Female-identified human individuals and species-derogation

Female-identified human individuals and speciesism, species-derogation, -negation -annihilation or the overlooked problem of “women” and anthropocentric-collectivist speciesism

Palang LY

This text as a PDF

A.) I set forth following anchor points, before I start on the topic:

  • We can ask if the interpretations of the characteristics, that are considered to make up the marking dividers within a human-animal hierarchy, are in reality a negation of the autonomous value of otherness in nonhuman animals.
  • We know that the single criterion [against which we measure anything nonhuman animals do] that serves as our standard, is the human parameter, i.e. the human model counts as the ideal, as the standard, for creating norms. So what happens if we put this standard of measurement into doubt?
  • Biology has already determined what the identity of nonhuman animals is, and even the Animal Rights movement has satisfied itself with placing the moral question somewhere out of reach by accepting the explanation of the identity of animals as something strictly biological.

(Full text: http://www.simorgh.de/objects/what-is-an-animal/)

Source: unknown.

The image is severely speciesist. It’s not fathomable why some feminists make that comparison between the “treatment” or I guess rather the objectification of women in advertisement etc. with “meat”? There is obviously an perverted aesthetical connection thought by speciesist rhetorics, but it leads us into a direction which should be further looked at and not just taken by the superficial “meaning” of such iconography.

“Meat” is a solely speciesist problem, unless we would speak of necrophilia and cannibalism.

B.) Feminism and Animal Rights: the one way or the other

“Meat” is not porn and it’s not sexist per se, it is porn insofar and forms of zoophilia are involved, direct or indirect, and sexist where sexism is directly applied to the nonhuman animal individuals or groups themselves. Speaking of porn and sexism here as a proxy covers up how those affect nonhumans directly.

“Meat” is flesh, and it’s the result of a human/humans killing a nonhuman animal/animals.

We should be careful with attaching own sociological issues to such a major own concerns such as Animal Rights in an analogy, which sets itself so close to the subject of comparison, that the story lapses and gets one-sided and a new and important perspective gets neglected instantaneously.

All Animal Rights issues need an own valid terminology and frames of reference, otherwise we are risking to blur the lines of differentiation.

The analogy of sexism and speciesism fails when applied superficially and in an undifferentiated way also because…:

Two main points why Animal Rights issues can’t be tied to a strict feminist viewpoint, as long as feminism is used as excusing women from the ethical responsibilities in society towards their nonhuman environment.

  • It’s wrong to presuppose that speciesism is something that is more prevalent in male-identified human individuals compared to female-identified human individuals.
  • Also, male nonhuman animals are inasmuch sexually abused, e.g. in the farm industry (their reproductive system) such as female nonhuman animals are.

The sociological dynamics of gender in their effect of speciesist attitudes and actions should be addressed of course, but there is no reason inherent to “biological” gender (if we would go that path) that would prove that “men” or categorically more speciesist than “women”. Also the way in which roleplay is happening in systems of oppression should be addressed, i.e. “women” taking the role of cooks, or preparing the speciesist meals, of wearing feathers and fur, etc. male roles, roles that are swapped, (I am not extending on this here).

C.) Close analogies … also of genocides and speciecides and their deficits

These types of close analogies in the field of -isms and abuse work in a valid way when we look at the psychology of the perpetrator who seeks to create a victim: the aspect of exerted violence shares many similarities, whereas however on the side of the victimized we have to see the contexts: political, enviro-political, historical, sociological, … a group or an individual gets picked as a victim for reasons, and those exact reasons need to be analyzed under own terms, and not be conflated. In terms of speciesism, we face many forms of speciesism (i.e. religious, scientific, legal, philosophical, etc.).

D.) Feminism, Speciesism, Anthropocentrism

Random examples of female rhetorics of speciesism:

Is a self-critical view on gender / being a woman / feminism necessary?

What would speak against it? We know that in our daily lives we, as “women”, make decisions that touch on core grounds that turn the private/the personal into the political (https://userpages.umbc.edu/~korenman/wmst/pisp.html). As antispeciesists we know with our vegan praxis just how impactful our personal choices are, and as social beings we also know how hard it can be for us to draw a line between the social expectations that one tries to fit in (in order to find a job, to be liked or accepted, to keep ones social ties or family structures/felt obligations together, and so forth) and our political ideals and ethical, pressing necessities when both might stand in conflict with each other in times of societal change. Our human social environment might be heavily speciesist and we have to get along with it, somehow yet still inspire change, for instance.

Speciesism, as remote as it seems, is to be found at the same point where my-choice-to-decide-otherwise-or-not crosses just any implications of socialization that I feel are ethically unjustifiable. When I rant against sexism I might as well rant against an injustice that targets nonhumans, if I am a vegan anti-speciesist minded person.

Speciesism can be understood to work socially as an ideology, where people who are convinced of their degrading stance, believe in a collectively held fiction that is assumed and agreed upon as “objectivity”, so that no rebuttal can take place on “rational grounds”.

