Meat is murder! Women are meat!

Twisty Faster over at I Blame the Patriarchy has just tipped me off to what may be the dumbest thing I’ve heard of since I found out about the people behind Tapout: a vegan strip club in my home town of Portland, Oregon. (The news articles about the story are stomach-churningly titled, not to mention unbelievably unreflective, but if you want to see them, click here, here, here, and here.) Portland, supposedly a bastion of lesbianism, left-wing sentiment, and several other things that scare the bejesus out of Lars Larson and his merry band of anti-seatbelt half-wit listeners, has no shortage of strip clubs. It also has no shortage of vegans. But where’s the connection? Was there really a vast pool of vegan men and non-feminist lesbian women that were missing out on their chance to degrade and commodify women’s bodies because they were too put off by the smell of buffalo wings? I know my fair share of vegans that are into having sex with women, and none of them are into strip clubs, so that can’t be it.

It seems that the dildo who opened the club, one Mr. Johnny Diablo (I can hear the rockabilly music now), thinks he’s going to use the club to promote his vegan ideals to carnivores. He apparently thinks he’s going to give samples of his Mexican-inspired meatless creations to the clients in hopes that the combination of blue balls and tasty treats will train them, Pavlov’s dogs-style, to want to give up meat. But not all meat: says Mr. D, “We put the meat on the pole, not on the plate.” Fuuuhck. PETA would love that shit. It goes great with their whole “using women’s bodies to tell people not to use animals’ bodies” campaign.

I’m a vegan apostate, but Portland’s vegan community has always impressed me. For a town so small, Portland does seem to have a lot of things going for it, including its own vegan grocery store (which I can’t even find in my own neighborhood in Manhattan) and an abundance of fairly well educated and thoughtful citizens, many of whom have figured out that killing and abusing animals isn’t cool. People in Portland are also much less obnoxiously impressed with themselves than San Franciscans and Seattlites, exhibiting almost none of the pretentiousness that makes me hate urban liberals (of which I am one, so don’t get mad). But maybe some of that pretentiousness would do these motherfuckers some good; somebody needs to point out to this dickwad that there is a bit of an ideological conflict between veganism and the human meat trade. I don’t know how convinced I am that I need to be a vegan in order to be a good feminist, but I do know that being a vegan and not a feminist is one of the most illogical stances one can take. I mean, basically, Johnny Diablo is saying that it’s not only OK to treat women with less respect than cows and chickens, but also that we should abuse women in order to convince people not to abuse cows and chickens.

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11 thoughts on “Meat is murder! Women are meat!

  1. I’m so with you. I’m not a vegan, but I’ve always been under the assumption that vegans were all liberals, otherwise – what’s the point in being a vegan? I see I was wrong =/


  2. Suprisingly, I find myself agreeing with you here. I’d classify myself as veg*n (I tend to walk the line between veggo/vegan), and when I grew to my awakening on animals rights it became very clear to me that using one disenfranchised group (women) to help another dienfranchised group (animals) just did not compute.

    The thing that annoys me more, is that living in a relatively small city is that the options for animal rights activism are fairly limited – but oh no, the local group wants to do lettuce leaf bikini demonstrations ala PETA which is where I put my foot down and just thought “fuck this shit.” I don’t really see how it’s going to help.


  3. I just discovered this blog and I love it! Your series on porn rocks as does the commentary on hideous messaging in advertising… and everything else I been reading here over the past few days.

    I’m glad to see at least a bit of space here dedicated to a critique of PETA’s hateful ad campaigns, however I sense a bit of reluctance to have-atter because PETA’s exploitation is in the service of a “higher cause”.

    I live in a small community in the north. I come from 10+ generations of hunters, small-farmers and fishers, folks who have been living pretty self-sufficiently from the same small area of land and sea for centuries.

    I am an artist (and for those with subconcious anti-rural bigotry who are thinking “she can’t be a very successful artist if she’s not urban” – I’ve been making a living at this for 30+ years, exhibit internationally on a regular basis. I left the city and came home because I COULD), a radical feminist and a hunter. I have had, for most of my life, the luxury of being an omnivore without having to buy products – animal or veg – from big agribusiness.

    I find, unfortunately, that because I hunt for meat, because I have served the meat of animals I have either tracked and shot, or bottle-fed and named when they were young, that my fellow left-liberals dismiss me as some sort of Sarah Palin wannabe. I’ve been attacked on other rad-fem blogs for daring to say that not all hunters are insecure violent macho assholes (some are, LOTS are not. In fact, that bullshit is called Poaching where I come from and it is not tolerated). It’s pretty dismaying.

    I hate the meat industry as much as the next person. However, it concerns me that propaganda like PETA’s ads, not only dehumanize women, they vilify members of some of the few remaining communities and cultures that live close to the resources that sustain them, people for whom those resources are part of their community. What scares me is that the well-intentioned ideas behind PETA’s politics bring us closer to a fantasy of the natural world that is no more like reality than Pamela Anderson’s face and body are “natural”. Anyone who has had the opportunity to live in a place where groceries are right outside the door in their original state, whether it’s the moose you hunt and kill in the fall to supply family, friends and neighbours with food for the winter, or the chickens in the yard, comes to realize that the functional application of animal rights is a fantasy that could only be conceived in a human-made environment and ultimately leads to the domestication of plant and animal species.

    PETA and others fit very nicely into a patriarchal construct (“virgin wilderness” anyone? Donate money to save a particular “beautiful” and “innocent” species over one that is actually endangered?). They not only reinforce ugly messaging to women about their appearance, they apply a beauty contest to nature, spending millions campaigning to save pretty and sexy animals and ignoring real species and habitats in crises.

    They are just another facet of the man-chine and it’s heartbreaking when people who care can’t see the difference.


  4. “What scares me is that the well-intentioned ideas behind PETA’s politics bring us closer to a fantasy”

    That is the case of all ideological groups, to a greater or lesser extent.

    Fortunately, though, not so many people pay attention to PETA as they could, because they are quite obviously batshit crazy. “Officially” changing the name from “fish” to “sea kitten”, for example.


  5. I used to be a member of PETA, but I left them and watched them fade away into the mist. I had a problem with their campaigns, but I figured that I’d rather exploit my physical form than do nothing to help the animals being tortured and eaten by elitist humins. People are pretty stupid and they tend to go for anything if it has tits and potentially good food.

    But I’m still a vegan/animal rights persun of joy and light, so mwaa *sticks out tongue*.

    And isme, what’s wrong with being crazy? I’m crazy and I’m pretty frikin’ fabulous if I do say so myself. Oh well, I’m sure you didn’t mean it. *hugs*


  6. Mr D’s phrase: “We put the meat on the pole, not on the plate” kinds of sums up why this is more trash against women.

    Nicely said Mr D…


  7. I’m a vegan and I agree with you, Nine, about vegans should be feminists too. A very interesting book that talks about the connections between feminism and animal rights is “The Sexual Politics of Meat.” I read it when I was young. I found it eye-opening.

    That man’s statement “We put the meat on the pole, not on the plate” is absolutely disgusting and I can’t believe so many people in that community are blind to just how creepy and degrading it is.


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