Intersectionality ‘Round the Interwebs, No. 22: Shegans, unite!

Wednesday, June 2nd, 2010

Raising her sword to Grayskull, LOL She-Ra demands, “I Can Haz Equal Rights?” & as long as we’re taking requests, the lady would like a NOMy vegan meal, too. (She’s a Shegan, yo!)
CC image via Brett L. on Flickr.
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The Boston Globe: Men leave their own mark on veganism and

vegansaurus!: He-gan woman-haters club!

Men + vegans = hegans. (Get it!?) Specifically, hegans are “men in their 40s and 50s embracing a restrictive lifestyle to look better, rectify a gluttonous past, or cheat death.” (Or, alternately, hegans are the latest faux-trend created by the newspaper industry in order to 1) hawk their wares and/or 2) avoid reporting on actual news. Be your own decider person.)

Though I prefer the term “hegan” to its predecessor, “femivore” (which, as a word, makes zero sense), it’s still kind of bullshit: in describing this ‘new breed’ of manly vegan men, Pierce is setting up a false dichotomy that portrays ‘regular’ vegan dudes (and women, too) as effeminate, weak and sentimental (‘pussies, queers and commies,’ as hegans might say). Also: paint with a broad brush much? Veganism is a diverse movement, and any attempt to pigeonhole such a large segment of the population is misguided at best. (See above, re: creating news where there is none.)

That said, I have a counter-proposal: shegan. More complex an equation than “women + vegans = shegans,” shegans as I envision them are feminist vegans of all sexes and genders (and/or feminist-allied vegan men, if you prefer) who reject sexism and misogyny as vehemently as they do speciesism. Dog knows we could use a little more sheganism, particularly since this is quickly shaping up to be the summer of the hegan douchebag.

Vegan Feminist Agitator: The PETA Effect

A lovely essay from Marla in which she manages to deconstruct the bulk of PETA’s campaigns in one fell swoop. To wit:

The PETA Effect has come into existence because they have cynically decided to not only accept the terms dictated by the worst aspects of the mainstream world, but to be a part of it. Instead of questioning misogyny, they wallow in it. Instead of thoughtful, insightful analysis, they have women citing statistics while stripping on camera. Instead of rejecting the notion that we all need to be young, slim, and, more often than not, surgically enhanced to be attractive, they embrace it fully, and they also tell us that objectification for the “cause” is a worthy endeavor. They tell a nation already deeply battered by this message that if you are not young, slim and conventionally attractive, you are worthless and disgusting. What does this have to do with compassion to animals? How does this improve a battery chicken’s life? How does this make the skeptical public more receptive to questioning their values? It doesn’t.

Seriously, go read the whole piece. I can wait.

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Intersectionality ‘Round the Interwebs, No. 14: Human(ity, or lack thereof)

Tuesday, January 5th, 2010

King Kong (2005) - Kong & Darrow 02

Bitch Magazine: Trans Spotting—The media’s myopic vision of transsexuals

Not exactly “new,” but this piece from trans activist/artist Julia Serano (http://juliaserano.com) is an excellent complement to the “Our Bodies and Lives” series posted by Ida at The Vegan Ideal several weeks back (see Transsexual Knowledge and Resistance; Transphobic Trauma, Transsexual Healing; and Questioning Cissexual Politics). Serano directly challenges feminist stereotypes which hold that male-to-female transsexuals serve to reinforce the gender binary with their uber-feminine wiles. She also offers a few choice words for defenders of the Michigan Womyn’s Music Festival’s “womyn-born-womyn only” policy.

The article isn’t available online, though, so you’ll need to order a back issue of Bitch (Issue 26, Fall 2004: The “Fake” issue) to read it. Or, for just a few bucks more, check out Serano’s Whipping Girl: A Transsexual Woman on Sexism and the Scapegoating of Femininity, published in 2007. It’s on my wish list!

The Vegan Ideal: Mirha-Soleil Ross on Justice for Sex Workers and Nonhuman Animals

In honor of the International Day to End Violence Against Sex Workers (December 17), Ida highlights the words of Mirha-Soleil Ross, “a vegan, transsexual and sex worker justice advocate.” In snippets from several interviews, Ross addresses the topics of (radical) feminism within the animal rights movement; similarities between society’s demonization of prostitutes and coyotes; and the objectification of women and nonhuman animals – from all corners.

Johanna @ Vegans of Color: Don’t Use Classism and Anti-Sex Worker Rhetoric to Protest Fur;

The Vegan Ideal: Class Privilege in Anti-Sex Worker, Anti-Homeless Activism;

The Vegan Shoe Lady: Fur is for Beautiful Animals and Scary Hookers; and

Taste Better!: On framing fur

Johanna and Ida critique a recent anti-fur post written by The Vegan Shoe Lady (and later picked up and enthusiastically expounded upon by Taste Better!) in which the author encourages readers to engage in classism and sexism, as well as the shaming of sex workers and homeless people, in the course of their anti-fur activism. Because this just what the animal rights movement needs – to be perceived as a monolith of exclusionary white elitists, yes? Lovely!

