Intersectionality ‘Round the Interwebs, No. 1

May 28th, 2009 9:57 am by Kelly Garbato

Life Is Beautiful (1997)

I’ve decided to start a new feature (yet another!) on In “Intersectionality ‘Round the Interwebs,” I’ll highlight blog posts and news items that examine the various ways in which speciesism parallels or intersects with the oppression of marginalized human groups. In a word, intersectionality.

Previously, I was linking to these stories in my weekly weekend activist posts, but since they’re easily overlooked in a sea of links, I’d rather give ’em their own home. Deconstructing the patriarchy is hefty shit, yo!

So let’s get started, posthaste:

Stephanie @ Animal Rights @ Change .org: Pregnancy at Slaughter: What Happens to the Calves?, Part 1 and Part 2

Over the past few months, I’ve spent some time examining how modern animal agriculture subjects female animals to especially brutal and prolonged exploitation, turning their reproductive systems against them. Their children suffer greatly, too; the daughters of “dairy cows” are enslaved in the same conditions as their mothers, while brothers and sons, an otherwise worthless by-product of milk production, become “veal” calves; females born to “laying hens” become egg machines as well, eventually replacing their “spent” mothers, while males are simply disposed of in garbage bags and wood chippers; and so on and so forth.

In “Pregnancy at Slaughter: What Happens to the Calves?,” Stephanie turns her attention to the fate of newborn calves and late-term fetuses at the stockyard, where their mothers are faced with imminent slaughter. As she explains, some fetal calves die with – inside – their mothers, while others are harvested for use in “science.”

If you eat “meat,” drink milk, or wear leather, you’re complicit in this species-, sex- and age-based atrocity.

Stephanie @ Animal Rights @ Change .org: Women, Girls, and the So-Called Achievement of Killing

Following up on an earlier criticism of Feministing for celebrating a woman bullfighter as a feminist hero, Stephanie laments the pseudo-feminist news coverage of Teressa Groenewald-Hagerman, a 39-year-old Kansan whose major “accomplishment” is being the “first woman in the world to shoot an elephant dead with a bow and arrow.”

As Stephanie and others have noted, Groenewald-Hagerman’s slaughter of an elephant – someone’s father, brother, son, partner, friend – is no more a feminist victory than Aileen Wuornos’s unprecedented killing spree.

Elaine at Vegan Soapbox also weighs in:

Teressa was “inspired” to kill an elephant after a male friend said “women could never draw such a heavy bow.” But archery is NOT necessarily a hunting sport. My grandmother was an archer and she did NOT kill. She shot targets, not animals.

In order to prove the male “friend” wrong, Teressa needed only to show strength and skill, not a barbaric blood-lust.

Indeed. Sex-based discrimination in athletics (or any field dominated by men, for that matter) is a pervasive problem; the solution, however, does not lie in the slaughter of even more marginalized beings.

Vegetarian Star: Dan Matthews: Get Obamas Naked, Madonna Is Middle Aged Witch

PETA’s Dan Matthews on Madonna:

I was a fan of Madonna in the 1980s but she became this middle-aged witch who thought her style should be defined by wearing fur coats and eating foie gras. We had a long argument over her glamorising bullfighting in her music videos.

While I agree that many of Madonna’s actions are reprehensible, let’s not pretend that 1a) “witch” isn’t a G-rated euphemism for “bitch”; 1b) “bitch,” when used as an insult, isn’t misogynist; and 2a) “witch” isn’t also a sex-based slur, inasmuch as one never hears a man so insulted (e.g., “You warlock!”); 2b) “witch” isn’t also ageist and lookist, inasmuch as (bad) “witches” are conceptualized as old, wrinkled, ugly, scraggly, disagreeable, hideous creatures.

Alternatives one might employ instead of “witch”: killer, butcher, murderer, social carcinogen, Madge the Bunny Slayer. Lose the -ism in favor of creativity – you get the idea.

And also: fuck you, Dan Matthews.

I Blame the Patriarchy: Spinster aunt harkens to call of the wild

Though busy “fart[ing] around in the country looking at bugs and flowers,” our favorite spinster aunt takes a break for some light patriarchy blaming. On this day, said blaming involves the “shamelessly biased language” that riddles the ornithological field guide shoved down the back pocket of her oversized overalls.

