Eating Animals & The Sexual Politics of Meat.

            White Chicks   <-Watch Me

When beginning this assignment my mind went immediately to the scene in White Chicks where Marlon and Terry go out to dinner. Terry believes Marlon is a woman, and prepares to order them dinner. Terry attempts to order a salad, for the lady, after ordering himself chicken. Marlon then says “Perhaps not” and orders steak, ribs, fries, onion rings, and whatever else he can think of to show how “un lady-like” he is. The oysters are then left at the table as the appetizer. Terry is very sexual with how he slurps the oysters to show that he is a sexual primal man. When the food hits the table we see Marlon repulsively eating like a caveman. I thought this would be perfect for this post because it is showing how Terry is still in the mindset that woman are “ladies” and should act appropriately.

Moving on to the readings, I bolded the quotes I found most interesting and wrote my responses below each.

 

“While vegetarians regard the word vegetable with respect (it’s life-giving, the purported root appropriate of the name vegetarian), “meat” advocating cultured see it as an appropriate term for brain-dead individuals” (Eating Animals, 61.)

This quote reminded me of the “Vegetarian” in the sense that everyone thought Yeong-hye was crazy/ towards the end of the book I think it would be accurate to say she was described as brain-dead. The way she laid in her bed, with no response to In-hye, refusing to eat food of any kind, to only consume water. I think there was definitely a stigma in the book that something must have been wrong with Yeong-hye’s mind for her to choose to be vegetarian over a dream, similar to how there is a stigma in the real world towards people who are vegetarian.

 

 

“When we turn an animal into “meat,” someone who has a very particular, situated life, a unique being, is converted into something that has no distinctiveness, no uniqueness, no individuality. When you add five pounds of hamburger to a plate of hamburger, it is more of the same thing; nothing is changed. But if you have a living cow in front of you, and you kill that cow, and butcher that cow, and grind up her flesh, you have not added a mass term to a mass term; and ended up with more of the same.”(Eating Animals, 63).

This section really made me reevaluate my choice to eat meat. I was disgusted, but enlightened by this. Having meat already prepared or packaged for you does create this distance, to where you believe it is okay to eat it because it is already dead, but when you take the time to think about how it wasn’t at one point, and wouldn’t be if we stopped consuming it, it really makes you feel like you aren’t human.

 

“Men who decide to eschew “meat” eating are deemed effeminate; failure of men to eat “meat” announces that they are not masculine”(Eating Animals, 66).

I found this interesting because growing up I had a male friend who was vegetarian, and all the kids at school made fun of hi saying he was “gay”. This idea that eating meat makes you a man is disgusting, but is obviously drilled into the heads of children. We were only in middle school when this was happening. People should be allowed to be vegetarian without these connotations that they are less manly, preachy, or think they are better than anyone else.

 

“We should not be surprised that Meat is the name of a sex club in Manhattan”(Eating Animals, 68).

I was actually more surprised than I should have been reading this quote. It feels demeaning and devaluing as a woman to be compared to something that is dead, and literally consumed. This is the idea of male consumption that we have been talking about. Similar to Yeong-hye, these women that work at this sex club are acted upon, and categorized as less powerful because they are the ones being consumed by the male eye.

 

“The equation is simple: the more important meat is in their life, the greater relative dominance will the men command. . . . When meat becomes an important element within a more closely organized economic system so that there exist rules for its distribution, then men already begin to swing the levers of power. . . . Women’s social standing is roughly equal to men’s only when society itself is not formalized around roles for distributing meat”(The sexual politics of meat, 45).

This quote makes so much sense. I’ve seen so many movies where women are shown as the gatherers and men as the hunters. The men that kill, and retrieve the most meat are often shown as the most desirable because that shows that they can provide for a family, but these movies also show that men are in charge. Imagining a women in power in one of these societies is impossible within these movies because all of these men would believe a women wouldn’t be able to hunt and kill like a man.

I also thought about the Vegetarian in this. I wonder if Yeong-hye’s father was so abusive when she wouldn’t eat meat at their dinner because he thought he had power over her. Perhaps he didn’t care about her eating habits, but more so that she was disobeying him.

This also makes me think about grocery shopping. Technically I bring home the meat, does that give me power? My boyfriend rarely goes to the store by himself, and when he does it is with a list that I have written out for him.

 

“Batterers, rapists, serial killers, and child sexual abusers have victimized animals. They do so for a variety of reasons: marital rapists may use a companion animal to intimidate, coerce, control, or violate a woman. Serial killers often initiate violence first against animals. The male students who killed their classmates in various communities in the 1990s often were hunters or known to have killed animals. Child sexual abusers often use threats and/or violence against companion animals to achieve compliance from their victims. Batterers harm of kill a companion animal as a warning to their partners that she could be next; as a way of further separating her from meaningful relationships; to demonstrate his power and her powerlessness”(The Sexual Politics of Meat, 56-57).

In so many films I have seen animals mutilated by male serial killers, child sexual abusers, rapists, and batterers. It is like the beginning for them. They know that in our society killing an animal isn’t a big deal, people do it every day, especially those who hunt. It is their way of feeding into this dark side, while still blending in to society. It’s disgusting, and usually the type of movie that is difficult for me to get through, but I realize that these things happen every day in our society. It is hard to understand how a human can get so much pleasure out of hurting an innocent animal, but I think it is about control. They so these terrible things to other humans because they like the power they feel, the rush, but personally I don’t understand how someone like that can live with themselves.

 

“Another viewpoint for considering disgust at the thought of meat is to recognize that the person expressing the disgust may have associated the form meat with the absent referent, the dead animal. The girl’s objections to eating meat may be related to their dislike of the idea of eating animals (The Sexual Politics of Meat, 173).

Reading this made me think back to the scene where Yeong-hye was at dinner with her husband and his coworkers. They all thought she was the “other” because she wouldn’t eat anything provided because it contained meat. One person was uncomfortable thinking that Yeong-hye believed they were disgusting for eating meat, which is interesting because I’m sure that if anything Yeong-hye would be more uncomfortable than them seeing as she has to watch them eat dead animals, and have little to no food to consume herself.

 

One thought on “Eating Animals & The Sexual Politics of Meat.

  1. EXCELLENT post. Thoughtful and engaging to read.
    We should’ve looked at that scene in White Chicks that you talk about! I haven’t seen it!

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