Tag Archives: Linked Oppression

The Butchering of a Pig, The Rationalizing of a Human

There are a few feminist websites I read regularly and Jezebel Magazine is one of them. Here’s a headline that greeted me the other day as I was taking my daily stroll through their site:

“I Fulfilled a Lifelong Dream and Butchered a Pig.”

First, in the words of Oprah Winfrey as told in a story by actor Alan Cumming: “You gotta get bigger dreams.”

Second, in my experience and despite the stereotype, vegans don’t offend easily (if cognitive dissonance levels were measured like radiation when it comes to animal suffering, we’d never leave the house). It’s not easy to shock us because we’re basically appalled daily by the staggering contradictions of animal treatment in our world. Continue reading

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Serving Suffering To Relieve It Makes No Sense

One form of animal use I find particularly repugnant are charity fundraisers that serve or cook animals “for a good cause”. Not only does it use the tired rationale employed by humans to justify the way we treat certain animals – treatment that should not be questioned if it furthers a human agenda or desire – but serving someone’s suffering to raise money to alleviate another’s is about as senseless as it gets.

We see fundraisers like this all of the time: from annual BBQ’s to bake sales to black tie events that cost hundreds of dollars a plate. Organizations from hospitals to private corporations use food as a way to raise funding for charity.  I mean, we all have to eat, right? Sure. But we don’t have to eat suffering, particularly when the focus of a fundraiser is to raise money to end it. Continue reading

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The Hardest Ceiling to Crack

Earlier this month when – and I still can’t believe it as I type these words – Donald Trump won the U.S. election, Hillary Clinton gave a moving concession speech the following day.  As I wrote over at my other blog, not many speeches made my politicians in my lifetime have moved me to tears but hers did. It was an emotional day.

A week later, there was a protest here in Toronto to speak out against Donald Trump and I decided to go. There’s a Trump Hotel downtown and, in what must be the shortest march ever, we walked from City Hall to the hotel (it took less than ten minutes, even with hundreds of people).  It may seem odd to march against the President of another country but Trump’s election will still affect us, as it will other countries. Plus, speaking out against his “victory” to the highest office in the land lets our Prime Minister know that we are not all onboard with Trump’s bullshit and to tread carefully when dealing with him on our behalf.

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Activism and the End Goal

I had the pleasure of attending Toronto’s Pride Parade this year and, for the third year in a row, marching with Mercy for Animals, one of the over 180 participants walking alongside so many other great organizations. For someone who hated parades even as a kid because of the crowds, it’s a testament not only to how much I believe in the work MFA is doing but to the genuine fun that is the Pride Parade. Obviously it was not always this way – Pride Week in Toronto evolved from the now-infamous 1981 Bathhouse Raids, where Toronto Police violently raided and arrested over 300 people from the LGBT community. It was only this year that the Toronto Police Chief issued a formal apology for those actions.

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Women and Animals

There’s a link between veganism and feminism.  I didn’t make this connection until a vegan friend casually said to me one day, “I think animal rights is a feminist issue too,” and my brain did a one-eighty.  Wait, what? How? “Well,” she said, “Take dairy cows. They’re all female, used strictly for their capacity to breed and produce milk, and then slaughtered when they can no longer do either.” Suddenly the connection seemed so obvious.

Women, like animals, are constantly objectified in our world, and often at the same time (ever see an attractive woman in the same ad for wings or burgers? In these cases, both become a form of meat to be consumed – the woman with our eyes, the animal with our mouths).  Carol J. Adams wrote an entire book linking these two oppressions – The Sexual Politics of Meat – and made famous the term for it: the absent referent. Continue reading

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Linked Oppression

Credit goes to my husband, Julian, for the title of this blog.  Even though he didn’t coin the phrase, he used it when a co-worker made fun of the animal rights t-shirt he wore during Toronto Pride week back in June of this year.  The shirt shows six of the PETA bunnies in a row, each one a different colour that represents the Pride Rainbow. Underneath it says: Rights for All.  When his co-worker “jokingly” said to Julian, “So, you want rights for gay rabbits?”  Julian said to his colleague, a gay man, “No, I want rights for all, just like the shirt says. Linked oppression – you know about those, right?” Julian and his colleague have known each other for years so the ribbing goes on fairly frequently.  But I loved Julian’s response.  Not only because it shut his colleague up but it summed up so much.  As Martin Luther King, Jr., once said (a quote I’ve mentioned before), “Injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere.”

It is only since becoming a vegan that I have been able to make this connection; I really didn’t see it before.  I think it’s difficult to as an omnivore and I think this blind spot is the same reason that people see animal activists as not caring about humans or human problems.  I now understand that if animals are given personhood and rights under the law, how much better of a chance would women, immigrants, the elderly, children, people with disabilities and other minorities have?  If the lowest of the low – animals – are finally seen and declared as living beings that deserve protection from harm and freedom to live, how then could we not also grant that same recognition to marginalized humans already considered “above” them? Continue reading

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