Animals and Women : Feminist Theoretical Explorations

An interesting book was published a few years back, and reviewed in the Times Literary Supplement. The book is “Animals and Women: Feminist Theoretical Explorations”, edited by Carol J. Adams and Josephine Donovan. The authors say, in their introduction:

“We believe that feminism is transformative philosophy that embraces the amelioration of life on earth for all life-forms, for all natural entities. We believe that all oppressions are interconnected: no one creature will be free until all are free – from abuse, degradation, exploitation, pollution, and commercialization. Women and animals have shared these oppressions historically, and until the mentality of domination is ended in all its forms, these afflictions will continue.”

The best chapter is surely the one by Karen Davies: “Thinking Like a Chicken: Farm Animals and the Feminine Connection”.

I quote:

“Often after one of her ordeals, in which her legs would get caught in her wings, causing her terrible confusion and distress, I would sit talking to her, stroking her beautiful back and her feet that were so soft between the toes and on the bottoms, and she would carry on the dialogue with me, her tail feathers twitching in a kind of unison with each of her utterances.”

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85 Responses to Animals and Women : Feminist Theoretical Explorations

  1. Maciano says:

    Cost-saving idea: merge mental institutions with gender studies departments.

    • Guille says:

      I think the mental patients would protest being associated with gender studies scholars

      • I am still giggling. I have worked in acute psychiatric emergencies for forty years, and am very concerned with stigma, mischaracterisation, misdiagnosis, and lack of empathy for those with serious mental illness. Let me quote Richard, a treatment-refractory schizophrenic who has assaulted me a half-dozen times but I still count as a friend.

        “I hear voices, but I’m not stupid!”

  2. Chickpea says:

    The reason progressives spend so much time convincing groups they’re oppressed is to coalesce them and make them their clients. Trying this on animals kinda misses the point.

    • Meagain says:

      As Tom Sowell once said: Few skills are so well rewarded as the ability to convince parasites that they are victims.

    • Reziac says:

      Not really; it’s an overlap with the ‘animal rights’ agenda, which is commonly used as a testing ground for Marxist ideals.

    • Leonard says:

      You’re right. Memes that develop power in democracy are the substance of progressivism. But the average prog is sincere; sincerity is fundamental to the success of their project. They are driven by the highest motives, and it would be difficult for them to sharply circumscribe their categories in a way instrumental to power. (I am sure they could if a reason existed to do so, but it would require intellectual effort.) Lacking a reason to do so, they don’t. Or as Moldbug put it:

      There is adaptive value in “applied Christianity.” That adaptive value derives from its domestic application. There is little or no adaptive value in restricting the principle to domestic clients, and it involves a level of conscious cynicism which is not compatible with the reality of progressivism. So the restriction does not evolve.

      And it’s not like a bit of crazy hurts them; indeed, it helps them in the sense that faking crazy is hard. It’s a shibboleth. Even if I wanted to be evil and cynically join the left for power, I’d most likely fail at it, exactly because I don’t believe in BS like this and therefore cannot easily fake it.

      • Nomen Est Omen says:

        Or as Moldbug put it…

        There are a lot of progressive lunatics who write better and more clearly than Moldbug. More honestly and rationally too.

  3. Conventionally one might say ‘I didn’t know whether to laugh or to cry’ but in this case the breathtakingly illusory prose deserves both: laugh until you cry.

  4. HerewardMW says:

    True and on topic story; a friend of mine once ran into an old girlfriend who had mental health issues and seemed dazed and confused. It transpired that she was on some type of medication after a breakdown. She explained that she had been in a relationship with a man who hunted and she “kept thinking about the animal fallen before the man and how it was sexual and couldn’t handle it”. She kept repeating “the animal fallen before the man…it’s sexual” until my friend decided to end the conversation with a leering look and “oh yeah, it’s REALLY sexual”. She fled in terror and he felt really guilty afterwards.

