Carol J. AdamsMar 19, 2021
The Sexual Politics of Meat
A Feminist-Vegetarian Critical Theory
Today I talked to Carol J. Adams about two of her classic texts that have recently been republished.
The first book we discuss, first published in 1990, is The Sexual Politics of Meat: A Feminist-Vegetarian Critical Theory, a landmark text in the ongoing debates about animal rights. In the two decades since, the book has inspired controversy and heated debate. The Sexual Politics of Meat argues that what, or more precisely who, we eat is determined by the patriarchal politics of our culture, and that the meanings attached to meat eating are often clustered around virility. We live in a world in which men still have considerable power over women, both in public and in private. Carol Adams argues that gender politics is inextricably related to how we view animals, especially animals who are consumed. Further, she argues that vegetarianism and fighting for animal rights fit perfectly alongside working to improve the lives of disenfranchised and suffering people, under the wide umbrella of compassionate activism.
The second book we discuss, first published in 2004, is The Pornography of Meat. For 30 years, since the publication of her landmark book The Sexual Politics of Meat, Carol J. Adams and her readers have continued to document and hold to account the degrading interplay of language about women, domesticated animals, and meat in advertising, politics, and media. Serving as sequel and visual companion, The Pornography of Meat charts the continued influence of this language and the fight against it. This new edition includes more than 300 images, most of them new, and brings the book up to date to include expressions of misogyny in online media and advertising, the #MeToo movement, and the impact of Donald Trump and white supremacy on our political language. Never has this book--or Adams's analysis--been more relevant.
Carol J. Adams is the author of numerous books, including The Sexual Politics of Meat, Neither Man nor Beast: Feminism and the Defense of Animals, and The Pornography of Meat. She is the co-editor of several pathbreaking anthologies, including most recently Ecofeminism: Feminist Intersections with Other Animals and the Earth (with Lori Gruen). Her work is the subject of two recent anthologies, Defiant Daughters: 21 Women of Art, Activism, Animals, and The Sexual Politics of Meat and The Art of the Animal: 14 Women Artists Explore The Sexual Politics of Meat, in which a new generation of feminists, artists, and activists respond to Adams' groundbreaking work.
Mark Molloy is the reviews editor at MAKE: A Literary Magazine.