Intersectionality ‘Round the Interwebs, No. 26: Milk Thieves, Body Hair, and the Cannibals Within

June 12th, 2012 12:02 pm by Kelly Garbato

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Peaceful Prairie Sanctuary: A Powerful Statement

This stunning sculpture by Liu Qiang is an accurate depiction of humanity’s use of, and utter dependence on other animals and, in particular, the savage and bizarre habit of consuming the breast milk from mothers of other species-milk that these mothers have produced for their own babies, babies that we forced them to become pregnant with only to kill shortly after birth so that we can take the bereft mother’s milk, milk that we drink as though we were the children that we murdered.

Live vegan. There is no excuse not to.

Learn about non-violent living
Learn who is spared when you live vegan…
…and who suffers when you choose not to:
Milk Comes from a Grieving Mother
Dairy is a Death Sentence
The “Humane” Animal Farming Myth

29h59’59 by Liu Qiang is on exhibition at the 798 Art District in Beijing, China
Photo by Ng Han Guan

VegNews: June Twitter Chat, Wednesday, June 20 @ 6pm PT/9pm ET

In honor of LGBT Pride Month, we’ll be talking with prominent gay animal-rights activists about the connection between both movements. Never participated in a Twitter Chat before? Don’t worry. We have a handy guide to explain it all. Join us at the hashtag #VegNewsChat. You don’t even need to have a Twitter account to enjoy the discussion.

Kaili Joy Gray @ Daily Kos: Safeway’s general counsel tells hilarious sexist joke at annual shareholder meeting

You can listen to the audio at the link above, but here’s a transcript for the a/v averse:

You know, this is the season when companies and other institutions are interested in enhancing their reputation and their image for the general public, and one of the institutions that’s doing this is the Secret Service, particularly after the calamity in Colombia. And among the instructions given to the Secret Service agents was to try to agree with the president more and support his decisions. And that led to this exchange that took place last week, when the president flew into the White House lawn and an agent greeted him at the helicopter.

The president was carrying two pigs under his arms and the Secret Service agents said, “Nice pigs, sir.”

And the president said, “These are not ordinary pigs, these are genuine Arkansas razorback hogs. I got one for former Speaker Nancy Pelosi and one for Secretary of State Hillary Clinton.”

And the Secret Service agent said, “Excellent trade, sir.”

Women as livestock. Nonhuman animals as items of trade. Sexism and speciesism, the stuff of high comedy. TAKE MY LAWYER, PLEASE!

Fat Girl Posing: Vegans.. I need to talk to you..

This is a year-old piece about fat shaming in the vegan community that recently recirculated on Facebook. h/t to Emelda (I think).

The whole piece is worth a read, but here’s the excerpt I posted on FB:

So here’s your strategy, right? Animal products are full of fat and calories and, therefore, if you stop eating them you’ll lose weight.. so, market veganism as a diet or “lifestyle change” will bring more people to the movement by preying on their low self esteem and body hatred. While the strategy may work initially what do you intend to do when all the newbie veg’s don’t lose weight? Or when they lose it but then gain it back? As a diet, it fails, just like any other, and you’ve lost your pull. More so, you’ve become part of an industry which is cruel to animals.. specifically the human animal.

Word.

Emer @ The Vagenda: Hair! (Not the Musical)

Emer guides us through her year-long experiment in not shaving, providing us with humorous answers to the not-so-humorous questions she was subjected to along the way.

I stopped shaving because there’s way too much pressure on people to conform to stupid arbitrary gendered bullshit. It had gotten to the point where, rather than just evoking mild theoretical disapproval, that pressure had begun to piss me off on a day to day basis. And body hair became a symbol of it. I read about salons waxing 11 and 12 year old girls in the belief that ripping out their ‘virgin hair’ would lead to the requisite smooth legs and bikini lines of female adulthood. All around me, friends were spending hefty chunks of their hard-earned wages on fanny waxes and laser hair removal and trying to convince me to do the same. I just thought – fuck this. I asked myself why I’d begun to shave in the first place and why I continued to do so.

