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The Sexual Politics of Meat: A Feminist-Vegetarian Critical Theory Paperback – March, 1991
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From Publishers Weekly
Many cultures equate meat-eating with virility, and in some societies women offer men the "best" (i.e., bloodiest) food at the expense of their own nutritional needs. Building upon these observations, feminist activist Adams detects intimate links between the slaughter of animals and violence directed against women. She ties the prevalence of a carnivorous diet to patriarchal attitudes, such as the idea that the end justifies the means, and the objectification of others. In Frankenstein , Mary Shelley made her Creature a vegetarian, a point Adams relates to the Romantics' radical politics and to visionary novels by Charlotte Perkins Gilman, Dorothy Bryant and others. Adams, who teaches at Perkins School of Theology, Dallas, sketches the alliance of vegetarianism and feminism in antivivisection activism, the suffrage movement and 20th-century pacifism. Her original, provocative book makes a major contribution to the debate on animal rights.
Copyright 1989 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to an alternate Paperback edition.
From Library Journal
Writer/activist/university lecturer Adams's important and provocative work compares myths about meat-eating with myths about manliness; and explores the literary, scientific, and social connections between meat-eating, male dominance, and war. Drawing on such diverse sources as butchering texts, cookbooks, Victorian "hygiene" manuals, and Alice Walker, the author provides a compelling case for inextricably linking feminist and vegetarian theory. This book is likely to both inspire and enrage readers across the political spectrum: we learn, for example, that veal was served at Gloria Steinem's 50th birthday, as well as of the atrocities of the slaughterhouse. One wishes Adams had been more careful about documenting some of her claims--her contention, for instance, that early humans were entirely vegetarian, requires scholarly support. Nevertheless this is recommended for both public and academic collections.
- Beverly Miller, Boise State Univ. Lib., Id.
Copyright 1990 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to an alternate Paperback edition.
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Top customer reviews
I love Carol J. Adams and I plan on reading more of her work for years to come. (She tweeted me and followed me on Twitter!!!)
Subtitled "A Feminist-Vegetarian Critical Theory", this small book is no small work. Carol J. Adams was/is a pioneer in connecting words with images; Adams links words; like contexts with meanings, power to subordination, and humanity to kindness. This book is surely, but not only, a feminist treatise. It is also about the non-human animals which we debase with words. (Think, for example, how calling a female human " b**** " is actually a slander to females of two species at once...)
Adams addresses the demeaning of women and animals as well as societal correctives. I guess I need to read the book again because I don't recall if she addresses the effect of sexual politics on boys and men. How many PE coaches have told young males "You run like a girl"? How many boys and men have been called a " p**** ", again slandering females from two species at once. I've been challenged with "How do you handle having a woman for a boss?" But because of having been influenced by Carol J. Adams' writing, I do see the damage done to boys and men in these ways. And I see the secondary damage to girls and women, by insinuation, with such words.
The popular cable show "Mad Men" does a great job of illustrating the decade in which my mind developed a world view with frameworks for the treatment of women and animals. The show illustrates well the common assumptions of the early 1960's which I have to this day not completely overcome. There is a part of me that believes the writers of Mad Men have read The Sexual Politics of Meat, and that they are showing us how it was then while we ask ourselves "How different, if at all, are things now?"
Read, or join me in a re-read of,The Sexual Politics of Meat. Give a copy to a friend, to your library, to your church, school, or office. Not sexy. But it matters!
Unless you're a student, or teacher, of feminist literature, it is somewhat of a slog to get through this book. "The Sexual Politics of Meat" is mainly an analysis of feminist literature and most of the works to which Adams refers will seem obscure to the average reader.
On the other hand, this book is considered a classic in the veg*n genre and for good reason. Adams artfully conveys a number of important ideas, chief among them that meat-eating is strongly interrelated to other forms of oppression.
As she puts it, "Meat eating is to animals what white racism is to people of color, anti-Semitism is to Jewish people, homophobia is to gay men and lesbians, and woman hating is to women. All are oppressed by a culture that does not want to assimilate them fully on their grounds and with rights."
Amen to that.
As a Jew, it is upsetting to me that most of my co-religionists do not see the obvious parallels between the oppression and exploitation of animals, which is inherent in meat-eating, and the oppression and exploitation of Jews throughout almost all of our history.
And although I'm a male, I'm disappointed that the feminist movement largely ignores the exploitation of female organs in the dairy and egg industries.
Adams gives voice to these concerns, particularly the latter one.