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MAY 30, 2007 3:18 PM

Carol J. Adams On The Sexual Politics of Meat
One of the most exciting aspects of veganism is the way in which it challenges one to think holistically about one's relationship to a wide variety of interconnected social justice concerns. While opponents frequently try to paint it as a myopic "one issue" cause, the reality is that veganism witnesses to the urgent need for social change not just in the ways that non-human animals are viewed and treated, but also in the ways that human beings are viewed and treated.

In her pioneering work on feminism, race, and vegetarianism, activist and social theorist Carol J. Adams is concerned, in particular, with articulating the structural and historical parallels between human and animal subjugation. Her guiding question, investigated at length in both The Sexual Politics of Meat and The Pornography of Meat, is that of how dominant culture succeeds in reducing "someone" (an irreplaceable, individual person or animal) into "something"-a consumable object or "mass term" in which all vestiges of the original "someone" are effaced.

Like many texts that question the domination of the status quo, Carol Adams' work is not exactly beach reading. But if you like a challenge, it might well change the way you look at bodies on the beach, be they those of scantily clad people basking in the sun or those of butchered "food" animals sizzling on the grill.