come from any PPK people! The writer of the article I mentioned had brought it up in such a way that really bothered me and over simplified the issue.

DrakeRedcrest, I didn't even think about the use of women in a lot of meaty advertising, that is a good point. Acr, I think you really hit the nail on the head.

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 Post subject: Re: feminism and veganism
PostPosted: Tue Dec 04, 2012 8:57 pm 
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Feminism absolutely influenced me to be vegan. As a white, middle-class woman in the U.S., it was way easier for me to see gender-based oppression, to and identify with feel passionately about feminist issues, as a teenager just coming into a set of politicized worldviews, than it was for me to see other forms of institutionalized oppression or privilege. Once I understood how privilege and oppression operate, it was much easier for me to apply those concepts to lots of other types of oppression or marginalization, including in regards to species, but also race, class, and lots of other things.

Additionally, my very strong belief in bodily autonomy originates from a very feminist place, but I now apply that to animals (male or female) as well. That is a super huge part of both feminism and veganism for me. Also the Alice Walker quote, “The animals of the world exist for their own reasons. They were not made for humans any more than black people were made for white, or women created for men,” was part of the push for me, as someone who spends a lot of time thinking about both gender and race a lot, to go from vegetarian to vegan.

I think I mostly went vegetarian for environmental reasons but vegan because of my feminist values.


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 Post subject: Re: feminism and veganism
PostPosted: Sun Dec 09, 2012 11:02 am 
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I don't think veganism and feminism are more tightly linked than any other oppression issues. but I guess you could call me a speciecist, as I basically agree with what AgentCooper wrote in the "Effective vegan messaging" thread:

AgentCooper wrote:
For an example, this speech does that very well: it compares human and animal behaviors without discriminating one or the other. It gives personality to animals without de-humanizing humans. And as a human being, I find it quite gratifying! So if you have half an hour of free time, I think that this video is worth watching.

The actual speech begins at 5:10, so skip the annoying part at the beginning ;)

To briefly put things into context: this is Robert Sapolsky. His beard kicks asparagus!
He also happens to be a professor of neurological and biological sciences at Stanford University. In this video, Sapolsky spoke about the uniqueness of humans in relation to the rest of the animal world: what makes us less unique, and what makes us unique-er. How we share a lot of behaviors with other animals, and at the same time express them in a completely unprecedented way.



I couldn't find a transcript of the speech, but it follows that pattern:
Robert Sapolsky wrote:
    1. Aggression: we are not the only one that kills members of our own species in an organized manner. But humans are unique as they are capable of passive aggression, looking the other way, and damning with faint praise...

    2. Theory of mind: I'm able of realizing that somebody else has different thoughts than me. So do individuals of other species. But we, humans, have the secondary theory of mind, which means we understand that different persons know different informations, and that someone knows something that someone else don't.

    3. The Golden Rule: many animals follow the "Tit for Tat reciprocity". But we are able of reciprocity in a particular way, depending of our desire and values.

    4. Empathy: many animals express empathy, especially for innocent individuals who don't deserve what is happening to them. But human can express empathy in an extended and abstract way.

    5. Pleasure: animals release dopamine in anticipation of a reward, and the more uncertain the reward, the more dopamine is released. Human are unique in that they can anticipate a reward for a very long time, and are able of holding on something that is very uncertain. For an example, we hope (during our whole lifetime) for a good afterlife.

    6. Culture: animals are able of cultural transmission (of tool-making and use, of vocalisations, of group temperament, ...). But humans culture is unprecedentedly complex.

    Sapolsky concludes that the uniqueness of humans resides in the fact that we live in contradiction: "the less it is possible that something can be, the most it must be". This is, according to Sapolsky, the property that makes us not only unique-er, but unique-est among the other species.


I do think that there are very big differences when it comes to animals vs. humans. And to me, feminism is an issue which require the "unique to humans" qualitites, as it is a matter of some pretty complex structural issues.

That being said, to me, veganism is a matter of rejecting the idea that humans can do whatever they want. I don't consider life holy or sacred, but I don't think it's a fundamental right to use or abuse other people or creatures as we want, just because we want it. Which is something I think is applicable both when it comes to veganism and feminism, just like it is with environmentalism, classism, sexism, heterosexism and any other oppression-issue.
So while they are thematically similar, I do not think feminism and veganism are too tightly knit together. I don't care if it's female animals that get abused and killed, because the gender roles are, to me, not applicable in the animal world in the same way that they are in the human world. And I don't see the idea in judging what's worse (female chickens being kept in captivity vs. male chickens being blended alive for instance), as it is all brutal, unnecessary and cruel. Not to mention completely avoidable.

All of that being said, I do think that there are more feminist vegans. But I think it's probably because it's easier to recognize structural issues and oppression when you have already recognized it in regards to other issues (so, vegans would have an easier time realizing that feminism is important and vice versa). That is just my hypothesis, though.


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 Post subject: Re: feminism and veganism
PostPosted: Mon Dec 10, 2012 3:29 am 
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That was really well said, smoothie! I completely agree.

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 Post subject: Re: feminism and veganism
PostPosted: Mon Dec 10, 2012 11:10 am 
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Shy Mox wrote:
It was actually when I decided to go vegan and started talking on vegan message boards and a particular IRC chat that I got more into feminism. Before that while I did think sexism was a problem, I was under the impression that feminism was something that happened before I was born and there weren't any contemporary feminists around. I'll always have veganism to thank for exposing me to feminist writers and theories.


smoothie wrote:
I don't think veganism and feminism are more tightly linked than any other oppression issues. ... I do think that there are more feminist vegans. But I think it's probably because it's easier to recognize structural issues and oppression when you have already recognized it in regards to other issues (so, vegans would have an easier time realizing that feminism is important and vice versa). That is just my hypothesis, though.


This has been my experience.

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 Post subject: Re: feminism and veganism
PostPosted: Tue Dec 11, 2012 8:08 pm 
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My feminism includes all social justice struggles, so veganism is a natural connection.


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