Intersectionality ‘Round the Interwebs, No. 5

July 29th, 2009 9:02 pm by Kelly Garbato

Sarah Palin - Bear Skin

It’s been way too long since my last intersectionality roundup. Between work and drugs (settle down, I’m referring to the prescription kind!) I got a little distracted, with little-to-no time for blogging – or blog reading, for that matter. Thus, many of these links are a little older, as in the beginning of July old. No less interesting, just…they’ve probably been around the blocks a time or two. They still need some love and attention though, mkay?

Striking at the Roots: LGBT Compassion Campaigns for Social Justice

Mark Hawthorne interviews LGBT Compassion founder Andrew Zollman, touching upon animal rights, LGBTQ issues and the confluence of the two. (Y’all might recall that I wrote about LGBT Compassion in the last edition of ‘Intersectionality ‘Round the Interwebs.’)

Animals Rights @ Change .org: Butchers Are Hot. Blood Is Sexy. Killing Is Hip. This Is Not Progress.

No excerpt or explanation necessary. Expect this one to hit Feministing, since it celebrates women killers as well as their male counterparts.

Vegansaurus: The Fat Vegan, or OH HELL NO YOU DID NOT.

Vegan guru/purveyor of meals in a cup Dr. McDougall recently published an article in his newsletter titled “The Fat Vegan.” GREAT. Yet another thing to shame fat people into being embarrassed about their weight but this time from a vegan perspective. […]

At the SF Pride Parade this year, there was a float from the folks at SF Bay Vegetarians, and it made me so proud to see such a diverse group of vegans, not just the stereotypical sallow honkies. We need people of all sizes, shapes and colors to fight against animal cruelty.

Nichole @ Feministe: Cat Lady

Again with the stereotypes about feminists/spinster aunts and their all-feline posses:

One day […] a tutor decided to engage me in small talk. This guy had sized me up before and had asked enough pointed questions to discover that I was not romantically involved with anyone, but for whatever reason, I didn’t want to assume he was trying to hit on me. However, I’m not one for mindless chatter so I knew I’d try to keep my responses as uninteresting as possible in a passive-aggressive way of ending the conversation.

He started by asking me what I like to do for fun. Now, I like to do a lot of things, but because I knew that one of his side gigs was as a party promoter, I kept my response simple by saying I was a homebody. He asked me about my passions and hobbies. I revealed I’m a writer and budding photographer. Then he asked me if I had any children. I explained that the children I worked with were enough for me at the moment. And finally, he asked me how many cats did I have?

Aroo? Excuse me?

See also: my comments on Mary Martin’s “On Cat Killers and Mental Competency,” also in IRTW#4.

Carole Raphaelle Davis @ the Animal Law Coalition: Michael Jackson Did Not Love Animals

Michael Jackson did not love animals. He loved to collect them. […]

Certainly, the desire to own or have dominion over dangerous wild animals has psychological implications. Psychologist, author and animal advocate Jana Kohl told me she wanted to cry when she saw the pictures of Michael Jackon’s zoo enclosures. Her opinion of the zoo includes the psychic suffering of its owner.

“The physical and emotional abuse Joe Jackson inflicted upon his son, including objectifying Michael as if he were a possession, merely there for his own narcissistic needs, was sadly something Michael repeated himself,” said Dr. Kohl. “He thoughtlessly acquired exotic living beings whose own needs were secondary to his insatiable child-like drive to collect and display as many prized possessions as he could, like the priceless objets d’art he bought by the truckloads.

“The animals were there for his amusement, and whether or not they suffered in cramped or unnatural conditions appeared to be something he was incapable of recognizing. If Michael had spent a fraction of his fortune in therapy, understanding and mourning his painful past, he would have likely made different and more conscious choices, including being able to empathize with creatures who have no voice, just as he had no voice as a child, other than the one he created for performing.”

(h/t, Mary Martin)

Reclusive Leftist: Comments from the giant thread: inside the mind of a former Palin-hater!

