An Open Letter to Vegan-Hating Feminists (Especially the Ones I’ve Met)

22 Aug

I’ll start with the good: I’ve seen quite a bit more folks defining themselves as vegans and feminists simultaneously these days.  I read about the links between veganism and feminism on blogs, watch presentations about it at conferences, and meet more and more feminist vegans every day. Oh joy!

Now here’s the bad: A lot of feminists still hate vegans.  We’re elitist.  We care more about animals than women.

This isn’t an either/or choice, folks.  Really, I can respect both animals and women.  It’s not hard.

A key feminist tenant is that there is no hierarchy of oppression.  No one manifestation of oppression is worse than another.  Sexism is not worse than racism.  Racism is not worse than heterosexism.  Heterosexism is not worse than classism.  And on and on.

But speciesism?

Everything is worse than speciesism.  I mean, we’re talking about animals.  Animals!  What the heck is speciesism anyway?  Animals can’t be oppressed!

Ah, but friend, they can.  For one thing, humans are animals.  For another, non human food animals are sexualized, feminized, controlled , and violated just as women are.  Indeed, the treatment of animals in modern agriculture not only replicates misogynistic treatment of women, but reinforces it.

Do you know how milk is produced?    The fact that the dairy industry uses a device called a rape rack should cause you some pause.

And eggs?

What about how we market the flesh of cows, pigs, chickens, and other non-human animals?

The fact is, sexism feeds speciesism and speceisism feeds sexism.  To argue that the mistreatment of animals does not matter is akin to arguing that the mistreatment of women the world over does not matter.  They are both ways of marginalizing the “other”.  To deny specisism is to replicate a hierarchy of oppression, a hierarchy of worth.

To argue that it’s okay to kill and eat other animals because our species is better is to demonstrate a sense of entitlement completely incompatible with feminism.

So vegan-hating feminist, go ahead and roll your eyes.   Snort, mock me, whatever.  My feminism and my veganism are inseparable.  No amount of bullying will change that.

Oh, and feminist-hating vegans, your time will come too.


2 Responses to “An Open Letter to Vegan-Hating Feminists (Especially the Ones I’ve Met)”

  1. ozob September 6, 2010 at 5:38 pm #

    i was @ a prevention training a bit ago, went out to eat w/a bunch of folks. one of the dinner-time conversations was about killing this mouse that was inside one of their houses, and everyone was laughing because it was supposed to be hilarious. i asked, “how is any of this funny?” and one of them said, “oh, ethan you have to laugh at this sort of stuff, otherwise you’ll go insane”

    i didn’t respond out loud, but thought, “but you’re the ones committing an completely spurious act of violence, and laughing at another’s attempt to survive the onslaught. you’re not trying to feed yourself. this situation right here is already completely insane…”

    and then i thought, “the completely, utterly, absolutely misogynist men — this is what they think about women…”

    speciesism in feminism? totally, it’s everywhere. it’s an inherent part of our culture. we view the world — anything that we define as “other” as resources, objects there for us to exploit. we don’t enter into relationships with an animated world — the world is already dead in our mind, and we use it. and how we use it is to amplify and spread death across the land.

    that said, veganism isn’t an answer to the rampant speciesism any more than anti-abortion is an answer to child suffering 🙂 saying all the above ends up pissing off everyone: people don’t want to hear that they are oppressive (we are all oppressive, as long as we live in this culture and civilization still stands, including vegans), and sooo many vegans seem to want to believe that veganism means something more than not directly consuming or using products made by or of animals. i love salmon, *and* i eat salmon. i love swiss chard, *and* i eat swiss chard:

    • ashleyjomaier October 3, 2010 at 6:43 am #

      The thing is, when I read this, I don’t understand how saying you love salmon *and* you eat salmon is any different than saying you love women *and* you harm them.

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