    Morals of the story:
    1. These ideas are often the sign of unstable minds.
    2. Don’t be an ass. You’ll feel bad about it later.

    • Glengarry says:

      And the unstable mind might be better off in a quiet institution.

    • Cantman says:

      So much of this seems to be caused by ideology rather than ideology being a response to a problem. The girl was clearly extremely turned on by the idea of her man killing animals and, rather than enjoying it like she should, became neurotic about it because her ideology was telling her this made her a bad person.

      • chris says:

        Like the religious puritans of old and enjoying sex.

      • So often, when women say A is an intrinsic quality of B, the truth is that B reminds them of A for reasons that have little to do with any intrinsic qualities of either. It can be difficult or impossible for them to distinguish between what’s inside their heads and what isn’t.

        Men aren’t entirely immune, just much less prone to it. When you explain the error, they know what you mean — or will admit to knowing what you mean.

    • Esso says:

      A guy killing and butchering big wild animals really is a turn-on for many women. You’re displaying the ability to be cruel and to provide. Your friend should have used this to his advantage instead of making fun of it.

      We are living in a time where many benign personal issues are medicalised. Better not be too picky!

    • TWS says:

      Never play to a delusion. Unless, literally there’s a gun pointed at you. And then it’s iffy. Just don’t do it. It’s not being an ass to refuse to play along with a delusion or insane ideas.

  5. Smithie says:

    Tangentially, I’m reminded of the PETA signs on the old college dining hall trying to link eating chicken eggs to having abortions.

    The idea amused me greatly, firstly for comparing man to chicken. Secondly, for willfully not understanding that a chicken egg is basically a giant, single cell, with half of the chromosomes of a somatic cell, and which the chicken sloughs off in return for room and board. Thirdly, that a chicken lays about 300/year, and if they were all actualized, they should quickly overtake the whole earth.

  6. dave chamberlin says:

    I’ve talked to chickens, they are wonderful enunciators, they sound like oxford dons. Ducks on the other hand speak nothing but a long sting of foul profanities. You don’t want to know what they are saying.

    • Jim says:

      You shouldn’t judge all ducks on the basis of Donald.

      • dave chamberlin says:

        You too can be Donald Trump in all his glory, all you have to do is live near a turkey farm. If you go up to the fence of a turkey farm hundreds to thousands of turkeys will crowd around you giving you their undivided attention. They are utterly silent while you speak and gobble up a storm as soon as you are done. The louder you are in your oratory the louder they are in response.
        “Who is paying for the wall?”
        And they all gobble back “the mexicans!”

        Sadly turkeys also behave like fat excited old men. Some of them drop dead of heart attacks.

        • Toddy Cat says:

          You are guilty of fat-shaming, ageism, and lookism, Comrade. The struggle session will begin shortly.

    • another fred says:

      Obviously anatidaphobic.

    • savantissimo says:

      And you’ll have to look a long time to find a snake as nasty as a swan.

    • That’s dethspicable!

  7. pyrrhus says:

    Unintentional self satire is the best…

  8. AppSocRes says:

    As I’ve gotten older and the hormones have ceased total rule over my brain, I’ve gradually realized that men and women are almost different species. Their reproductive strategies are so different that in effect the two sexes have been evolving partially separated from one another for the entire existence of the species. The thought processes of males and females are distinctly different. For example, if young men and women in our culture really understood the very different meanings each sex applies to the words, “I love you.”, I suspect that courtship would grind to a halt. It’s a miracle the species has survived.

  9. amac78 says:

    “…I would sit talking to her, stroking her beautiful back and her feet that were so soft between the toes and on the bottoms, and she would carry on the dialogue with me, her tail feathers twitching in a kind of unison with each of her utterances.”

    IMDB says that Rex Harrison, rather than Ms. Davies, got the role.

  10. Jim says:

    In comparison with this the Sokol Hoax paper seems like the height of rationality. The human capacity for stupidity is awesome. It’s hilarious and deeply depressing at the same time.

