Archive: March 2010

Lady Pork: The Other Other White Meat?

Tuesday, March 30th, 2010

Firstly, a big, shiny hello to everyone arriving here from The F-Word! (And can I just say how stoked I am to see yet another vegan feminist guest-blogging on yet another kickass feminist blog? More, please!) In addition to the posts singled out by Amy, you might also enjoy browsing the Intersections post category. And if you’re feeling especially adventurous, check out this list of vegan/vegetarian bloggers who regularly discuss the intersections of human and nonhuman oppressions. It’ll keep you occupied at least through the summer, I tell you what.

So. On to today’s vegan feminist WTF. While searching for a related image last night, I stumbled upon a rather disturbing poster for the movie Saw IV:

Saw IV Poster 01

Shot in tones of black, gray and red, the poster is rather macabre (and quite fitting for a horror flick). Highlighted by a dim ray of light, in the middle of the poster sits a masked figure. She is confined to a torture device of some sort. Seemingly homemade, the instrument – similar in shape to a small chair – looks as though it was cobbled together from pieces of various mechanical devices, including a push mower. There are knobs, tanks, wheels and blades galore. The victim sits facing forward, her arms confined to her sides, ankles chained to the chair.

Masked, robed and photographed from behind, the prisoner’s gender is impossible to determine. However, the figure does sport some obvious trappings of femininity, including knee-high, black stiletto boots (“fuck me boots,” if you will) and tight, black stockings or leggings. The robe is red, possibly velvet. Clearly, the audience is to assume that the victim is a woman (or one very “emasculated” man).

Oh, and the mask? It’s of a pig. Holy woman-as-meat / meat-as-woman meme, Catwoman!

Having only watched the first installment of the Saw franchise, this poster initially sent my head reeling re: its possibly significance, if any. Luckily, Wiki has the answers (some of them, anyhow):

That evening, Rigg is attacked in his home; upon awakening, a videotape informs him that Matthews is still alive, with ninety minutes to save himself, with Hoffman’s life at stake as well. He finds Brenda (Sarain Boylan), a female pimp, chained to a chair with a pig mask covering her face. The first test, “see what I see,” is for him to leave her there; he ignores the message and ends up triggering a device to begin peeling her scalp off. He manages to free her, but she attacks him; she had been told that she would be arrested if Rigg saved her unless she killed him first. He throws her into a mirror and leaves; her corpse is later found by police.

And, from the character description:

Brenda was a prostitute who appeared in Saw IV as a victim in Daniel Rigg’s game. Brenda was placed in a machine designed to tear her scalp from her head and Rigg was instructed to simply walk away from her as she was not worth saving. After her scalp was partially torn away, Rigg managed to save her but Brenda then attempted to kill him, instructed by Jigsaw that if she didn’t Rigg would send her to jail. Rigg overpowered Brenda and threw her into a mirror. She was later found dead.

I suppose the overriding purpose of the pig mask is to conceal the “scalping” contraption, but one has to ask…why a consumable (i.e., “food”) animal? Why not Ronald Regan or Freddy Krueger instead? Is Jigsaw (or his torture porn confederate) making a statement about women who “pimp out” other women? (e.g., Such people are “not worth saving,” much like “worthless,” “dirty,” “gluttonous” nonhuman animals such as pigs.) Or is the pig mask merely a handy prop for upping the film’s shock value? (Meat and corpses and slaughterhouses, oh my!)

There’s a vegan feminist analysis lurking here somewhere, but I’ll be damned if I can find it. Perhaps someone who’s actually seen the film(s) can clue me in?

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Potato and Onion Lasagna (aka, "Pierogi Casserole")

Thursday, March 25th, 2010

2010-03-21 - Pierogi Lasagna - 0003

Being a lover of all things pasta-related, I totally ♥ pierogies. (Or ‘rogies, as I call ‘em, cuz we are all BFF like that.) I’d eat them damn near every day if I had access to an endless supply, I tell you what. Unfortunately, I’m both too lazy to make them from scratch, and too vegan to purchase most prepackaged varieties off the shelf. If it’s not the animal “meat,” it’s the dairy cheese; if it’s not the dairy cheese, it’s the chicken eggs. Sigh.

Thus far, I’ve only been able to find one “accidentally vegan” pierogi in-store: Mrs. T’s Potato & Onion Pierogies. But not the “baker’s dozen” size; heaven’s no, that would be too convenient! Nope, those Mrs. T’s Potato & Onion Pierogies contain eggs. I’m talking about the food service size, silly! Which is only sold to consumers in a few store chains, including the east-coast based Wegmans, where once upon a time I not only lived, but worked. (I know, I know.) Now that I’m located more than 1,000 miles away, I have to rely on that old standby – you know, dear ole ma – for my ‘rogie fix.

