Tell me more, John Mackey; I look forward to hearing about this new relationship with farm animals that you so compassionately chop up in cellophane packages in the butcher’s case.
A propos of the recent spate of femivegan commentary on the blog — will Meat vs The Angry Feminist become the blaming juggernaut, or should I say, the Blamernaut, of 2008? — I give you this dude Gary L Francione, who in this post adroitly outlines the ever-creepier ideological alliance between funfeminism and “conscientious” carnivorosity.
Francione is an animal exploitation abolitionist who has published extensively on the subject. His position is that funfeminists (he calls them “postmodern feminists” but you know what we both mean: pole dancing empowerfulizes women, “sex work” is groovy because women freely choose it, femininity is a gas, etc) have much in common with PETA-esque animal welfarists; both ideological postures posit scenarios which favor the perpetuation of patriarchal oppression. It’s OK to go to strip clubs because strip clubs empowerfulize women. It’s OK to eat “free range” meat because the animals were “raised by local ranchers” or were slaughtered “humanely”. And of course inveterate blamers are no strangers to PETA’s obsession with human female sexploitation. But what say I shut up and allow Gary L. Francione himself to enlarge?
[…] [P]ostmodern feminists have created a brand of “happy” commodification for women just as the welfarists have created the phenomenon of “happy” meat and animal products. The postmodern feminists often conveniently ignore the fact that women involved in the sex industry are raped, beaten, and addicted to drugs just as the welfarists conveniently ignore that animal products–including those produced under the most “humane” circumstances–involve horrible animal suffering. And both groups ignore that the commodification of women and animals, irrespective of treatment, is inherently objectionable.
Both the postmodern feminist position and the new welfarist position are steeped in the ideology of the status quo. They both reinforce the default position of animals as property and women as things whose personhood is reduced to whatever body part(s) and body images we fetishize. They both just put little smiley faces on what is in essence a very reactionary message.
He also notes that the rhetoric of funfeminism/PETA, which dismisses any criticism of their respective goals as impeding “movement unity,” mimics the vapid sloganeering of the reactionary right. This disturbing comingling of wingnut tactics with so-called “progressive” groups doesn’t surprise Francione and it doesn’t surprise me. Whenever patriarchal ideals come under fire, it’s patriarchal rhetoric that shows up to defend it. Funfeminism and PETA are both antifeminist.
[Thanks to josiemysourceofmostfrustration for the link]