Carol J. Adams Readings

So where to start with these readings…

While I, and probably a lot of readers see her views as somewhat radical, I do see a lot of the points she was trying to convey from her vegetarian / feminist lens. Especially when it came to food and gender. Throughout both readings she had more than ample examples to illustrate her points pertaining to the obvious ties between masculinity and “meat” our culture has formed. These readings also help make ties and connections between “The Vegetarian” and gender/food.

For instance, in the Sexual Politics of Meat section of “Eating Animals”, she point out some irony that I guess I always overlooked when she goes on to talk about how it’s always “anorexic, white, female bodies” that are used as symbols to sell the exact opposite in the equivalency of food, aka “meat”. I mean, I realized sex sells with those stupid Hardee’s commercials, but her blunt, almost disturbing wording, lays out the irony so illustratively. I was was kind of taken back that I hadn’t made that connection.

Sometimes though, I felt she used assumptions, or I guess stereotypes, to get her points across. With statements like, “Men who decide to eschew from eating meat are deemed effeminate…” or “One’s maleness is reassured by the food he eats.” Okay, she’s not a male. How would she be able so firmly say things like that? I’m a male that lives with a girlfriend of 5 years that she’s been vegan for three of which we’ve been dating. I watched her whole transition. I watched family question it. I watched family accept it. I watched her struggle at times. Yet I constantly see her happy in the end though, because she’s able to make her own choices and not be swayed by popular culture. And as her boyfriend, and simply as just another individual, I can completely respect her choices. It even prompted me to question my own eating habits, but I sure as hell did not question my masculinity when I decided to add more greens into my diet. You can have a “man-sized” bowl of salad or man-sized bowl of pasta, terms like that do not have to limited to solely men or meat, in my opinion.  With some of the points she tries to make really feels like she’s gripping at straws with her argument there.

When I started thinking about these readings in context of “The Vegetarian”, I was able to recount moments in Han Kang’s story where Yeong-hye where Adam’s feminist perspectives were exemplified. In the “Mongolian Mark” section, Yeong-hye was basically treated like a slab of meat. The brother-in-law totally uses her to his advantage. He turns her into his own personal canvas out of his creepy obsession. This can be paralleled with the point Adams makes in her “The Rape of Animals, the Butchering of Women”. Animals are technically slaughtered, broken down, packaged, and renamed to sell more meat-products to larger crowds. Even though Yeong-hye [arguably] agreed on her own free will, her body was turned into something else (a canvas) all in the sake of the desires of the brother-in-law.


{Work in Progress}

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