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The Pornography of Meat Paperback

ISBN-13: 978-0826416469 ISBN-10: 0826416462 Edition: 0th

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Product Details

  • Paperback: 192 pages
  • Publisher: Bloomsbury Academic (October 14, 2004)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0826416462
  • ISBN-13: 978-0826416469
  • Product Dimensions: 9.1 x 6.1 x 0.5 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 9.1 ounces
  • Average Customer Review: 2.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (13 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,107,105 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

The author of The Sexual Politics of Meat returns with an emotionally charged volume based on her traveling lecture-slide show. Adams, a crusader for the rights of women and animals (or, as she calls them, "nonhumans") charges that both have long been portrayed as consumable, mouth-watering slabs of meat, and she provides graphic backup for her argument in the form of advertisements, signs, photographs and illustrations (e.g., "Strip Tease," reads a billboard for a steak house). The advertising industry is the primary culprit in the "thingification" of women and nonhumans, she says, an argument whose first part will come as no surprise to anyone familiar with Jean Kilbourne's pioneering critiques of the industry's portrayal of women. That advertisers often exploit women's bodies to sell products and that most factory farms treat animals abominably are incontrovertible facts. But Adams's use of familiar hierarchical oppositions (woman is "not man" and animals are "not human," with the "not" always being subordinate) to argue against such industries sometimes undermines her points, by reinforcing, rather than subverting, such binary constructs. Advertising is patriarchy's "self-promotion," she says, and we must "Stop consuming nonhumans. Stop consuming women and children." Adams is an admirable zealot, and it's too bad that this book doesn't include any kind of post-feminist sensibility to add depth and nuance, because it can wind up sounding shrill, strident and outdated. While Adams's chick/chick parallels, among other arguments, are certainly provocative, some readers may struggle with her assertion that "the line between the pornographer's works and the actuality of female meat animals' lives may be nonexistent." The 200 black-and-white illustrations are startling, and perhaps the book's best feature-they document broad spectrums of culture and speak to powerful trends of exploitation. Adams's arguments captivate, but when her prose sometimes jumps erratically from one critique to another, the book can feels too much like the slide show narrative that inspired it, or a free-association protest.
Copyright 2003 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

Review

"Carol Adams offers a philosophical critique of advertisements that is innovative, even startling, yet which readers cannot help but acknowledge as her book unfolds....Carol Adams' work is analytical, critical, and shows remarkably original and independent thinking. Adams has witnessed and described what the rest of us fail to notice, and backs up her observations with scores of photographs. She unfolds he grizzly discoveries with a wry sense of humor, and sends readers out into the world with a fresh vision—a vision that pierces through the images on the magazine rack, in the frozen meat section of the grocery store, on billboards, or in television advertisements. Adams' work heightens awareness, shifts thinking, and has the power to alter behavior—what sort of companies do I want to support with my hard earned wages? Adams' analysis of advertisements is a chilling vision into the world we all see without seeing. She is right: readers are likely to be sickened by the realities she unveils. And very likely to feel aroused—aroused to new ways of seeing, understanding, and shopping."

Philosophy Now, July/August 2006

(Lisa Kemmerer)

"Carol Adams offers a philosophical critique of advertisements that is innovative, even startling, yet which readers cannot help but acknowledge as her book unfolds....Carol Adams’ work is analytical, critical, and shows remarkably original and independent thinking. Adams has witnessed and described what the rest of us fail to notice, and backs up her observations with scores of photographs. She unfolds he grizzly discoveries with a wry sense of humor, and sends readers out into the world with a fresh vision—a vision that pierces through the images on the magazine rack, in the frozen meat section of the grocery store, on billboards, or in television advertisements. Adams’ work heightens awareness, shifts thinking, and has the power to alter behavior—what sort of companies do I want to support with my hard earned wages? Adams’ analysis of advertisements is a chilling vision into the world we all see without seeing. She is right: readers are likely to be sickened by the realities she unveils. And very likely to feel aroused—aroused to new ways of seeing, understanding, and shopping."

Philosophy Now, July/August 2006

(Sanford Lakoff)

More About the Author

I'm the author of The Sexual Politics of Meat: A Feminist-Vegetarian Critical Theory. It's been called "ground-breaking" and "pioneering" (interesting how our description of books draws from our invasive relationship to the land). Many say it is an underground classic, which I guess means that lots of people know and love it, but it goes unnoticed by the dominant media. Of course, when it first came out, that was slightly different. Then, right-wing reviewers held it up as the latest example of academic excess and political correctness, which was funny to me, because I am not an academic. I used to teach a course I developed at Perkins School of Theology at Southern Methodist University on "Sexual and Domestic Violence: Theological and Pastoral Issues" -- but very infrequently. Basically, for as long as I have been an adult, I have been an advocate, an activist, someone trying to figure out how do we transform this d*#! world that is built on inequality.

I have published more than 100 articles in journals, books, and magazines on the issues of vegetarianism and veganism, animal advocacy, domestic violence and sexual abuse. I am particularly interested in the interconnections among forms of violence against human and nonhuman animals, writing, for instance, about why woman-batterers harm animals and the implications of this (it's in my book Animals and Women). Besides advancing scholarship and developing theory in the area of interlocking oppressions, I have created a series of books that address the vegetarian/vegan experience: Living Among Meat Eaters: The Vegetarian Survival Guide, Help! My Child Stopped Eating Meat! and The Inner Art of Vegetarianism.

I've worked to bring back into print Howard Williams's nineteenth-century classic text on vegetarianism, The Ethics of Diet. I have contributed prefaces to important vegetarian, vegan, and animal defense books and discovered an eighteenth-century vegetarian work that had never entered the vegetarian tradition.