Women do feel at home in this construct inasmuch as men do, on the large scale. Both 50 percent of humanity, male and female, believe so much in human superiority that they are willing to constitute part of a speciesist society by fulfilling their individual part in the fiction.

“Gender” defines itself from interaction within a group or society. Being oppressed as a woman doesn’t automatically mean that you can’t be oppressive towards nonhuman animals. Drawing an analogy between sexism (or genderism) and speciesism does not take account of the different reasons and histories why the victim gets oppressed in the first place – for what ends, and how exactly. If we turn a blind eye on the gender specific functions of speciesism and anthropocentrism we might risk a loophole in our argumentation for our own rights defending nonhumans and for integral Animal Rights themselves.

Speciesism is a unique tragedy. The history of being classified as “animals” by humans, with all that entailed, as beings whose existence had been on earth eons before humans evolved, can’t be compared to any other form of oppression by a strict analogy. Being objectified as solely “animate”, being slaughterable, edible, huntable, vivisectable, being objectifiable and judged as “definable”, in the first place constitutes a specific situation for the affected subject, and hints at a unique technique of injustice taking place here on behalf of the oppressive side that is being applied to this particular victimized group.

Comparisons between different forms of oppression are extensively helpless efforts when oppressor and oppressed are as entangled as in the case of speciesist human oppressive settings.

We could straightforwardly name that natural sciences, religion, philosophy, mass society have to end classifying the beings we call “nonhuman animals”, or we stay stuck in our psychological accompliceship with the very hierarchical and oppressive systems that we criticize so vehemently as what regards our own pains.

I don’t see an alternative as of yet. The ecofeminist and feminist discourse in Animal Rights and Animal Liberation (Karen Davis, Marti Kheel, Lori Gruen, Carol J. Adams, Kim Socha, Vasile Stanescu and so forth) is pluralistic enough to lead and continue their differentiated discourse I believe and I thank them for doing so.

Farangis G. Yegane. Panting: Torsi, Drawing: Werkzyklus Krone der Schöpfung, http://crownofthecreation.farangis.de/

All links accessed 28.10.2018.

A superficiality problem

antispe_and_speciesism

Problems of superficiality are still relatively prevalent in the current vegan movement

Why veganism is not an automatic remedy against social and political superficiality?

Social:

1. -isms prevail despite e.g. most prominently the reckognizable intersectionality discussion.

2. Levels of ‘internal’ and ‘external’ communication aren’t being (critically) reflected within the vegan mainstream.

3. The idea of veganism is not structurally improved in terms of nonhuman-inclusiveness, food-justice, classism, e.g.

Politically:

1. Veganism is segregated out of the context of why speciesism “turned” nonhuman animals into ressources and commodities in the first place, i.e. the ethical debate is not lead in these terms by a vegan rethoric.

2. Historical and cultural contextualizations with a vegan praxis aren’t evaluated and built in the collective consciousness and awareness of the movement. Change is being sought from within only roughly pronounced socio- and enviro-political relations, veganism as a player stays on one plane level due to reduced political contextualizations.

3. Closed clusterizations function like quasi-pluralistic selforganizing (hence also features of movement) – the created system remains closed in its own political mechanisms.

spegiesism_is_like

Basic antispe considerations

I scribbled this down for my friend hiesl @germanvegan, and we want to share these brief thoughts with everyone else …

besita_obscura_12_farangis

Some basic radical antispe considerations about activities on a theoretical and practical plane

Theoretical / practical activities that help combat speciesism in the environment in your reach:

– Make being a radical antispeciesist part of your public and private personality.

– Use your possibilities to create safe-spaces for nonhuman individuals/life.

– Expect people to be able to think and reflect about social justice in a nonhuman-inclusive form.

– Use the internet e.g. or any place where you can express yourself to create postulations in order to forward radical antispeciesism – make your stance (this is also a form of self-empowerment).

– Learn weighing out positions, opinions, infos, sources, dynamics of communication via media: the AR movement isn’t a ‘clear spring’, it even harbors a lot of speciesism (like the biologistic one most often), animal-derogation, normalized speciesist-humansocieties-centered ‘megalomania’, etc. That is why the only safe way to navigate your activist field is to follow your own convictions that result from the ultimate experiences you gather together with the nonhuman contacts, friendships, relations you encounter. Animallib – or also respecting animal autonomy – aren’t empty words but should manifest in an actual antispeciesist praxis.

– “Common sense” – such as you apply in intra-human affairs – might be the best guide and the one that offers the most independent flexibility to learn and provide the freedom of thought you need.

Where intersections turn crossroads: shared factors of oppressive functions, separating markers. Seeing what makes each case unique might help putting the puzzles together.

If you keep relegating animality into reductive frameworks while doing animal advocacy work, your activism isn’t really aware of the scopes of ethical, political, sociological interfaces between nature-animality-humanity …

Messel; Nonhuman-inclusive; Animal Autonomy

applying_what_frameworksWhere intersections turn crossroads: shared factors of oppressive functions, separating markers. Seeing what makes each case unique might help putting the puzzles together.

