Archive for September 2008

Suheir Hammad

September 29, 2008

I hadn’t heard of Suheir Hammad until today, when I read an interview with both her and Gloria Steinem, which can be found here: http://nymag.com/anniversary/40th/50664/

Suheir is a feminist Palestinian American poet and activist. The above youtube video is a poem she wrote in the aftermath of 9/11. Look at the people’s faces as she’s speaking. Listen to this without other distractions in the background; it is a powerful piece.

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Update/Animal Abuse

September 23, 2008

Well, I haven’t written in QUITE a while.

I hope to get back into this on a regular basis in a couple of months. Right now, besides working full time, I am in the beginning process of trying to apply to grad programs. I’m interested in Public Policy programs that have strong Social advocacy backgrounds/emphases, with economic policy, as well as places that allow for certificates in women’s studies.

Anyway, enough about me. Just wanted to say that I haven’t abanonded the idea of this blog, but that I’m on hiatus while I try and get my things together.
In the meantime….I wrote this recently. It’s quite brief:

MISOGYNY AND ANIMAL CRUELTY GO HAND-IN-HAND

A week or so ago, PETA released horribly gruesome videos of farm workers beating and torturing pigs and piglets, on a farm that supplies Hormel products. The video, which I am not going to post, has circulated widely on the internet today, and can easily be found by a google search, if you can stomach it. Here are a couple links to news articles about the situation:
 
http://www.cnn.com/2008/US/09/16/abused.pigs.ap/index.html
 
http://www.bizjournals.com/twincities/stories/2008/09/15/daily18.html
 
For the record, I despise PETA. I think they exhibit racism and sexism, and their tactics tend to be more shocking and offensive than helpful. But animal abuse is NEVER okay, especially to this degree, and I think it’s important that they often bring it to light.
 
And what’s more, animal cruelty is typically tied to misogyny, whether in act or in thoughts, and it’s why feminism has a lot to do with it.
 
For example: PETA captured on tape a worker, who gets angry at sows, yelling: “I grab one of these rods and jam it in her [anus].” Sodomizing a pig, using tactics analogous to rape and torture, to exert power over another, one who is at a strength-disadvantage– sound familiar, feminists?
 
Here’s another example: a snippet from the CNN article: I hate them. These [expletives] deserve to be hurt. Hurt, I say!,” the employee yells as he hits a sow with a metal rod. “Hurt! Hurt! Hurt! Hurt! … Take out your frustrations on ’em.” He encourages the investigator to pretend that one of the pigs scared off a voluptuous and willing 17- or 18-year-old girl, and then beat the pig for it.
 
The employee who is beating the pig uses the image of a “voluptuous and willing” underaged girl as a motivation for animal abuse.
 
The cyclical culture of violence in our society undoubtedly has its roots in patriarchy and heteronormativism, and seeks to hurt and silence all those who are in perceived conflict with it.
 
It’s not new information that treatment of women and animals can often be tied together– bodies of work like Carol Adams’ Sexual Politics of Meat and Marjorie Spiegel’s Human and Animal Slavery highlight this concept, from the idea that women’s bodies have often been referred to as “meat” in the same way animal’s bodies have become, to how racism ties in with animal abuse. Still, this recent investigation by PETA shows additional ties between animal and female abuse.
 
This isn’t some plea to become a vegetarian– I am not one myself. But I do think it’s important to be vigilant about the relationship between animal and women’s rights, and to speak out against violence and cruelty in all arenas– animal or human. The PETA investigation of a Hormel farm is just one more example that cruelties are rooted in the same societal ills.