Fifteen Questions For Carol J. Adams

David E. Stein

Carol J. Adams

Carol J. Adams, author of The Sexual Politics of Meat and The Pornography of Meat, drew fame in feminist-vegan-theory circles when she linked “species” oppression to gender oppression. She argues that the objectification of women and animals follow similar patterns: both the fairer sex and the four-legged set are sexualized, dehumanized and finally abused. FM caught up with her after she spoke at Quincy House and at the Law School last week.

1. You were billed across campus as a “feminist-vegetarian theorist” offering an “ecofeminist analysis of the interconnected oppressions of sexism, racism, and speciesism.” In your presentation in the Quincy House dining hall last week you called asparagus a phallic symbol and said parsley was representative of pubic hair. Should we really take you seriously?

Since when is a cigar only a cigar and an asparagus only an asparagus? Most people aren’t willing to look at things other than how we have been trained to look at them. Images that are in our face naturalize oppression, and re-enforce dominance by animalizing women and feminizing nonhuman animals—serving them both up as consumable.

2. The rock group Consolidated sings a song with you on their album Friendly Fascism. Do you consider yourself a friendly feminist?

All arrangements were accomplished with a handshake and a smile.

3. You feature a variety of pornographic images in your books and presentations. Has anyone ever come to one of your talks and been disappointed to find ecofeminism?

Yes, and that’s why we no longer have the pay-as-you-exit fee arrangement.

4. You coined the phrase “anthropornography.” Can you define that term, with reference to the popular science fiction series “Animorphs”?

Anthropornography is the depiction of non-humans as prostitute-animals who desire to be eaten. From this month’s Vanity Fair with a dead chicken in high heels, to the “Turkey Hooker,” animals’ suffering is made into sexualized fun. With anthropornography the inequality of species conveys the inequality of gender; desire hides dominance. While vegetarians, vegans and animal activists are accused of anthropomorphizing animals—of projecting human qualities onto nonhuman animals—it seems that really it is meat eaters and anthropornographers who do this. Animal activists know that animals are like human beings because human beings are animals. “Animorphs,” through its sympathetic magic theme, suggests this truth too.

5. I would ask you your favorite anthropornographic animal, but I feel like that would lead to a lesser-of-two-evils situation. So: if you could choose any anthropornographic character to punch in the face, which would it be?

Personally, I believe in nonviolence, but some of my friends have offered to take down Hugh Heifer for me.

6. Do you have any pets?

I have pet peeves, pet subjects, pet grudges, but no companion animals.

7. Do you object to wild animals killing and eating each other?

It’s always fascinating how meat eaters become consumed with the eating habits of wolves and lions and hyenas when we start discussing how farmed animals are raised in warehouses, fed newspapers and recycled body parts of other herbivores, then slaughtered. Let’s see, is it wolves or human meat eaters who could live on tofu, tempeh and other vegetable protein?