This may be the most appallingly cooked-on-the-bone headed piece of vegetarian propaganda the Prick has ever seen. Writing in the hastily-renamed Lady Pages of the Sydney Morning Herald, one Alecia Simmonds has given us the excuse for this site’s first-ever Fisking:
Voiceless is marking March 18 to 24 as Meat-free Week, a week where we should all go ‘cordon vert’ and give peas a chance.
And in our delightful post-vegie stack era, it’s not too difficult to commit. Who wouldn’t opt for the transcendental delights of a truffle and taleggio pizza over meat-lover’s supreme? Who wouldn’t want to emulate sexy celebrity veg-heads like Gaga, Morrissey or Natalie Portman?
Gaga? Not even “Lady” Gaga? Is dropping the title some sort nod towards anti-monarchism, or do you need a refresher course in Richard Glover’s Rule #3?
And if you think Morrissey is sexy, well, I can’t really help you.
There are many reasons to adopt a vegetarian diet. If you’re worried about your health, a study in the British Medical Journal found that vegetarians have 40 per cent less risk of cancer.
Um, the science on this one isn’t exactly, well, settled.
If you have a sense of empathy, then think about the fact that factory farming is the number one cause of animal cruelty in Australia, resulting in the suffering of more than 500 million animals a year. And if you’ve noticed our impending environmental apocalypse, then why not heed the UN’s official position that a shift to veganism would help save the planet from the worst effects of climate change.
If factory farming is your, ahem, beef, then buy all the free-range eco-stainable meat you like. That’s the modus operandi here at Stately Prick Manor, more because a heritage Berkshire Black pig is going to make a better pork belly than some creature contract-bred for Coles, but yes, it is also nicer to support small producers who treat their beasts nicely.
Yet I admit that convincing as these arguments are, they’re hard to remember when you’re confronted with the unholy combination of beer and your local kebab shop at three in the morning. Some of us need more. And where better to look than to our sage fore-sisters who since the 19th century have been explaining how feminism and vegetarianism go together, much like goat’s cheese, roast pumpkin and pine nuts.
Here are five reasons why feminists should try to eliminate meat:
1. Eating meat is associated with male power in its most vile and repugnant forms.
In a logic that sounds positively mystical, real men, we are told, should be physically strong and virile, which means killing and eating strong animals.
This is why cookbooks aimed at men focus on the barbecue. Anything less might turn them into gay homosexual fops. For instance, the Newtown killer used a rifle manufactured by a company called Bushmaster. Upon purchase, Bushmaster offers you a “man card” that is revoked if you’re caught, among other things, “eating tofu”. Why? Because real men eat meat. Sissies do not.
There is so much wrong with this it is hard to know where to begin. Perhaps with the blood libel: If you eat meat, you’ve got to wear a bunch of dead schoolchildren on your conscience? What a bizarre and offensive perversion of language and logic.
Ms Simmonds’ point here also explains why April Bloomfield got in so much trouble for her book, A Girl And Her Pig: It wasn’t that she was posing with a dead animal. No, by Ms Simmond’s logic, she was betraying the sisterhood by cooking “dude food”.
And what is this idea that cookbooks aimed at men solely focus on the barbeque? Or that any other sort of cooking might turn them into “gay homosexual fops” (not that there’s anything wrong with that). Is Gordon Ramsay a “gay homosexual fop”? Heston Blumenthal? Neil Perry? The cookbooks I own are all pretty serious affairs, and almost all of them are authored by men. Men, gay and straight, do a lot of cooking – real cooking – these days, often most or all of it in their respective households. Wasn’t feminism supposed to encourage us to get into the kitchen and share the load?
Or is that now a problem because guys are having fun with it?
If the fact that as I type these words, Mrs Prick – a successful career woman in her own right – sleeps in while five kilograms of chicken bones and wings roast in the oven (eeeek!) to be turned into stock this afternoon makes me not a “liberated man” but a “gay homosexual fop”, well, I guess the Prick’s getting his own float in next year’s Mardi Gras parade.
(And won’t they be disappointed when they discover the Prick is just a food blog.)
2. The ill treatment of animals makes the abuse of women tolerable. Following on from my first point, if men get to eat the meat, then women, alas, are consigned to the less savoury role of being the meat.
Um, I’m not going to even go there …
3. Vegetarians, like feminists, care about language. Violence is made possible through euphemistic or derogatory words that distance us from the feelings of the victim. Just as calling a baby cow “veal” makes it more appetising, so too does calling a woman “slut” make it easier to abuse her. We say chicken leg, rather than leg of a chicken, because it helps us not to think of the dead animal, and we say foie gras rather than force-fed geese with exploding livers because the latter is rather off-putting.
This is insane. Anyone who’s spent any time near academia knows that to say that “feminists” (or subscribers to any other PC “ism”) “care about language” is to engage in NewSpeak. The professional victim classes care about language only in so far as they can use it to police debate and use it as a cudgel to shut and shout down their opponents.
We also say “suckling pig” and “leg of lamb”, and it don’t get much more direct than that, does it?
4. Feminists and vegetarians share a common project of ending discrimination based on arbitrary distinctions.
More academic silliness. Does she also subscribe to Peter Singer’s “Heavy Petting” logic?
5. Feminists and vegetarians believe that the personal is political. Just as we tell male partners that the minutia of who unpacks the dishwasher each night really matters, so too do we need to remind ourselves that what goes into our mouths also matters.
What about female partners? Don’t they get a hectoring, too? But seriously, anyone who’s been in a real grown-up relationship knows that focusing on who unpacks the dishwasher very quickly leads to washing up a solitary plate every night in a lonely studio apartment. And the whole idea that “the political” needs to invade every aspect of one’s personal life and vice versa is not liberating, it’s totalitarian.
There may be plenty of reasons to go vegetarian. This site subscribes to none of them, but as with religions (and vegetarianism, like its close cousin environmentalism, often little more than a non-theistic faith for post-modern urbanites) if that’s your thing, fine. But don’t push it on the rest of us, and please, have some internally consistent logic. Ms Simmonds fails on both counts.
Now excuse me, I’ve got to get those birds into the pressure cooker …