The Sexual Politics of Meat

Carol J. Adams

Subtitle "A Feminist-Vegetarian Critical Theory".

I'd always meant to read this book, one of the more famous in the Animal Rights movement, but only got around to it after my wife purchased a copy. I'm not sure what that says, but moving on...

I now understand why this is such a classic in the movement. It has a tone and a style which can be difficult at times, but this makes you do the work of understanding it which is no bad thing.

I was left pretty convinced of most of the points of the book. There is a long history of the struggle for women's liberation being linked consciously or otherwise by its advocates to the struggle for animal liberation. I think she labours the point about meat and the patriarchy being the same thing, and I'm not sure abolishing one would lead to the other. That our society was based on female and animal oppression, is perhaps as much correlative as it is causative. The links between the two, however, are interesting and revealing. My thesis prior to reading the book that all oppressions are linked, and the thinking this book inspired led me to a deeper understanding of how the status of animals, and equating someone with those animals, is a consistent part of oppression.  

The afterword to this twenty-fifth-anniversary edition has a number of posters sexualising meat utilising a female perspective which will creep you out no doubt. I feel though that often the bull is used to sell meat as well, as an invocation of male power, and would have liked to see her perspective on that as well.

If you believe in animal rights and feminism, you really have no choice but to get this book. I will warn you now you are going to see the term 'absent referent' a lot.

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