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Woman the Hunter Hardcover – May 1, 1997
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From Kirkus Reviews
Mixing autobiographical reflection and scholarly analysis, a woman hunter examines the cultural history of hunting, brilliantly challenging fundamental assumptions about femininity, masculinity, and the relation of humans to the natural world. Noting the increase in women afield, Stange (Religion and Women's Studies/Skidmore Coll.) is less interested in explaining why they hunt than why more don't. She analyzes anthropological theories of hunting: The discredited ``Man the Hunter'' theory and its feminist opposite, ``Woman the Gatherer,'' are rightly criticized for perpetuating tired gender stereotypes and minimizing woman's historical role as predator. Stange examines the stubborn grip these theories hold on popular and academic imaginations and persuasively details the well-meaning but ultimately destructive way people anthropomorphize nature. Though she claims ``implications far broader than an argument with feminism,'' it's ecofeminism (which equates hunting with rape) with which she has the biggest bone to pick. Stange charges that ecofeminism romanticizes nature and casts women as victims, absolving them of culpability in environmental depredation, from the responsibility that all humans ``are up to our elbows in blood.'' Hunting, on the other hand, confronts ``the painful paradox of life itself: Some of us live because others die.'' This ``blood knowledge''--a spiritual interconnectedness most often manifested as affection and respect for quarry--results in a sense of mutual obligation between people and nature that can't be bought at the grocery. One caveat: Stange's hypocritical stereotyping of men as macho males threatened by women hunters is troubling, considering many--herself included- -were introduced to the sport by fathers and husbands. Though the Field & Stream crowd might balk at extended forays into scholarly jargon and feminist theory, Stange grapples head-on with a central philosophical question largely unanswered by sporting literature: Why hunt? -- Copyright ©1997, Kirkus Associates, LP. All rights reserved.
A moving, disturbing, and bold retelling of the myth of Diana for the late twentieth century that deftly turns around our assumptions about women's relationships to life, death, and the call of the wild. --Ruth Behar, author of The Vulnerable Observer
"Heartfelt, powerful, and scholarly, Woman the Hunter torches two of the oldest myths of our culture: the aggressive male who destroys nature and the passive female who nurtures it. What Mary Zeiss Stange erects in their place--woman who don't shirk from participating in nature's cycles of life and death--is surely one of the saner paths toward a healthier earth." --Ted Kerasote, author of Bloodties: Nature, Culture, and the Hunt --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
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Many women I know are farmer-activists and some have received positive press in The New York Times and other media outlets. Slaughter, hunting, and butchering workshops led by them are selling out in places like New York City. Most people are positive and joyful about these- happy to engage with their food and to not be dependent on industrial monocultures.
The post-vegan feminist culture has come to the fore. When I lead butchering workshops, many of the attendees are women who formerly subscribed to the vegan ecofeminist paradigm. Most have abandoned it because of their health suffering, but others have told me that that after volunteering on farms or at nature preserves they simply couldn't subscribe to a philosophy so alienated from nature. I often recommend this book and Lierre Keith's The Vegetarian Myth in their journey to heal their bodies and embrace humanity's econiche.
Thank you Mary for providing this resource for celebrating the joys of hunting and our place in the universe.
Stange is an observant hunter and a skilled writer. She understands the hunt, a very rare perception in this world of post-modern nitwits who don't understand where their meals come from, let alone the basic life cycles.
I doubt this book's biggest detractors have even read it. Read it with an open mind, and learn to see the world through the only eyes we possess...the eyes of hunters.