A reader writes to the Ghost of Dr. Socks about her former “irrational hatred for Sarah Palin:”

The idea that this (Republican) woman could throw the whole election somehow gave me every incentive to hate her, to believe everything I heard about her, to brand her “one of those women that make other women look bad.” She was definitely a hate receptacle. McCain wasn’t a hate receptacle, despite his Republicanism, because he was a man. I thought, Palin should know better. Someone said in the comments that feminist women judge other women more harshly, and looking back, I totally agree. It was a personal, intense hatred, because Palin didn’t represent all of my feminist sentiments.

This is a subject that deserves it own post – its own series of posts, really – but I think Hillary G.’s comments can be extended to environmentalists, vegetarians, vegans and animal rights folks, too. Allow me to elaborate.

There are plenty of reasons for animal advocates to dislike Palin, both personally (she enjoys murdering animals in her leisure time) and politically (her speciesism informs her public policies). She hunts, she fishes, she poses on the skins of formerly living bears. She sees no need for conserving energy or other natural resources (non-human animals not included, as they are living beings, not resources), nor for curbing consumption. She flip-flopped on cap and trade. Etc., etc., etc. And yet.

Just as surely as the mainstream feminist community, animal and environmental activists tend to regard Palin with a special sort of abhorrence: a visceral, knee jerk, irrational – dare I say disproportionate – hatred. Raw, stark, naked hatred.

Think about it, vegans. Palin isn’t the first politician to hunt and fish – enthusiastically so – nor will she be the last. Nor are her policies re: non-human animals and their habitats all that much more destructive that Bush & Cheney’s. And while Cheney is mocked as a Darth Vader type, complete with jokes about human-sized safes; and Bush is derided as a boy king; Palin inspires a unique brand of animosity and loathing. Again, it’s so automatic, it’s practically instinctual, as if rising from the depths of the soul. (Don’t pretend you haven’t felt it, or at least observed it in others.) Unlike Bush and Cheney, however, who served eight years as the President and VP respectively, Palin didn’t even ride out her full four years as governor of Alaska; thus far, she hasn’t been around long enough to wreak the same havoc as her speciesist, biocidal male peers. The level of hatred directed at Palin simply (usually) isn’t in line with the evil and destructiveness of her deeds – particularly when you compare and contrast it with the hatred leveled at her male equivalents (or superiors).

And really, I can’t help but think it’s because Palin is a woman. Whether we expect more of her (unfairly so; why should women be held to a higher standard than men?), expect her to conform to gender roles which paint women as maternal and nurturing, or simply give her less license to act like a selfish asshat, this visceral dislike is rooted at least partially in sexism. Not because we should be expected to like the woman, but because our dislike is disproportionate to her deeds, and tinged with a little extra something (revulsion? venom? contempt?) that’s reserved mostly for women who step out of line.

I did a little blogging about sexism during the primaries and ’08 election (over at my other place), but for a discussion of misogyny vis-à-vis Sarah Palin, check out the Sarah Palin Sexism Watch at Shakesville (to which the Hillary Clinton Sexism Watch is a “nice” complement). Seriously and with an open mind, read through the various entries – and then really, critically think about and evaluate your feelings about Sarah Palin. Not just your thoughts, but your emotional reaction. Think about whether you’d judge a man as harshly, and using the same insults and epitaphs.

Because I know I don’t. As much as I hate W – and I think he ought to be prosecuted for war crimes, so that should give you an indication – he still rarely inspires within me the same sort of visceral, almost instinctive, dislike as does Palin. And that’s a problem I’m working on.

The near-daily “bitches” and “cunts” dropped in the comments on all the Palin photos in my photostream sure are helping with that. Nothing makes you confront the ingrained, nearly-hidden misogyny in your own heart like defending another woman – your polar opposite – from misogynist attacks, I tell you what.

——————-

Tagged:

Be Sociable, Share!

Filed under , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Leave a Reply