  11. epoch2013 says:

    Am I a specieist for calling this horse shit?

  12. Bob says:

    I guess she’s never talked to a gamecock.

  13. Toddy Cat says:

    I think the great weightlifting coach Mark Rippetoe has the best take on this:

    “Okay, have you ever been around chickens? They are stupid, uncooperative, inconvenient, ill-tempered creatures. They get what they deserve. **** chickens.”

  14. RCB says:

    Finally, a critique of Trump’s understanding of human evolutionary history. What we were all waiting for.

    Best quote: “Presenting a human evolutionary narrative over and over again in which male competition and female preference are the explanation for big, strong males is too narrow, too simple.”

    The “it couldn’t possibly be the way it appears to be” argument.

    I’d suggest that Greg critique this, but there’s almost nothing of substance to critique.

    • Jim says:

      It probably is a bit more complicated than purely male competition and female preference. For example if you are hunting mastodons with primitive weapons it probably is good to have a robust physique. On the other hand if you are a Mbuti pygmy climbing high trees in the jungle in search of bee honey or escaping from predators a robust physique might not be so advantageous.

    • gcochran9 says:

      Send it to me in an email ( I don’t subscribe to the WP.

      • jason says:

        I found the article by Googling “how donald trump got human evolution wrong”

        For some reason, I can click on the result and it doesn’t put it behind a paywall. Also, other sites show up that carry it like this one (not formatted as nicely):

        She attacks Trump’s view on why Alpha males get all the chicks. The author, Holly Dunsworth, is an associate professor of anthropology …. so ….

        • Jim says:

          Well obviously as a lot of people here have pointed out if alpha males had always gotten all the chicks all males today would be alpha males. Trump’s views are rather simplistic.

          • If women preferred taller men, all men would be infinitely tall.

            Q.E.D. Women don’t care about height.

            • Jim says:

              Of course sexual selection plays a role in human evolution as does male sexual competition but it is certainly true that human evolution involves a lot more than sexual selection and male competition. Sexual selection for greater height in men is not the sole factor that determines male height. In the case of jungle pygmies the net effect of selection has been to decrease height.

            • RCB says:

              A better analogy: if women preferred taller men, all men today would be above average height.

              I agree of course that “sexual selection favors assholes” is too simplistic. Human males are actually very prosocial relative to chimp males. We (usually) help feed our kids, for example. (Someone correct me if I’m not giving male chimps enough credit.)

              • Jim says:

                And human males cooperate very well too. One type of cooperative behavior they are very good at is killing males belonging to different groups.

          • Ziel says:

            what Trump actually said in the article: “So guys, be cocky, confident, smart, and humorous…”

        • Pincher Martin says:

          I was expecting worse.

        • Ilya says:

          Only in the animal world. Until 19th century, “sexual selection” was virtually non-existent in civilized/quasi-civilized human societies, at least, as it pertains to females selecting males according to some physical/mental benchmark. People would get married off by parents, while the rest was junk, to be shipped off to the New World plantations (including the North American ones).

          The fact that “sexual selection” has, in the last century and a half, become a real factor is a sign of our decadent time, and a major contributor to dysgenics.

      • Cato says:

        If you have an edu email, you can get complete free access to the online WP.

  15. bb753 says:

    The author of “Thinking like a Chicken”, Karen Davis, is predictably some kind of chicken activist. According to Wikipedia, she’s president of United Poultry Concerns and mantains a sanctuary, presumably for her precious chickens and hens.

    • Reziac says:

      Couple years ago there was an interesting study of middle-aged women who had suddenly taken up the vegetarian banner, claiming that “meat smells bad” and progressing on to the usual animal rightist claptwaddle, meat is murder and save the chickens, yadda yadda.

      IIRC the study identified and did hormone profiles on 47 such women. ALL of those tested were found to be significantly estrogen-deficient.