And so it was that, near the end of winter, I found myself nagging my mother to send me a few bags of pierogies before the weather warmed up. The morning after one desperate, pleading phone call home (what do you expect? my freezer was completely devoid of pierogies!), I found a recipe for Pierogi Casserole in my inbox. While very NOMy-looking, I figured that this was my mother’s kind and gentle (and somewhat passive-aggressive?) way of telling me to make my own goddamn pierogies. Alas, I was mistaken, because she overnighted a box of 144 pierogies (not to mention some assorted Liz Lovely cookies which can only be described as delectable) by week’s end (and well before reading my own niggling reply to the recipe; hello, technophobia!). Cynical and jaded, who me?

Anyhow, I digress. I decided to give the recipe a spin, Mrs. T’s or no, and holy dog am I glad I did! It took, like, forever to make (major planning FAIL on my part), but this is one seriously yummy dish. Naturally, I veganized the original and projected my own tastes and preferences onto it; feel free to do the same! This is a rather basic white potatoes, onion and vegan cheddar formula, but you can mix it up with the addition of soy sausage or soy bacon bits, or use mashed sweet potatoes as a filling instead.

So many possibilities! So much NOM! And no cruelty required!

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Golden Baked Tofu and Sweet Potatoes (for dogs & their peoples!)

Tuesday, March 23rd, 2010

Finding myself with four soon-to-be-spoiled sweet potatoes, a few extra bricks of tofu, five hungry, barky dogs, and not a whole lot of extra time on my hands, I came up with this recipe on the fly last week. Though the dogs ate most of this dish, I did snack on the baked sweet potatoes throughout the afternoon, and…yum! Good stuff. Bonus points for the aroma, which stunk up the house something NOM.

Make this dish for yourself or for your dogkids – or, heck, make it and share! Eat Drink Dog Woman, am I right? (No offense meant, Shane.)

Golden Tofu and Sweet Potatoes (for dogs & their peoples!)

2010-03-17 - Baked Tofu & Sweet Potatoes - 0003

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Ask not "Are Animal Lovers Sexist?," but "Can Animal Lovers Be Sexist?" (Answer: duh.)

Sunday, March 21st, 2010

lol kaylee - just needs a hammer

Don’t fear, Ms. Kaylee is here! lol dog sez, “wonder beyatch – be hear 2 smash ur kyriarchy, mkay?” She brought her Wonder Woman undies, but she’ll need to borrow a hammer. You got a problem with that, human?
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Last November, I penned a brief letter to the editors of VegNews, in which I questioned Rory Freedman’s casual use of the term “fur hag” – “hag” being a sexist, ageist and lookist slur. (VegNews subscribers can read the exact quote in context in Freedman’s column, “Prison or Bust,” which appeared in the December 2009 issue.) Fast-forward several months; my letter was published, albeit with several edits, in the March+April 2010 issue.

Not surprisingly – given the popularity of the term, as well as PETA’s “fur hag” campaigns – some readers disagreed with my comments, including Annie Hartnett of change.org’s newly-rebranded Animals blog. (Many thanks to Marji of Animal Place for bringing the post to my attention!) In Are Animal Lovers Sexist?, Hartnett argues that, ahem, attacking women for their femaleness is not sexist because most fur-wearers are women.

While I have previously deconstructed the term “fur hag” – as well as the campaigns’ associated imagery – what follows is a line-by-line response to Hartnett’s piece. Rather than rehash points that I’ve made elsewhere, however, I’ll use this as an opportunity to build upon my previous argument. If you haven’t already, please go read last January’s On “fur hags” and “fucking bitches.” before continuing on; doubly so if you’re surfing on over here from change.org. (Also related, and referenced in passing below: ARA PSAs: Women, Men and Fur and ARA PSAs: Attack of the Killer Cosmetics.) (1)

Before we begin, though, I’d like to reprint my letter, as Hartnett did not/would not do so, even upon request.

