Woke culture has overtaken the vegan and animal rights movements and the effects have been as harmful as elsewhere. I’ve spoken before about how, ironically, this has gone hand in hand with the sidelining of vegan radicals and the trend towards corporatization and pro-neoliberal discourse and activism. Indeed, “intersectional veganism” and the pro-corporate vegan movement are two sides of the same coin.(1)
What I’ve not yet spoken about is the specific issue of sexism and anti-feminism in the AR movement–a topic that would have already been worthy of discussion before the adoption of gender ideology by much of the movement. I don’t know if animal rights/vegan circles and organizations are particularly bad for women in relation to other social movements (it’s not like non-vegan leftist men have a good track record either, and veganism also holds appeal for those who lean right) but I do know that in absolute terms, it’s pretty bad. Now it has gotten even worse. Woke culture has veered the AR movement in an anti-feminist direction, and in some ways this movement is more susceptible than others to the unquestioning acquiescence to the edicts of SJW thought leaders.
With gender ideology, we’ve gotten to a place in the AR movement where women are branded as TERFs; driven out of their organizations; denied platforms and funding due to their feminism; in my case have their work plagiarized (so that I don’t get credit and visibility from it); blacklisted and excluded from events; and the women who avoid these consequences do so at the cost of never publicly voicing their feminist views. Either that, or they just leave the movement.
I wanted to share a dispatch from the closet that many feminist animal rights activists have been shoved into. It’s an email that was sent to me by a female acquaintance after I wrote my post last year on being dropped as an author from an animal rights anthology. I’m sharing it with her permission and I edited it very slightly to keep it anonymous.
Ugh, I don’t know where to begin…
Your early FB posts on this, and Mary Kate’s writings prompted me to pay closer attention.(2) And then I heard that MK got *fired* from her job because of something she’d written -wtf?
A lot of the verbiage had been troubling me but it wasn’t until I read of Meghan Murphy’s talk (in a Canadian library) being hounded and shut down that, with horror and disbelief, I started reading about what had been developing in the past several years, especially in the UK.
I wanted to write to you, especially when you posted your last piece on FB re being dismissed from the book, but, coward that I am, was ashamed to be another of the many women who tell you of their admiration and support, but will not also speak up.
I’ve been following a number of sources and barely have the emotional strength to read about it let alone act.
Not only am I struggling to make a living, but the wildly dystopian and incomprehensible nature of what has manifested out of the whole shift from what I thought was settled years ago— that “gender” is a set of artificial “norms“ imposed, especially on women, not a fixed set of behaviors that one can escape or adopt by “identifying” or surgically altering one’s body—is deeply troubling and frightening…
When I was last with a group of friends, one said,
“Well, I don’t think I’d go as far as to agree with Mary Kate, but…”
What?, but hers is just basic feminism…
I’ve tried writing about it but the fury leaves me unable to focus on anything else.
The lock-step anti-“TERF“ comments I see on FB, by people who consider themselves deep-thinking progressives … is dumbfounding.
At the Conscious Eating Conference at the end of Feb, just before the lockdown, Pax, acting as conference host and moderator, stood at the podium to introduce Carol J. Adams, and found it relevant to loudly assert that “Trans women *ARE* women”.. and the room erupted in wild applause. (3)
Enough for now…
(1) While I have long opposed “intersectionality” as understood in the animal rights/vegan movements, this does not at all reflect an opposition actual intersectionality, as formulated by Kimberlé Crenshaw.
(2) She is referring to Mary Kate Fain, who was kicked out of an animal rights organization she had founded (not only kicked out, but accosted by AR activists who hurled abuse at her on the street). After losing her job she went on to found the feminist website 4W, that in a short amount of time has become one of the most important resources for the feminist movement and that hosts the writings of dozens of women from around the world (and pays them too!); she co-created Spinster, an alternative platform to Twitter which has the habit of booting off uppity women; she is a prolific writer who also recently started a podcast, and on top of that got a job with a radical feminist organization. Basically Mary Kate is some sort of Wonder Woman who could have put her talents towards animal liberation, but the movement preferred to hound her out.
(Read Mary Kate’s story of losing her job in her article Fired For Feminism.)
(3) The Conscious Eating conference is organized by Hope Bohanec, the editor who dropped me from her book because of my feminism. From my interactions with her, it became clear that she has little experience with and interest in human-related issues but strives to tick the requisite boxes of diversity so as to avoid criticism. Being of relative privilege and disconnected from much of the oppression that women experience in this world, she thinks that “transwomen are the most oppressed of women”. This conference took place shortly after Hope dropped me from her book. The focus that year was “to explore overlapping oppressions”; a panel on the history of the animal rights movement with prominent female activists was titled Animal Rights Herstory Panel.
By Pax she is referring to Pax Ahimsa, a trans-identified female who started “educating” the AR movement on gender ideology, “inclusivity” etc etc years ago. Pax’s blog reveals a person who has no grasp of basic feminist analysis and whose ideas are in complete opposition to it.
Carol J. Adams is a renowned vegan second wave feminist who, interestingly, has been attacked by trans activists for various reasons in the past, but is now seemingly on board with gender ideology and has become mealy-mouthed on sex and gender, presumably to gain the approval of the “intersectional vegan” crowd. Maybe this is the sad result of having built an audience composed more of vegans than of feminists.