      I theorize that “going vegetarian” is an instinctive attempt by the estrogen-deficient to add phytoestrogens (plant estrogens) to their diets, to make up for what their bodies cannot produce.

      Typically the root cause of low estrogen is hypothyroidism, which is made worse by phytoestrogen (which is a thyroid inhibitor), so it becomes a progressive spiral into poor physical and mental health (good brain health depends directly on having normal thyroid levels).

      BTW if you want to know what to avoid, the two biggest sources of phytoestrogen are flaxseed, and soy.

  16. luisman says:

    Next up, new legislative request from the DNC for the 2020 election:
    1.) Installation of petting zoos inside universities, free for all students of the humanities.
    2.) Free catfood for all women over 40.

  17. Samuel Hancock says:

    I am certain she has barely scratched the surface of this line of inquiry.

  18. Brendan says:

    Tom Nagel’s q “what’s it like to be a bat/bird?” answered. Sucks because patriarchy.

  19. Hugh Mann says:

    “all oppressions are interconnected: no one creature will be free until all are free – from abuse, degradation, exploitation”

    I wish she’d convince foxes of this undoubted truth, because all our chickens (and ducks) are dead. But chickens will eat insects, and insects will eat other insects, and so on…

  20. jason says:

    So they can care this much for a chicken, but can’t make a fella a sandwich?

  21. Greying Wanderer says:

    ““all oppressions are interconnected”

    The root of a lot of the current feminist insanity is PC culture allocates victim points based on oppression so as PC focuses more and more on color, White SJWs are being gradually pushed off the PC bus and as a result White feminists, homosexuals and general SJWs are clinging to the door handle by a) inventing oppressions and b) saying everything is connected.

  22. random observer says:

    You might wish to look into the work of Dr Astrida Neimanis of the University of Sydney. I discovered it earlier this year while googling the Latvian surname Neimanis for quite unrelated reasons.

    Her work focuses on the connections [??] among feminism, gender identity, sexuality, ecology, and the earth’s water cycle…

    I think I saw in her website the outlines of the Water Goddess religion that will dominate the 22nd century. Perhaps it will contend with worship of the Holy Hen goddess in a violent showdown for the souls of postmodern womyn and manserfs.

    • Sandgroper says:

      “Posthuman feminist phenomenology.” Words fail me. Sometimes I just want to claw my eyes out.

      Transhumanism I can see a point to. But I seriously doubt that is the definition of posthumanism that she is ‘working’ on.

      It’s really not surprising the Australian government has decided that the universities can make do with less money. The sad part is that, rather than just shutting down all of the useless detritus who produce absolutely nothing useful or helpful, the universities cut the STEM budgets.

  23. jd016 says:

    About women having mothering, nurturing instincts.. those social constructs sure are powerful.

  24. Ziel says:

    “We believe that all oppressions are interconnected: no one creature will be free until all are free”

    Personally I have trouble distinguishing this statement, in terms of vapidity, from Hillary’s recent proclamation that “LGBT rights are human rights, and human rights are LGBT rights”, except that the former may be one or two turtles down from the latter.

    • The proximity to reality of left wing proclamations is measured in turtles: X Turtles from some arbitrary point on an infinite line. It’s a different arbitrary point each time. It’s a very nuanced and intuitive system.

      The location of reality on the line is unstated; it may actually be on a different line.

  25. Ilya says:

    The umbrella term for this nonsense is “intersectional feminism”/”intersectionality.”

  26. AllenM says:

    What I find comical is the ability of people to make a living off of writing and delivering magical thinking to the serfs. Magical thinking is the entire problem with society, from the vast spewing networks of bs, to the endless amuse and entertain me to death of the internet. I find it amazing to see how much time people are now devoting to dead end propositions, and indeed changes that will destroy their comfy way of life.

    Comes the Destroyer, our own cotton candy view of the universe.

    Fools. When they call upon the strong to defend them, they will find no answer in the void.

