The Sexual Politics of Meat: A talk by Carol J Adams
Tuesday, November 27, 20076 Comments
One of Adams slide show images
Adams gave a speech and slide show presentation in which she showed how advertisements convey basic ideas of our culture. It drew connections between the oppression of women and animals because she believes animal liberation is a feminist issue.
In order to frame the discussion she broke our dualistic culture into two categories: an 'A' side and a 'B' side. On the 'A' side she placed; men, culture, white, human. On the 'B' side was; women, nature, colored, animal. Those on the 'B' side are oppressed by the dominant 'A' side. The slide show then illustrated the ways in which the inequalities that arise from this split in culture are reinforced through pornography and advertisements.
Adams talked about how women are 'body chopped' meaning they are fragmented into and seen only as body parts. This dehumanizes and objectifies them. A male volunteer from the audience was asked to prove this point by imitating the pose of a female fashion model. It proved very difficult and humorous. However, that posture, characterized by exposure and instability, is expected from women. Women in venerable poses are sexy because they reinforces power dynamics in a male dominated, sexualized economy that wants to control women's bodies. To make this clearer Adams says; "Men represent, women are represented."
Animals are consumed literally and women figuratively and through access to their bodies. Puns and visual substitutions make inequality funny. She showed multiple adds where the sexualizing of women's bodies was used to sell meat. For example, an advertisement headline reads; "Everyone loves a nice pair of legs!" which was actually referring to crab legs. Other adds were less subtle, depicting pigs with large breasts and female facial features as waitresses selling (pork) ribs.
This depiction of animals who are destined for consumption as sexy females goes deeper than just anthropomorphism (placing human characteristics onto animals). Adams coined a new phrase, anthropornographic, to describe the way animals are portrayed as whores. One of the more disturbing examples being from a magazine called Littermate, where pigs are posed like pornstars, in suggestive and erotic positions. Adams calls this the celebration of sexualized killing and therefore, sees meat eating as the inaction of sexual murder. It comes as no surprise that she advocates strongly for a vegan diet.
Following her talk Carol Adams signed copies of her books and attended a reception catered with vegan food.