Saturday, March 24, 2012

Homophobia and the Sexual Politics of Meat




In Germany, an ad campaign that was going to say "tofu is gay meat." Really? REALLY?

Yes, The Sexual Politics of Meat! Thank you everyone who sent it to me--it's going in the Sexual Politics of Meat slide show along with the other examples of homophobia and assumptions of the "manliness" of heterosexual meat eating men.

I couldn't say it better than Jeff Mannes, so let me quote him here:

Jeff wrote: "This phrase ["Tofu is gay meat"] is more than just funny or homophobic. It's sexist, it's speciesist and it shows how much, homophobia, sexism and other discriminations are linked together and how strong they are based upon the exploitation of animals.

"Masculinity (which is a key factor in the construction of homophobia, transphobia and sexism) is - in our minds - deeply connected to meat eating. This is so because masculinity is connected to power, to strength and therefor to the power over others, in this case over animals. And how could you better demonstrate your power over someone by eating his or her flesh? Therefor meat eating is strongly linked to masculinity. "Real men eat meat." If he doesn't, he's a pussy or a fag. Based upon this you have the sexual politics of meat. Meat/Animals is/are - often in advertising - sexualized as being a sexual object for heterosexual men to consume and/or women are shown as consumable objects like a piece of meat. The discrimination of women and the exploitation of animals go hand in hand and, as a result, so does the discrimination of homosexuals, bisexuals, intersexuals and transgender."

"Please read Carol Adams' 'The sexual politics of meat' to really understand how this works. It will open your eyes and give you a completely new and much more complete and deep insight into the phenomenon of sexism and homophobia."

Yes, the ad never ran.

Yes, this was a couple of years ago.

But in terms of the cultural context for thinking about sexuality, it is as though attitudes regressively reformulate the basic associations of the sexual politics of meat.

That is one reason I keep an archive of these images, to be able to trace how they appear and re-appear; how the ephemera of one year actually reveal a rather depressing genealogy of stereotypes.

Nothing like eating a dead animal to affirm masculinity. How many different ways does Western culture reiterate this point? Let me count the ways! Oh wait, I have.

3 comments:

  1. "Masculinity (which is a key factor in the construction of homophobia, transphobia and sexism) is - in our minds - deeply connected to meat eating. This is so because masculinity is connected to power, to strength and therefor to the power over others, in this case over animals. And how could you better demonstrate your power over someone by eating his or her flesh?"

    This is, of course, a valid and accurate point, but one which I think deserves more analysis to be better unpacked. It's important to stress the ways in which masculinity is produced via the illusion of the phallus as a guarantor of transcendental presence and, of course, ability, power and mastery. It is precisely because of such standard masculinity that the oppression of women and animals can be said to stem from the same source. Thus, the incorporation of animality is much more telling that a mere symptom of mastery and power - it stresses that the animal, unlike men and perhaps women, is nothing but a body and, as such, can easily "vacate" the flesh which is being eaten. That is, it can easily be made absent by death, cooking and humiliation, for it bears no relation to anything other than bodily presence.

    I, too, am of course only scratching the surface, but I think there is more than meets the eye in such intersections.

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  2. I ordered your book this week.

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  3. I invite you and your readers to see my thoughts about outrage over a Georgia legislator's comparing women to farm animals. While absolutely justified in its defense against the assault on women's rights, the opinion piece I take issue with (inadvertently?) reinforces the subjugation and abuse of other species. I agree that the deeper problem is the way we view our relationship to the most vulnerable creatures with whom we share our planet. http://wp.me/p1dEwU-2n

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