Feminists and vegans both aim to reduce suffering, battle objectification, restore dignity, and ultimately, prevent violence. So should all vegans be feminists, and all feminists be vegans?
Karolina Skowron, of Polish group the Albert Schweitzer Foundation, argues the historical abuse of women and animals has many undeniable similarities.
She believes solidarity between animal rights advocates and feminists is vital to achieve similar goals.
“Animals and women both live in systems of violence in which their bodies serve somebody else. If we allow any group or species to be objectified we agree to objectification itself,” she said.
Domestic abuse is extremely under-reported across the globe, and there are relatively low convictions. Skowron argued this often leaves women powerless in fighting their abusers, in a similar way to animals.
“Animals obviously can’t file a lawsuit, can’t seek help by themselves,” Skowron said.
“The mechanism of violence is the same no matter who the victim is. It is caused by the perpetrator’s sense of power over their weaker victims.
“To end violence against women we must end all kinds of violence because it is all interconnected,” said Skowron, who is on a battle to align feminism and the animal rights movement.
While many women are victims of violence from men, females also bear the brunt of animal abuse.
“Female animals are also treated slightly differently because of their sex. The tortures that they have to go through are different, they’re long lasting,” Showron explained.
Female animals are commonly subjected to continued pregnancy and separation from their babies.
“There’s a normalisation of rape culture. Female animals are objectified to an even greater degree than male animals because they are not only consumed, but are also used as producers, as incubators.
“They live life in disastrous conditions and ultimately end up on a human’s plate as well. Should we consume the bodies of raped and tortured animals?”
The objectification of women in popular culture has parallels with society’s portrayal of animals.
“We women are treated as sexual objects, but animals are treated as things, as objects to be consumed or for clothing, entertainment and painful experiments,” Skowron continued.
“They are shown as the happy cows, the happy chickens, the happy pigs who are there to offer you their own flesh or their own milk and eggs.”
Degrading language is a key stage between objectification and violence.
“When someone becomes an object it becomes OK to hurt them. How can you hurt a thing? Language has a very funny way of belittling harm done to women and animals,” Showron said.
“When we belittle sexual harassment we often say things like ‘boys will be boys’, ‘don’t be so dramatic’, ‘it’s a compliment’, ‘it’s just what men do’ ‘what was she wearing that night?’,’she was asking for it’.”
This is similar to normalising language used referring to animals, such as ‘organic meat’ or ‘humane killing’.
“Can any killing really be humane? Is it not the same oppressive language we use towards women, and when we call dead animals meat? When we count them in kilos or tonnes instead of individuals?”
To achieve full equality could be seen as an inconvenience to those with privilege. Statistically women have lower pay, fill fewer leading political and business positions, while men perform less household chores.
Showron said: “It’s extremely inconvenient to acknowledge the full equality of women and men in society because this would mean fewer privileges and more obligations.
“Is it not the same with animals? Animals are capable of feeling pain. They are subjective complicated beings that have their own needs, their own emotions, an internal life and a social life.
“If we were to acknowledge this fully as humans would it not mean we would have to completely change our ways?”
Full acknowledgement would force to change what we wear, consume and do for entertainment.
“Ending objectification of animals is not just inconvenient for the meat lobby or industry, but for society as a whole, as is the full equality for men and women,” Skowron added.
Do you think veganism and feminism should form an alliance? Tell us in the comments section below!
Vegan culture, food, beauty & more
- Totally Vegan Buzz Team
- July 23rd, 2019
The wonderful vegan community is filled with individuals from all different kinds of backgrounds and lifestyles, each with their own unique story and path to veganism. At Totally Vegan Buzz we felt it was about time to celebrate how far we’ve come and prove to the world that #AnyoneCanGoVegan! From ex-butchers and hardcore carnivores to …
- Oli Gross
- July 18th, 2019
Game of Thrones had viewers around the world well and truly under its spell for the spectacular final season this year. The show, based on George R. R. Martin’s novels, has gripped audiences with its endless plot twists, complex characters, nudity, gore and violence. But despite the show’s abundance of unsavoury characters, the cast is …
All the quizzes you love to binge!
- Marlon Farrugia
- August 15th, 2019
It’s Vegan Trivia 2! You all liked our first quiz so much that we’ve made this one bigger, harder, and with even more unexpected semi-obscure pop culture references. You know what to do: Marlon Farrugia Marlon Farrugia is a freelance writer from Brighton. He has been a dedicated vegan for many years, and animal rights …
- Marlon Farrugia
- August 15th, 2019
Do what you love, so they say, and you’ll never work a day in your life. Tell us what you love, and we’ll tell you what to do. By playing this quiz, you enter into a legally binding contract and agree that you must immediately quit your current job and switch to the one we’ve …
- Marlon Farrugia
- August 1st, 2019
Whether you find grocery shopping a creative exploration or a harrowing ordeal, there’s no denying that a person’s food choices say something about them. So, tell us how you like to shop, and we’ll tell you where your vegan soul resides. Marlon Farrugia Marlon Farrugia is a freelance writer from Brighton. He has been a …