Because I am so deeply moved by my relationship with animals, I have authored books of prayers for animals for both adults and children.

I am excited that the 20th anniversary edition of The Sexual Politics of Meat will be published next February.

I also write about literary topics, including two "Bedside" books: one on Frankenstein and one on Jane Austen. I am finishing a memoir on caregiving and reading.

Customer Reviews

Paragraphs jump from one subject to another making no sense at all.
P. Smy
To be concise, the book is interesting but it is chaotic and appears to regress feminism back to the negative stereotype of the anger femiminst.
B. C. Carr
She can't appreciate beauty, and seems to think if a man likes something, it must be bad.
P. Henderson

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

30 of 32 people found the following review helpful By Karen Dawn on December 8, 2003
Format: Hardcover
This more easily digestible offering from Carol J. Adams, furthers the provocative argument put forward in "The Sexual Politics of Meat" -- that meat eating is an intrinsic part of a patriarchal society.
Adam's tells us,
"Before someone can be consumed or used, she has to be seen as consumable, as usable, as a something instead of a someone."
In other words, in order to enjoy pornography, we must forget that the body we are watching is that of a full person who might want to be somewhere other than in front of the camera, naked. And in order to enjoy meat, we must not think of the life of the animal who would rather be out in a field guarding her offspring, than on our plate. Rather, we must think of both as consumable objects.
The book is full of visual images that make that link for us. For example, on page 14, we see a roasted chicken, photographed from above, wings crossed behind what should be the head but is the severed neck. A bikini has been painted on the carcass, so we have the impression of a sunbathing woman, roasting in the sun. A link is clearly being drawn between two consumable objects.
Adams shares many fascinating images from popular culture in which animals are feminized and women are animalized. Sometimes the analogies are clear, sometimes I find them too much of a stretch. But the pictures and arguments are all thought-provoking. 'The Pornography of Meat' is short and easy to read. It would make a great holiday gift for anybody with an interest in feminism.
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34 of 39 people found the following review helpful By Kelly A. Garbato on June 9, 2003
Format: Hardcover
"The Pornography of Meat" seems largely to be a condensed version of Adams's earlier volume, "The Sexual Politics of Meat". The general premise is the same, as are many of her arguments; however, "Pornography" is much shorter and easier to wade through.
With its informal writing style, "Pornography" reminds me of a journal-slash-scrapbook as opposed to a more scholarly piece of literature. Adams's writing style can be somewhat disconcerting; she shifts gears rapidly, leaving the reader with the feeling that she's jumping from topic to topic without fully resolving (many of) them. Her arguments are sometimes so abstract and theoretical that they seem enigmatic. Additionally, Adams does provide references, but not in an especially organized manner; as a result, it's hard to tell what information she pulled from which sources.
Don't get me wrong, "Pornography" is not without its redeeming qualities. Every few pages, Adams does hit the reader w/an excellent point, making all the other jargon worthwhile. The pictures (and there are many!) are the book's single best feature - but unfortunately they're all reproduced in black and white, many of them shrunk down to a fraction of their normal size so that the critical details are obscured.
One more minor gripe: as one of the leading AR organizations, PETA bears the brunt of anti-ARA criticisms, not all of them invalid. Though Adams does mention PETA's "exploitation" of women in their ads, the discussion is unfortunately very brief. As PETA is seen as the Church of the AR movement (and leader Newkirk as its Pope), I thought a more detailed discussion would have been appropriate (after all, what's more ironic than sexism in an organization designed to eradicate "ism"s?).
Read more ›
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37 of 51 people found the following review helpful By P. Smy on October 29, 2003
Format: Hardcover
As a vegetarian, and as someone who is interested in media and the use of it, I had high hopes for this book. They were sadly not met. The idea is good, but the writing is horrible. Adams is all over the place. Paragraphs jump from one subject to another making no sense at all. It is very hard to follow. And there are few references - instead of foot or end notes Adams uses 'citations' at the back of the book and the reader is left to guess what exactly was cited on the page.
There is such a wealth of material available on this topic, and in the hands of a better writer this book would have been truly amazing.
Don't buy it.
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2 of 3 people found the following review helpful By B. C. Carr on December 11, 2009
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
This is an interesting book. The theory behind it no doubt has a place in our society. However, the evidence used to support this theory is ad hoc at best. As a result there is no limit on the range that Adams attempts to apply her world view. The chapters lack focus as jumps from topic to topic. I would have like a little bit more unity and building up to the individual chapter focus. The other issue is the books lack of theory that works towards etiology. She does not describe an explanation behind her theory and somewhat bashes evolutionary psychologist David Buss who would provide an underlying theory. To be concise, the book is interesting but it is chaotic and appears to regress feminism back to the negative stereotype of the anger femiminst. There are better choices out there on both feminism and animal rights.
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By Ada Knitter on October 30, 2009
Format: Paperback
The pornography of meat not only adresses the need for intersectional analysis of dominance cultures but does so gracefully, in a historical context and with a lot litterary style. The arguments are well built-up and Carol shows much knowledge in feminist and post-colonial theory. The book covers much ground and returns to the same firm arguments that make it a complete work. When ze evokes Freud that does it for me though, and on single occastions the analysis is one-sided to the extent that I simply feel that there should be an explanation for why two ideas from the same pool seem to be almost contradicting each-other; you can't have the cake and eat it too! But for the most part the book is magnificent and presents its case very simply and adequate. Probably for those who are very easy on reading books which they don't agree on, and people already feminists and vegetarian; for the latter, it should make perfect sense from my perspective.
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