    Chickens have been bred to turn into nuggets, nothing more, nothing less. As for the insanity of middle age, it is the loss of attention that drives women crazy.

    I find I want less and less company as I grow older. People are crazy, and having to note the irrational tripwires is a pain in the ass.

  27. Jim says:

    Karen Davies fortunately doesn’t have much power or influence in our society so she can provide some harmless amusement somewhat like a hollow-Earth enthusiast. What is truly frightening is a bat-shit crazy Pope like Francis.

    It is somewhat encouraging that Bill Gates seems to have experienced an attack of sanity judging by his remarks on African immigration into Europe.

  28. red domino says:

    Academic feminists have made at least one great discovery: in place of the tedious exercise of explaining your premises, just use the adverb “historically” to let the reader know that you know a thing or two about history. As it turns out, it’s impossible for you to doubt my historic oppression when I use the word “historic” to describe it. It has to do with history, you see. Don’t you know what history is? Are you dumb?

    Soon we will progress to the point that “scientific” and “scientifically” will function in the same way, if they don’t already.

    • Sandgroper says:

      Yeah, well, it’s those epigenetic effects, man – they last for, like, generations.

      As it happens, serious malnutrition does. I don’t know of anything else, though. Greg will no doubt correct me if required.

      My daughter got pretty ticked off about how women were treated when Anne Brönte was writing (not very many) novels, but she’s easily smart enough to know that things have changed a hell of a lot in the last 200 years and that ‘oppression’ as a ‘thing’ doesn’t transmit epigenetically, and she has zero time for the current wave of feminist con artists.

      People who rave about Jane Austen should give Anne Brönte a serious reading – she was way ahead of her time, that girl. She’s under-appreciated (no thanks to older sister Charlotte, who tried to have her books suppressed after her death – now there was some real historic oppression for you.)

  29. Köksal Baba says:

    I also like stroking feet, not of chickens, but of women.

  30. Girls, as a rule, can’t tell what’s crazy on their own. They need to rely on the group to tell them.

    When only one person cares enough to tell them they’re starting to talk crazy, that’s “gaslighting”.

    In any environment where it’s “wrong” to say that anything (save a small range of stuff that’s obviously true) is nuts, hold onto your hat. All bets are off.

    It’ll be getting a whole lot weirder, until they find somebody to put them in their place.

    • Cato says:

      And as our culture continues to fission, leading more of us to bowl alone, our daughters will have a harder time picking out the sane and accepted path.
      Anyway, loving chickens seems a whole lot better than many of the other ways our children could stray.

  31. AllenM says:

    LoL- even the big churn of the communist revolution is not enough to wipe out the natural winners of a society:

    Utterly fascinating to see how heritable class and money become.

    I guess we should ultimately go back to selling daughters to the highest bidder, and endowing sons with the wealth to purchase. I imagine that will soon be the case in India due to the eligible female shortage.

    LoL. Markets for everything, including genes, imagine what a Trump daughter’s egg would bring on the free market, or sperm from the tallest fittest NBA players.

    Bring it on, it will be fascinating.

    • Cantman says:

      It’s not that surprising when you look at the backgrounds of communist revolutionaries and see that communist revolutions are carried out by much the same people who become national legislators in representative electoral systems or successful generals and privy counsellors in monarchies. If just anyone could take over a country then communists would have to be right that everyone is biologically equal. They aren’t.

      • gcochran9 says:

        Reminds me of the lamppost shortage in Eastern Europe back in 1989. People told me that the apparatchiks weren’t really that different from the people running most Western societies: they went with the flow. I said of course – but in this case we had the chance to kill some of the bastards.

        Consider the actual qualities of ‘elites’.

    • guest says:

      Sperm banks already exist, and most women don’t see them as an option. There was even a sperm bank of the kind you proposed:

      It only managed to produce 229 children in 19 years. The results were good though.

  32. Sam L. says:

    SOME feminists are bird-brains.

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