Scholar Carol Adams discusses feminism and vegetarianism

Pictures of naked women covered in raw meat brought new meaning to bad taste.Carol Adams, scholar, activist and author of “The Sexual Politics of Meat,” presented a slide show and discussed the close relationship between feminism and vegetarianism on March 1 in Founders Hall Gallery.

Students, faculty and interested members of the public packed into the small gallery to watch the presentation. Adams admitted that her goals were ambitious, but she hoped to create engaged scholarship and encourage activism in others.

Some of the slides contained pro-vegan logos such as “No one has ever died from mad-tofu disease” and other funny slogans that people have sent Adams over the years.

“In fact, if you see something and say to yourself ‘Carol would love this!’ please send it along to me,” Adams said.

However, most of the slides were advertisements, billboards and commercials that objectified both women and animals that fans sent to Adams. One image displayed a woman’s tan bikini-clad thigh pictured next to an equally alluring barbequed chicken thigh that looked exactly the same.

One of Adams’ main arguments was that women and meat are both portrayed as objects of pleasure for men. Adams had countless slides depicting women in subservient poses, especially when viewed from behind. Many of the advertisements had turkeys or pork products with logos like “great legs,” “look at those thighs,” and “hot and smooth, like a woman!”

“I agree with a lot of what Carol said, but she also made some correlations between women’s bodies and meat consumption that I hadn’t thought of before,” said junior Sara Eisenberg, who attended the presentation.

Adams introduced new phrases like “body-chopping,” a term used in advertising that means focusing on separate parts of the body, especially women’s. Much like the image on the cover of “The Sexual Politics of Meat,” it reduces a woman’s body to butchered parts; a smooth thigh here, a plump breast there, a juicy rump, and so on.

“Inequality is made tasty,” Adams said. She believes we must retrain ourselves to think that equality and empowerment are tastier than fried chicken and ribs.

Adams also introduced the expression “anthropornography.” She described it as the process of turning animals into whores. If the concept sounds absurd, Adams displayed equally strange photographic evidence. She had various slides of sexy pig-women with giant breasts in hot pants and high heels. These images are a favorite of barbeque and rib houses. There were also ads with sexy hamburgers, flirty chicken legs, and turkeys with long eyelashes and come-hither looks.

All of these are domesticated animals, the only type of animals that women are portrayed as. Men are almost always associated with wild and free animals. These are signs of what Adams calls the dominant humor. A naked woman stuffed between two burger buns is funny because it enables the oppressor.

If animals are inferior to men, then by portraying women as animals and animals as women, the two are equally inferior. Adams argues that this is both speciesism and sexism.

Adams concluded that there are a number of choices we can make to break these trends. She urged us, most importantly, to stop eating animals. However, giving up meat is easier said than done as many people find it hard or unnecessary.

“I personally don’t believe it’s unethical to eat animal,” said senior Sam Sklover. “Meat gives us the necessary proteins we need to be healthy.”

Something everyone can do is to watch out for demeaning advertising and to complain and boycott products that use offensive marketing.

“The slide show is consciousness-raising,” Adams said. “We all have the power to challenge sexual oppressions. Hopefully (after the slide show) you want to change your own behavior.