Green Makes Me Queasy

I’ve written before about sexism in the environmental movement. Today I read a post in the Carnival of the Green that illustrates the acceptance of women’s second class status:

No cows: that’s the culinary message of Tanjareen, Sky, and their fellow cleavage-busting SoCal vegan sisters. I just ran across the Vegan Vixens’ show, which promotes organic cuisine and clothing. There are few better examples of people trying to sex up an eco-friendly lifestyle. (The joy of public access in the Bay area, as you never know how cable channel 29 might warp you. But this silly show is more fun than that weekly 9/11 conspiracy documenary, no matter how certain feminists might scowl.)

On their low-budget broadcast, this group of veg-obsessed models and actresses mouth kisses llamas and kitchen-dances in threesomes while frying tiny soy sausages. The vixens’ brand of dairy-free cheesecake aims to convert men to beat their meat-loving ways.

It’s funny that intense compassion for animals can exist alongside complete lack of compassion for women. Exploit women to save animals. Perhaps I should make this a new category on my blog?

Another interesting thing about this post is the judgment applied to where the Vegan Vixens appeared. Their appearance on Howard Stern received a “yech” from the blogger, but no criticism was forthcoming over their visit to the Playboy Mansion. Going way out on a limb, I’d say the objection is to Stern’s meat-eating status, not the way he degrades women..

Vegan Vixens on the dance floor with JACK BLACK at the Playboy Mansion!!!

The Sensitive Men care oh-so-much about the furry animals. (I’m guessing they don’t care for fur on their women.) Having the cognitive capacity and the willingness to think about the suffering of animals should bode well for an individual’s worldview. Empathy and compassion usually expand from one area to many. But the evidence mounts, showing just the opposite. While compassion for animals is mandatory in the environmental movement, women still exist as toys for men.

Bringing up the sexism and privilege with liberal men tends not to go very well. If you have the stomach, just look at the “big” bloggers in the liberal political sphere. No criticism, no way. The women are invited along as long as they don’t become a pain in the ass, as long as they remember their place.

You know what? Under these conditions, I have no desire to save the planet. We can just keep on speeding toward the cliff.

Fortunately, I’m not fighting to preserve the status quo. Fortunately, compassion and empathy often do expand and encompass all beings.


14 responses to “Green Makes Me Queasy

  1. Oh god. Kermit was right. It really ISN’T easy being green when you have to deal with all the misogyny!

    I can’t possibly comprehend how some animal rights activists could be so awful about human rights. The disconnect, wow. I’m never going to understand it.

  2. Justjuliefornow

    I’ll have to read more later, but glad you’re up to posting, and reading. Are you a veg/vegan? Just curious.

  3. Just… wonderfully written.

  4. neuralgourmet

    Nice to see a post from you, and a really well written one. It’s been my experience that very few people are ready to discuss privilege on all fronts, not just related to sexism. Actually very few people, even on the left, are even willing to admit that it exists.

  5. spotted elephant

    Wow, thank you everyone! I woke up this morning wishing I hadn’t posted it, because I wrote it in a pissed-off burst, and had no idea if I was clear.

    Edith-That disconnect makes me just shake with frustration. Thanks for that Kermit reference. 🙂

    Julie-I’m not veg/vegan, although I only eat meat rarely. I’m an almost vegetarian.

    TNG-I’m starting to think privilege is the most difficult concept out there. And yes, it is painful to admit privilege, but if it hurts, that means your humanity chip is working! It’s tough, ultra-touchy, and really important to discuss it.

  6. Oh privelege yes; you’ve never seen the wrath of an individual until you suggest that in some small way, they have had it a little easier compared to others…

  7. Well said.

    On another level, one of the things that pisses me off most about “trendy” veg culture is the acceptance of focus on weightloss. I personally don’t feel that vegetarianism is so desperate for converts that we should tolerate people treating us as a fad diet, and I get really pissed off when people approach me in a “concerned” fashion to ask how I can be vegetarian and plus sized.

  8. spotted elephant

    Goldfish-Exactly! Even pointing out very small advantages brings out that reaction. Imagine if we focused just on the big benefits?

