“As a male you’re not supposed to care, you’re supposed to be strong and virile,” Carol J. Adams said to about 150 students who gathered in the Quincy dining hall. “Our meat-eating culture teaches men to be macho.”
Adams presented a 75-minute slide show of advertisements and photographs that she said demonstrate how women are regarded as meat and how animals are sexualized by society.
“Animals are feminized and women are animalized. Inequality has been made sexy. Pornography shows that women are animals and want it like animals,” she said.
At one point during the talk, Adams asked for a volunteer to pose like a Versace model.
Audience members laughingly shouted out instructions.
“The reason we laughed was because of the idea of a man swimming in women’s waters. All women live in sexual objectification the way fish live in water and so do animals,” she said.
Adams stated that humans are taught from an early age to forget that meat was ever alive.
The average American consumes 984 chickens, 37 turkeys, 29 pigs, 12 cows, 2 lambs and one calf in a lifetime, Adams told the crowd.
“We aren’t made to recognize this,” she said.
Quincy House co-master Jayne Loader invited Adams to speak as part of the house’s “Masters’ Nights” series.
According to the Quincy House website, the events feature talks by faculty members and others on topics of general interest.
“I think she’s the most provocative and interesting theorist working in the animal rights field. She is the only theorist who makes the connection between the oppression of people and animals,” Loader said.
Loader added that this was the first time the one-year-old Masters’ Nights series had featured a speaker from outside of Harvard.
Prior to the talk, Adams talked to students in the Quincy House Master’s Residence.
The reception featured an all-vegan menu, including hummus and non-dairy brownies.