Here is the original letter, in its entirety:

As a vegan feminist, I’m increasingly disturbed by the number of animal advocates who are willing to engage in sexism (and other “isms”) in the course of their advocacy – “for the animals,” of course (as if women are not sentient beings as well). Take, for example, Rory Freedman’s use of the term “fur hag” to describe those who wear fur (“Prison or Bust,” December 2009 issue). “Hag” – a gendered slur that is synonymous with “witch” – literally means “an ugly old woman.” While fur-wearers may indeed be ugly on the inside, a person’s gender, age and physical appearance say nothing of her character. If Ms. Freedman – or any other animal advocate – feels the need to resort to insults, please keep them “ism”-free. “Jerk,” “loser,” “asshat”: all convey a point – without further marginalizing already-marginalized groups of animals, human or non.

Kelly Garbato
Kearney, MO 64060

kelly.garbato [at] gmail.com

http://www.easyvegan.info

By the way, I wrote a lengthy piece on the term “fur hag” last year, wherein I expound upon the sexist, ageist and sizeist nature of the phrase in much greater detail than is possible in 250 words or less. Additionally, I employ PETA’s associated “fur hag” campaign imagery to further illustrate my point. You can read the post in its entirety at http://bit.ly/vl8sB

Seriously, tho’, enough with the misogyny!

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Intersectionality ‘Round the Interwebs, No. 19: Brain Food (Vegan, Natch!)

Wednesday, March 17th, 2010

Vegan Brain Food

“Vegan Brain Food”: A mashup of book covers related to this latest edition of “Intersectionality ‘Round the Interwebs.” Clockwise from the upper-left: Sistah Vegan: Food, Identity, Health, and Society: Black Female Vegans Speak by A. Breeze Harper, ed. (2010); Terrorists or Freedom Fighters?: Reflections on the Liberation of Animals by Anthony J. Nocella II and Steven Best, eds. (2004); Sisterhood Is Forever: The Women’s Anthology for a New Millennium by Robin Morgan, ed. (2003); The Pornography of Meat by Carol Adams (2004); The Year of the Flood: A Novel by Margaret Atwood (2009); Penelope by Marilyn Kaye (2007); Why We Love Dogs, Eat Pigs, and Wear Cows: An Introduction to Carnism by Melanie Joy (2009); and VegNews, March+April 2010.
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Sistah Vegan Book: Win a Free Copy!

Editor Breeze Harper is giving away a free, signed copy of her upcoming anthology, Sistah Vegan: Black Female Vegans Speak on Food, Identity, Health & Society. The catch? You have to answer a short essay question, which will (hopefully) get you thinking about issues of food, race, gender, and/or nonhuman animals in new (and fruitful!) way. The deadline is April 1st, so don’t delay!

Let Live Foundation: Food Justice w/ lauren Ornelas (3/21)

I’m so terribly jealous of all you vegan folks living on the east and west coasts; y’all always throw the coolest conferences and lectures! (There’s a reason I titled this link roundup “Brain Food,” yo!) This Sunday, March 21st, Let Live Foundation will be hosting speaker lauren Ornelas of the Food Empowerment Project. On the menu?: Food justice, veganism, and the intersections of human and animal exploitation. If you happen to find yourself in Portland this weekend, attend, take notes, and report back, mkay? (Pretty please? With an organic, raw, fair trade cherry on top?)

The Washington Times: Food For Life Global Is Coming Through Big In Haiti

Who says animal advocates only care about nonhumans, hmmm? Check out this nice writeup Food For Life Global received in The Washington Times, and then hop on over to Disaster Relief in Haiti: Animal Rescue & Vegan/Animal-Friendly Resources to see how else you can help with disaster relief efforts in Haiti (and Chile).

The Voracious Vegan: International Women’s Day: Why Feminism? and “Until We Are All Free”: International Women’s Day (@ Choosing Raw)

In honor of International Women’s Day (which took place on March 8th), the Voracious Vegan penned not one, but two posts. The first includes a short film that, in Tasha’s words explains why “women’s rights and feminism are still relevant and necessary in this day and age.” Additionally, in a guest post at Choosing Raw, Tasha discusses the intersections of feminism and veganism, including the shared ideologies and social systems which allow human, animal and environmental exploitation to thrive. It’s a lengthy piece but well worth it – she touches upon a number of salient points, including the objectification of women’s and animals’s bodies; the state’s (and businesses’) attempts to control the reproductive systems of females, human and nonhuman alike; food and environmental justice; and public safety and human health concerns.

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Earthquake in Chile: Some 700,000 Animals May Be Affected

Saturday, March 6th, 2010

Last updated 7/5/10 @ 8:20 PM CDT

While the recent earthquake (and resulting tsunami) in Chile has received less coverage – at least in regards to subsequent relief efforts – than that in Haiti, I was able to find some information on animal-friendly organizations that are providing help with disaster relief. Please feel free to share any additional information in the comments!