    Hexy-Vegetarianism as a fad diet? (blinks) I wish I could say I was surprised people do that to you. Because of course you *shouldn’t* be plus sized if you’re a vegetarian. They treat veg as a fad and show prejudice all in one comment. And work off the assumption that only thin people are healthy and that all thin people are healthy. So the basic reason to be veg is because one is anti-fat? Silly me for assuming people would focus on the positive and healthy reasons. Grrrr.

  9. Yeah, it’s ridiculous. I’m a very healthy vegetarian who eats really well. I also have boobs and an ass. Apparantly those two things do not go together, and one must be a toothpick to be considered healthy.

    Idiots. They’re everywhere.

  10. Hi there–I wrote the post that you quote and that seems to have ticked you off.

    Exploiting women (or anyone) ticks me off too:

    For the record, I grew up in the feminist movement, literally, marching in the front row of demonstrations and attending NOW conventions around the country as a toddler, teenager, and young adult. I’ve never shied from labeling myself with the “F” word.

    I agree with many of the things that you discuss (great post on the tortuga ads) but also believe that there should be room for all viewpoints as well as all body types and species to coexist.

    Yes, women’s bodies are used to sell all sorts of things. But it’s our individual choice to be upset by that, to give it more power than it deserves.

    And I’d argue that the Vegan Vixens don’t cater to misogynists but to people who in some way worship women, albeit in a shallow, lightheartedly lustful way. Want misogyny? Turn on any prime time detective show where the victims are ususally young women being horrifically sliced and diced.

    If some women want to prance around and get their male meathead counterparts to think a different way about what they eat, who cares? Let those people carry on with their silly antics.

    If you don’t like that the Vegan Vixens may look like the usual thin, stereotypical pop culture “hot” women, then work to create your own alternative. Not all people even like those body types anyway.

    There’s no stopping a different group of women from starting their own low-budget cable channel to give a different twist on the same subject.

    In fact, I’d rather see more people prance around freely feeling as sexy as they want. Maybe there’d be more room for all types of people to feel comfortable in their own skin and for Americans to better respect nature, starting with our own bodies.

    My “yech” about Howard Stern refers to his pandering to the lowest common denominator and his consistent degradation of women (and therefore men too) that has no redeeming value.

    Playboy, on the other hand, seems pretty benign when you compare it to other magazines and websites out there–and unlike Stern’s show, Playboy over the years at least offers solid writers and journalism. Yeah, the old thing about the articles.

    As for my own eating a salami sandwich, I do that maybe twice a year. Nobody’s eco perfect. The world’s a big place. Some of the kindest people I know, who devote their lives to helping people, are meat eaters. And some of the least pleasant people I’ve met are vegans. And vice versa, as it takes all types, right?

  11. Yup — what was that group that spelled out all those “green” messages with naked bodies? Did some reading on them — turns out — surprise — most of those nude bodies were female.

    PETA has/used to have their Lettuce Laides — scantily clad women with carefully placed whisps of “lettuce” for clothing.


  12. Kaka Mak – PETA’s desperation tactics just go to show you the kinds of things you have to do to get your message out on the media. Just having a good cause is not a news hook. Naked ladies in cages, now THAT is a visual any news editor can fall in love with.

    Spotted, you know I love you. Your rage is worthy. I wish you didn’t have to have it, but it is a nutty world.

    Privilege – I can admit it! I am lucky beyond compare. I have it easy! I get treated better than others because I look white and female and innocuous. I admitted it – now do I get a gold star at least?

    And as far as being a veg – I STARTED getting fat when I became a vegetarian, but I can’t go back to meat. I just don’t like it. So I am a big fat happy cheese-eating vegetarian. If I want to lose weight – and given the state of my knees, I may want to – I will go more vegan, not more meaty.

  13. Yep, how I love the “lefties.” Grrrr……don’t get me started on ‘anarchist’ activists.

    Playboy as ‘benign’? *blink blink* Oh it’s too early for this right now.

  14. I am amused by Elsa’s old chestnut: “Yes, women’s bodies are used to sell all sorts of things. But it’s our individual choice to be upset by that, to give it more power than it deserves.” Good God Almighty, that argument is both hackneyed and redundant. And to suggest that Playboy et al are actually WORSHIPPING women! Keep up, it’s abuse and misogyny however you try to dress it up. My quite cross two penn’orth. Cheers, Pippa x

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