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Comment thread blows up when veganism & feminism is compared

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The ties between feminism and veganism are substantial, but not as substantial as the discourse between pieces on feminist vegans and the comment threads below them.

Daily Mail Australia explored the story of Madison Griffiths, a young feminist who found her way to veganism through understanding the objectification of human and non-human women. The Melbourne artist shares a similar perspective to many, who view the production and promotion of meat and dairy to be dominated by male driven desires for conquest, control, and consumption. But while she was busy advocating her position (originally in The Sydney Morning Herald), the comment section below this post was blowing up with more sexism, misogyny, and derogatory proof that this connection is being inappropriately shunned.

It’s doesn’t take much to understand why women connect to dairy cows facing the rape rack or having their children removed. Likewise, most will agree that women face unmatched scrutiny to look and be certain ways to appease others, as furthered by the media and public at large. Add to that the blatantly publicized animal activism efforts that includes scantily clad women, or women portraying naked, bloodied victims that are just about everywhere, and you have a cocktail of messages that say yup, women are meat, too. But in case you’re on the fence as to whether or not people truly believe this opinion doesn’t matter, find comments like:

“Sounds like a very confused ‘mixed up’ female!”

“Oh please be quiet you silly, silly girl.”

“This woman is an imbecile deperately seeking attention. Somone get her psychiatric help. She needs it.”

“It’s not men who you should be concerned about because if you look at this paper on the right hand side it’s filled full of “women” showing off side boobs, full frontal. cleavages etc. So NO it is not MEN but women are their own downfall!!!!!!!!!!!!”

”Our bodies have been seized by men”! Some might have but this plain Jane is kidding herself!”

I don’t know what’s more impressive, people telling her to be quiet, people shaming Griffiths for how she’s feeling, writing off her opinions as mental disability, or men insinuating that she’s not pretty enough to be objectified. Or maybe it’s the fact that each individual comment has another 50-60 people throwing their support behind it (by way of an upwards arrow vote). This entire thing is a confused mess of men and women uncomfortable with the mirror being held up to their actions. The reaction ends up being an extension of her beliefs, and validity that this subject matter needs coverage and understanding.

Then again, this re-post itself was shared in a section of the Daily Mail called “femail,” that already negligently feeds in to the bullshit propaganda that Griffiths is trying to speak out against. Not to mention the multitude of posts on celebrity midriffs and busty reality stars that align the borders of the site, in view at all times of this piece. They add the opinion of feminist academic Dr. Dee Michelle like fuel to fire, and she argues that giving up meat in protest of culturally dominant male attitudes is a sexist stance itself (yes, a woman telling another woman not to be sexist towards men). While she argues some “feminist men” may take offence to Griffiths simplicity in calling out all men, she misses that the original writing describes the dominant group of classically at the forefront white men and rejects what she calls “oppression olympics.” This isn’t about who suffers the worst, or whom is more deserving of our attention. This is one woman enacting her own protest harmlessly through veganism, and inspiring others to make the connection for themselves.

The Abolitionist Approach rejects sexism like Griffiths, believing that as long as we continue to treat women like meat, we will continue to treat nonhumans as meat. Similarly, Griffiths is quoted saying “Whilst the system’s prime concern is in ensuring masculinity is content and pleased, neither gender equality or animal equality will ever exist.” This act against objectification of human and non-human animals is commendable, and an obvious target for trolls. Her triumphant celebration of eating for herself  instead of the attitudes or opinions of others is as courageous as her decision that nasty comments aren’t worth keeping quiet or neglecting animals for either.

Remember friends, do you, and don’t feed the trolls. Go vegan, and don’t let the mesmerizing hypnotism and brainwashing of others slow you down. 

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  • I ran into the same type of thing when I posted AbVegan comments on the now-defunct message board on Everyday Feminism. I also see the same thing when I post AbVegan comments in many atheist groups.

    We have to remember that just because someone *claims* to prize logic and justice doesn’t mean they won’t react in a totally selfish and morally confused way when their own inconsistent but deeply held beliefs are challenged. This is why we need to refrain from trying to target *only* people who we think are “the type of people who would be more susceptible” to our educational efforts. We need to educate regardless of gender, ethnicity, class, etc. and let the chips fall where they may, so to speak.

  • Mark Caponigro

    The current regime of animal exploitation, serving the customary or traditional (and nevertheless unnecessary) diet of animal-sourced foods of the great majority of human beings, has historical roots way back in prehistory, when the hunter/gatherer lifestyle was replaced by herder/pastoralist practices, supplementing plant agriculture. And it has been noted by both male and female observers that those practices are intimately connected to male-dominated and male-favoring structures of authority, in society, religious cults, and politics. One such observer whom I most admire is Will Tuttle, author of “The World Peace Diet.”

    So of course to those who are lazy, and care nothing for sound argument, but only for defending cherished prejudices, it offers itself as an easy rhetorical tactic to discredit the author of an opinion they dislike as being a “silly girl.” Or rather, not just discredit, but bully. That is disgraceful; and I very much hope Madison Griffiths and other women who express opinions similar to hers will find the strength and courage to endure all the unpleasantness that is flung at them.

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