1. Vegan Bake Sales for Chile: As of this writing, I can’t find a post dedicated specifically to vegan bake sales to benefit Chilean quake survivors on the PPK blog, however, a search of the forums does bring up a few relevant threads. Head on over to the PPK to organize and announce your own bake sale for Chile!

2. Food for Life Global is on the ground in Chile, providing vegan and/or vegetarian meals to quake survivors:

BBC, Feb 28 — The death toll from Chile’s earthquake has more than doubled to 708 and is expected to rise further, President Michelle Bachelet has said. Previously about 300 people were estimated to have been killed in Saturday’s 8.8 magnitude quake – one of the most powerful recorded. Massive damage is hampering rescue teams as they struggle to reach those still buried in the rubble.

Food for Life emergency relief teams in the area are mobilizing to provide help. Donate now!

3. In Defense of Animals (IDA) reported on 3/18/10 that it will be sending aid to Chile:

On February 27, Chile experienced a magnitude 8.8 earthquake, followed by two tsunamis and several weeks of aftershocks.

IDA has already committed $5,000 to Socorro Animal Chile, SACH (Animal Relief Chile), a coalition of Chilean animal protection organizations. SACH sends three veterinarian-led teams into the field daily. We would like to send SACH even more assistance, as the need is enormous. Please help IDA continue to respond to natural disasters by contributing to our Disaster Relief Fund.

Funds IDA raises to help animals in Chile will be used to provide:

* Emergency sheltering for rescued animals
* Search and rescue efforts
* In-field sustenance (food/water program)
* Animal transport
* Temporary clinics to treat animals
* Support for spay/neuter and adoption programs

4. Finally, Kinship Circle has proven an excellent source of information on animal rescue and disaster relief efforts in Chile. All related Kinship Circle alerts are crossposted below. I’ve added additional links where necessary; the most recent alerts appear first, followed by earlier ones. You can also view a photo log of Kinship Circle’s rescue efforts in Chile on Flickr, @ KCChile.

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The Nostalgia Chick on The Smurfette Principle

Monday, March 1st, 2010

On Carnism: Why Do We Love Dogs, Eat Pigs, and Wear Cows ?

Monday, March 1st, 2010

Carnism by Melanie Joy (2009)

Carnism: The Psychology of “Meat”-Eating 101

four out of five stars

Recently, I had the pleasure of reviewing Melanie Joy’s Why We Love Dogs, Eat Pigs, and Wear Cows: An Introduction to Carnism (2010) though the website Basil & Spice. As a former psychology major and vegan of five years (and vegetarian for eight years on top of that), Carnism is right up my alley. Dr. Joy, a social psychologist and animal advocate, deconstructs our “meat culture,” identifying a number of key defense mechanisms that shield Westerners from an uncomfortable reality: how can we claim to “love” and “care for” nonhuman animals, yet enslave, torture, slaughter, dismember, process and consume them to the tune of tens of billions* per year? The answer lies in our carnistic system.

Carnism 101

Carnism, Joy posits, is the invisible belief system (or ideology) that underlies our unthinking consumption of “meat.” We have so internalized this behavior – “meat”-eating – that we do not even recognize it as a choice, but rather blindly accept it as a normal and necessary way of life; “meat” consumption is “just the way it is.” Carnism is the logical counterpart to vegetarianism: just as one can decide not to eat meat, so too is meat-eating a choice. And yet, while the terms “vegetarianism” and “veganism” are part of common parlance, we have no such word for “carnism.” Because the ideology that supports “meat” consumption remains unnamed, it’s seen as something natural, inevitable, existing outside of a belief system. Or it’s not seen at all – it’s invisible. We can avoid thinking about it because we lack the tools (words) with which to talk about it. In naming, there is power. Words matter.

This is, I think, is Carnism‘s greatest strength. With the introduction of one simple, short word, Joy gives us a tool with which to single out our “meat” culture for criticism and critique. “Carnism” unveils the choices behind the curtain – choices which are so incongruous with our innate sense of compassion, Joy argues, that we must go to great lengths to defend these choices from scrutiny. At a macro level, this is called psychic numbing: “we disconnect, mentally and emotionally, from our experience; we ‘numb’ ourselves. [...] Psychic numbing is adaptive, or beneficial, when it helps us to cope with violence. But it becomes maladaptive, or destructive, when it is used to enable violence.”

On both an individual and institutional level, we engage in a number of defense mechanisms that help us to achieve psychic numbing:

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