Carol J. Adams: The Sexual Politics of Meat Slideshow

Tuesday, October 13, 2015
Assembly Hall

Tuesday, October 13, 2015


Assembly Hall

In honor of her landmark book’s 25th anniversary, Carol J. Adams will present her Sexual Politics of Meat Slideshow, which provides an ecofeminist analysis of the interconnected oppressions of sexism, racism, and speciesism by exploring the way popular culture presents images of race, gender, and species to further oppressive attitudes. It also suggests forms of resistance against the construction of individuals, human or non-human, as “meat.” Drawing upon images from popular culture, it answers the question: how does someone become a piece of meat?

The slide show demonstrates how a trinity of interrelated forces–objectification, fragmentation, and consumption–impact our cultural and personal consciousness about women and animals. It introduces the concept of the absent referent through autobiography and then systematically applies an analysis of how it functions to explain the animalizing of women in contemporary cultural images and the sexualizing of animals used for food. It draws upon images that have been sent from around the world, and is constantly being updated as it tracks changes in popular culture.

Among the issues the slide show addresses are:

  • Sexualized fragmentation. Fragmented body parts of animals who will be eaten depicted in such a way that thoughts of women as sex objects are clearly evoked as well. Breast and thighs advertised on menus, as well as specific examples like “We serve the best legs in town,” draw upon the patriarchal fixation on women’s body parts.
  • Animals feminized/sexualized. Animals presented in poses and clothes human females are represented in our culture (svelte legs, a “chick” in high heels, often animals posed like women, animals who are four-legged made to appear both “sexy” and bipedal, animals in bikinis). “I ate a pig…” Exactly who are they referring to?
  • Connecting flesh eating and other forms of animal oppression to prostitution and pornography (“strip”, “buck-naked”, “Live Nude Lobsters!”, and the “Happy Hooker,” etc.).

About the Author

Carol J. Adams writes, “I nurtured my first book idea for fifteen years before it was published as The Sexual Politics of Meat. I learned the importance of incubation, of perseverance, and having faith in myself as a writer. My activism involves the heart-piercing experience of working for social justice (which includes justice for nonhuman animals) and against domestic violence, homelessness, racism, and violence against animals. Since 1996, I have maintained a daily journal practice that has transformed my writing and anchored my activism. For the first decade of the twenty-first century, I was deeply involved in providing care to three elderly people. I am currently completing a book about this experience.

“My spouse, the Rev. Bruce A. Buchanan, is the Executive Director of The Stewpot in downtown Dallas. I volunteer there on an exciting new urban development project that is building community at the crossroads of creativity and caring.

“I love cooking and sharing vegan meals, knowing that no animals were used in the preparation of the meal; in this way, cooking and sharing food embodies compassion.

“We live with two rescued dogs, Holly and Inky.”

Sponsored by the international House Global Voices Lecture Series, The University of Chicago Animal Welfare Society, Undergraduate Women in Philosophy, Upton’s Naturals, VegFund, Critical Inquiry, The Center for the Study of Gender and Sexuality, Program on the Global Environment, Animal Studies Workshop, Resources for Sexual Violence Prevention, Norman Wait Harris Fund, The Center for International Studies, and the Seminary Co-op Bookstore.

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