Posts Tagged Lori Gruen

Vegan=Ecofeminist?

Being vegan means more than just “Saving the animals!” or “Saving the Earth!” It’s not just about being a PETA member or choosing a diet that is environmentally sustainable and will give you a great looking body. After reading Lori Gruen’s piece “Women and Animals” in Ecofeminism: Women, Animals, Nature” I came to understand that abstaining from eating animals in one’s diet is also an ecofeminist action. In her essay, Gruen explores patriarchy’s connection of women and animals, saying that men have historically considered both to be “tools devoid of feelings, desires, and interests,” creating a distinction of women and animals both as different from and inferior to man. Ultimately, this separation links the oppressed entities to the other and justifies man’s infliction of pain and death onto both, whether manifested as factory farming or sexual violence.

I’ve been vegan for about six months now. I originally became vegan for health reasons; for me personally, clearing out all of the edible “clutter” helped me to see what was actually nutritional and my diet became much more balanced. Before reading Gruen’s article I had never considered my dietary decision, which as one with ecofeminist implications. When I refuse to consume animal products (meat, eggs, dairy and its derivatives), I am rejecting the historical, interlocking oppression of women and animals. Women are not animals, to be used and abused for the sake of man. Nor should human interaction with animals be devoid of respect.

A vegan diet is an interesting ecofeminist action, although not easy for all to access because of class distinctions. Yes, it has environmental impact by reducing the amount of carbon, water, oil, and other aspects of land and energy to produce the food a vegan consumes. Yes, it means less violence against animals. It also has other ethical and philosophical implications, which Ramsay Pierce, a fellow Ecofeminist blogger, talks about in one of her posts. Being vegan is so clearly ecofeminist because it involves all of these different intersections, but also because it inherently rejects the patriarchal, destructive linkage of women and animals.

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The Intersections of Veganism

Being vegan has both gendered and racialized intersections and I will explore both. What kinds of people are choosing to be vegan? Why? From my prior knowledge and beginning research I have found a difference between the reasoning behind the black women and white women choosing a vegan lifestyle. I understand that studying these two areas might create a binary. However, I understand that there are many various racial and cultural identities of women that affect there food choice. For the brevity of this study I will focus on black and white women. I would also like to focus on the barriers to veganism: negative connotations of the word, images in the media and organizations such as PETA, lack of resources (economic and access to whole and healthy foods). A third and final focus of my final paper will be the effects of veganism on families and communities. As consumers, women are central decision makers and influencers on families and communities.

Here are some sources I have either already explored or plan to explore as I continue my research:

 Skinny Bitch by Rory Freedman and Kim Barnouin

The Kind Diet by Alicia Silverstone

Eating Animals by Jonathan Safran Foer

Sistah Vegan by A. Breeze Harper

Charles Patterson

Marjorie Spiegel

Patricia Hill Collins

Bitch magazine

Lori Gruen- Women and Animals class readings

vs.

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