I had some kind of half-formed idea that I chose to shave. But when I started to sound out that idea logically, it rang hollow. If shaving was a choice, how come I didn’t know a single post-pubescent female who didn’t conform to it? How come I had never seen a woman’s hairy leg on TV in any context other than as a hilarious joke?

This one is courtesy of Stephanie, whose Facebook update on the topic generated quite the convo – including a number of comments from women who have long since tossed their razors.

Mary Elizabeth Williams @ Salon: The tyranny of pink; The author behind a new documentary tells Salon how breast cancer got cute and where Susan G. Komen lost its way

On “Pink Ribbons, Inc.” – a new documentary that examines the “pinkwashing” of breast cancer and the corporate corruption of the Susan G. Komen foundation – Williams hits on several points that are relevant across social justice movements, including the rise in “consumerism as activism” and the folly of reducing a complex issue to one or two catchy talking points:

Reducing breast cancer – a complex disease with different manifestations – into a single entity for which there could be a single, magic bullet “cure” may sell T-shirts and mammogram machines. But it doesn’t begin to address the insidiously complicated nature of cancer or why it strikes women in the first place. Yet there’s money to be made in the notion of a “cure” – a slippery word you will be hard pressed to find anyone in the world of cancer treatment ever using. But “Race for the No Evidence of Disease” just doesn’t have the same easy ring to it. Nor does the expensive, unsexy environmental and social change required to identify and eliminate the roots of cancer.

And:

As “Pink Ribbons, Inc.” author Samantha King tells Salon, “People now understand disease through the lens of consumption. I talk to people who can’t really think of doing good work outside of selling or buying stuff. That’s not their experience. They haven’t been exposed to alternatives.” She goes on to explain, “Thirty years ago, it would have been unfathomable that breast cancer could generate this much support and attention and corporate funding. There was a lot of feminist awareness in the ’80s around breast cancer and women’s health. And some very smart people caught on to that and appropriated it and turned it into a marketable product.”

As the film tidily illuminates, ever since the Reagan era of corporate philanthropy, “cause marketing” has become a massive growth industry. With women representing 80 percent of consumer dollars spent, wrapping one’s products and services in the guise of taking care of the ladies is just “business as usual.” If that business includes breast cancer drug manufacturers who also happen to be in the business of pesticides and pink-ribboned cosmetics that contain unregulated chemicals like formaldehyde, well, what’s the problem? And if there’s a grand gesture to be made in bathing the Empire State Building in bright pink light or littering Times Square with pink ticker tape, who cares if that has squat to do with the frightening reality of illness?

Mary Elizabeth Williams @ Salon: Our cannibalism obsession

Zombies and cannibals and Reavers, oh my!

In particular, Williams’s observation re: the cannibalism taboo is what caught my eye:

It’s a taboo unlike any other, one that goes to the root of our most primal fears. The fear not just of death but something more horrible beyond that. The fear of becoming someone else’s meat. And the fear of the cannibal within. […]

Along with our human fear of and aversion to cannibalism, there has always been the practice of it. And there’s something in that duality that reveals our unique place in the food chain. We are predators and we are prey. “Animals eat animals; it’s been that way since life started on this planet,” says Travis-Henikoff. “Our ancestors were prey to many animals. There’s a natural fear of being attacked by any other creature and consumed. Somewhere in our brains are forgotten horrors.” Yet there is also an understanding of them.

Seltzer points out that we couch our language in terms of consumption – of what’s eating us and what we sink our teeth into and whom we chew out. And we humans managed to build the entire Catholic faith on the notion of transubstantiation — consuming the body and blood of Christ. If I am true to my religion, then I literally ate Jesus for breakfast on Sunday.

Sad, then, that our commonalities with “food” animals doesn’t lead to greater empathy. If anything, it results othering, defensive omnivorism, and oppression for oppression’s sake – as a means of asserting the predatory side of our nature and insisting that we are not, in point o’ facts, at the bottom of the shit pile, thankyouverymuch.

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One Response to “Intersectionality ‘Round the Interwebs, No. 26: Milk Thieves, Body Hair, and the Cannibals Within”

  1. Links | C Lit 35: HumAnimality Says:

    […] Literature“ Jason Courtney’s renderings of scenes from Oryx and Crake Liu Qiang’s cow […]

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