Oversized overalls, of course, being the de facto uniform of hairy-legged Texan spinster aunts everywhere.

ecorazzi: Christian Bale Dropped Being Vegetarian After Seeing Life Is Beautiful

Um. Apparently Christian Bale ‘fell off the vegetarian wagon’ after a screening of the film Life Is Beautiful. Which inspired in the actor “a craving for blood.”

Life Is Beautiful, by the by, “is a 1997 Italian language film which tells the story of a Jewish Italian, Guido Orefice, who must learn how to use his fertile imagination to help his son survive their internment in a Nazi concentration camp.”

The GQ Magazine reporter who conducted the interview also takes note of the psychopathic discongruity in wanting to consume tortured and slaughtered animals after viewing an inspiring film about human triumph in the face of unthinkable evil – an evil that mirrors industrialized animal agriculture in many respects. A positive, I guess. (The reporter’s observation, that is.)

I also suspect Bale is jerking the GQ reporter around. Is he even a vegetarian? (He’s listed on Wiki’s Welsh vegetarians page, though Owain Yeoman is not. So their info isn’t necessarily reliable, methinks.)

Breeze Harper @ Vegans of Color: Why Are Humans Different From All Other Apes? It’s the Cooking, Stupid

Breeze Harper links to a NY Times review of Richard Wrangham’s Catching Fire: How Cooking Made Us Human, which postulates that “the species Homo erectus emerged some two million years ago […] for one fundamental reason: We learned to tame fire and heat our food.” The author puts forward some interesting theories regarding a raw food diet and menstruation, which leads Harper to wonder “how food, menstruation and what is constructed as ‘normal health’ for women’s reproductive cycle, are seen through these men’s eyes.”

Animal Rights Activism: The Sexual Politics Of Animal Exploitation Essay Completed

Screaming Chicken – aka Brendan Elworthy – shares a piece he penned for a college philosophy class on Carol Adams, PETA, their infamous “The Holocaust on Your Plate” exhibit, and the ethics of comparing oppressions. It’s a nice introduction to Adams’s work – and an awesome topic for a college paper, I might add!

Malori Maloney @ Bitch Blogs: ‘Skinny Bastard’ Disgruntles this Bitch

Of Skinny Bastard, Bitch contributor Malori Maloney says: “What could be an awesome vegan manifesto is so rife with gendered language, sexist commentary and an apparent obsession with physical appearance over healthy living that potential positive and/or helpful messages (i.e., fruit, bread and many other carbs that don’t come in a pop can are a-okay, aspartame sucks big time, Americans eat too much meat, etc.) get clouded.”

Not that I expected much more from a book titled Skinny Bastard.

Kelsey Wallace @ Bitch Blogs: Offensive Commercials: Fast Food Showdown!

I know, I know; calling adverts for artery-clogging, animal-killing, booby-ogling fast food chains “offensive” is like a calling straight, white, Christian, Yale alumni dudes “privileged.”

Still, there’s fun to be had, especially when you pit ’em against one another in “AN OFFENSIVE FAST FOOD COMMERCIAL SHOWDOWN! The contestants for this showdown include a date-rapey toaster oven, a Warrant-loving park pervert, and a booty-shaking creeper in a king mask.”

What’s your pick for the most offensive fast food commercial?

Kjerstin Johnson @ Bitch Blogs: Sexual Euphemism Now in Convenient Chocolate Form: the Fling candy bar by Mars and

Sarah Hepola @ Broadsheet @ Salon: Sexual chocolate

This last pair of links is at best tangentially related to animal rights issues, however, it’s still worth mentioning, as the purveyor of the “Fling” candy bar is Mars, perpetual torturer of animals.

Plus, marketing a “recreational” candy foodstuff, built on the exploitation of the reproductive organs of one group of female animals, to another group of female animals, using gender-based and sexually suggestive materials? – That’s effed up.

— Well, that’s all for this inaugural edition of “Intersectionality ‘Round the Interwebs.” Send me your links or news tips – or feel free to drop a link to your own blog posts in the comments!



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One Response to “Intersectionality ‘Round the Interwebs, No. 1”

  1. Intersectionality ‘Round the Interwebs, No. 8: White Blood, Wild Things & District 9 » V for Vegan: Says:

    […] a follow-up to two earlier posts (both of which were featured in my first Intersectionality ‘Round the Interwebs link roundup), Stephanie discusses a particularly graphic factory farming video that received a […]

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