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On being someones, not somethings.

Wednesday, May 13th, 2009

I’ve heard mention of these campaign/outreach materials from Peaceful Prairie Sanctuary from time to time, but it wasn’t until I received a Mother’s Day action alert from the sanctuary that I clicked on over to check them out. Now that I’ve had a chance to look the materials over, I think I can honestly say that Peaceful Prairie’s fliers and pamphlets – particularly the “Milk comes from a grieving mother” series – are some of the most powerful I’ve seen.

Throughout its materials, PPS stresses the family ties of the (more often than not) nameless, faceless creatures we exploit for “meat,” milk, eggs and the like. When you eat meat, you’re eating someone’s father, brother or son. When you drink milk, you’re drinking milk that was stolen from a grieving mother and was meant to nourish her murdered baby. The exploitation of farmed animals necessarily involves the manipulation and severing of these familial relationships, so fundamental to their (and our) emotional and social well-being and survival. How do YOU say, ‘Don’t kill my baby!’? Should any mother have to?

PPS also gives these animals names and faces, by emphasizing their unique individualities, as well as their relationships to one another: Lillian is more than “just a pig,” more than “pork,” more than the sum of her animal parts. So much more! Lillian is both someone and someone’s daughter. Someone’s sister. Someone’s aunt. Someone’s mother, perhaps. Lillian is important and valuable and unique because she’s Lillian the individual – there is no other quite like her! – and because she’s Lillian to so many others. Like you or I, Lillian is irreplaceable.

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Valentine Piglets & Cow Kisses!

Saturday, February 21st, 2009

Now for a much-needed (over)dose of cuteness. Behold! Woodstock Farm Animal Sanctuary’s Valentine Piglets!

The story of the piglets’ origins is a sad one, which I’d rather not delve into for fear of negating the cuteness factor*; suffice to say that their story runs counter to popular, romanticized conceptions about “sustainable meat,” “small/backyard/diy farming” and the like**. Luckily, Nemo, Eva, Pinky and Wally survived their first days on earth, and in time made their way to the good folks at Woodstock FAS. Here, they’ve found permanent sanctuary – until, of course, a pig lover (read: not eater!) whisks them away to their new home, for a lifetime of piggy snuggles and belly rubs.

Bonus cuteness: Kisses from Dylan the Cow!

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More human than (the) human(s).

Monday, October 20th, 2008

In The New York Times, “Farm Boy” Nicholas Kristof “Reflects” on time spent murdering innocent, sentient beings:

Then there were the geese, the most admirable creatures I’ve ever met. We raised Chinese white geese, a common breed, and they have distinctive personalities. They mate for life and adhere to family values that would shame most of those who dine on them.

While one of our geese was sitting on her eggs, her gander would go out foraging for food—and if he found some delicacy, he would rush back to give it to his mate. Sometimes I would offer males a dish of corn to fatten them up—but it was impossible, for they would take it all home to their true loves.

Once a month or so, we would slaughter the geese. When I was 10 years old, my job was to lock the geese in the barn and then rush and grab one. Then I would take it out and hold it by its wings on the chopping block while my Dad or someone else swung the ax.

The 150 geese knew that something dreadful was happening and would cower in a far corner of the barn, and run away in terror as I approached. Then I would grab one and carry it away as it screeched and struggled in my arms.

Very often, one goose would bravely step away from the panicked flock and walk tremulously toward me. It would be the mate of the one I had caught, male or female, and it would step right up to me, protesting pitifully. It would be frightened out of its wits, but still determined to stand with and comfort its lover.

He goes on to say,

So, yes, I eat meat (even, hesitantly, goose). But I draw the line at animals being raised in cruel conditions.

How very generous of you, Mr. Kristof.

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Satya: Save The Date! Thursday, October 12, Satya’s Humane Meat Discussion

Friday, September 29th, 2006

———- Forwarded message ———-
From: Satya Magazine – satya [at] satyamag.com
Date: Sep 26, 2006 6:13 PM
Subject: Save The Date! Thursday, October 12, Satya’s Humane Meat Discussion

Thursday, October 12

Satya Magazine Presents: The Humane Meat Discussion

Satya invites you to join us in a public dialogue. Satya’s September and October issues explore the growing interest in “humane,” “organic,” “cage-free” and “compassionate” animal products, by both consumers and animal advocacy groups. This forum will address questions like, what do these trends mean for the animals, vegan activism and meat consumption? Satya staff and some of the contributors will be in attendance.

We strongly encourage all attendees to read both issues before this discussion. Come ready to share your thoughts, ask questions, debate and participate.

7-9 pm, Jivamukti Yoga Studio Café, 841 Broadway (between 13 & 14 Streets), 2nd floor, Manhattan, NYC. Free.

Info and RSVP: 718-832-9558; feedback [at] satyamag.com.

* Special Offer: Any new-to-Jivamukti-attendees of this event will also receive a free yoga lesson!