With all the intersections (and what I’d additionally call the interfaces equally) given, there are also clearly factors that in the end of the day categorically separate one system of oppression from another, and in the case of the functionalities of nonhuman animal oppression we have these unique markers that we must address in order to analyse what exactly this phenomenon ‘speciesism’ is.

The mechanisms of sexism, racism, ableism and basically any way in which living individuals are actively and passively negated can be understood in their specific manifestations, that are specifically experienced by the individuals and groups who become victimized and who are affected. Intersectionally in terms of nonhuman oppression we would need the factor of having experienced being designated the role of actual “food” for example in a completely righteous manner, not in an ambiguous state. We can’t deny that nonhumans know what they are the victims of, that would be highly biologistically speciesist. The complexity of oppression is fully known by the affected nonhuman individuals and groups.

That being said one must add that it is true that life is being negated in its dignity in any cases where oppression takes place. It would be problematic to draw lines of known -isms and for example overlook individual cases of denial of the right to life and dignity.

When we involve the complex-of-nature for example we are going to get rather into understanding how life overall is being classified and negated in a fundamental way, and that not just an oppressive class, but the individual enactor of destructivity is the thinking and acting agent that should be taken a look at (after all ending destructivity is an emancipatory process at its best).

If a nonhuman animal that is considered to be a “farmed animal” crosses a street where people walk and don’t expect him/her, and if a  human who is oppressed crosses a street, we categorically have the scenario that no matter what the nonhuman animal will be considered a lower life in the specific sense of a food provider and a utilitarian-type “resource”. The nonhuman will be excluded from the human race – which is a problem in itself – but be be relegated in the realm of “nature”, which is the sort of “antagonist” to human”” existence. This makes up speciesism and such type of specifics need to be analysed in all detail.

When activists solely focus on nonhumans, they tend to leave nonhumans within the biologistic speciesist paradigm. Intersectionality gets us away from biologist patterns to a partly ambivalent extent. Yet what makes speciesism speciesism, and what makes oppression oppression, and what makes humanity in total to have lived on a specifically nonhuman animal and nature oppressive basis and on other oppressive bases that affect any life in any possibility? I want to face human-created histories in terms of all existent injustices equally.

 

Inhibiting normalcies within activism

besita_obscura_12_farangis
Activism as a practical focus

  • on the marketing of ready made vegan products
    plus
  • vegan cooking
    plus
  • ones public physical self-presentation as a vegan example

seems to take quite a space in the iconography created by some vegans. It transports a consumerist image to me.

This seems to vary though with current cultural habits, normalcies and practices, as in some places the focus tends to be more on helping and supporting nonhumans and human individuals/groups as a form of visible, political and standardly represented plant-powered activism – such as generally in Turkey and Brazil for instance and in the Black vegan movement and the VegansofColor movement in the US.

In general also I observe the obsession with photographing oneself in public at activist events or activivism-related opportunities. This in itself seems to count as a proven and valid form of expected social integration and a trustworthy marker of activist efficacy. This also requires that you are able-bodied and don’t suffer from any social phobia, it also requires you to accept social patterns of the peer group dynamics you are partaking in.

The problem is about the norms that are created and upheld (…) even with a broader, informed knowledge. Such norms create spaces of social divergence for those who decide to communicate differenlty, also by chosing other forms of expressing their basic political positions.

Image … of a Bestia obscura, by Farangis.de.

The organic, humane speciesists

A short narrative:

People I know said: “We stopped eating meat!”

Same people said: “We just love organic stuff, and recently when we went to our local organic farm we saw how lovely these farmers were and just how lovingly they kept their cows … and guess what, it was even the first time we ate some red meat again.”

Speciesism is a sign of not only a lack of basic fundamental necessary human empathy, it also indicates a lack of rational common sense. If you don’t understand what I mean, please read this text by Vasile Stanescu

Why “Loving” Animals is Not Enough: A Response to Kathy Rudy, Locavorism, and the Marketing of “Humane” Meat

http://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.1111/jacc.12017/abstract

Listen to an abbreviated version here:

Vasile Stanescu, “Why loving animals is not enough: a feminist critique”

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nndAHEgwRmM

 

Liberation from “Total”

Dear fellow AR activist,

​I personally don’t know where even any total liberation activists stand in detail. Of course it’s decisively crucial that the interest in nonhuman-related-ethical-issues is continuously gaining momentum, and every event (or activity, or even thought) that is taking place to grow this momentum is an active expression of an overall ethical development evoluting in our societies. I believe in such developments, and I believe they are driven by many different forces and factors.

I am however generally suspicious of the internal structures of movements, for as long as an idea hasn’t taken ground and formed solidly enough in a society for it to be expressed pluralistically enough, so that you can argue with a full spectra of positions.

The canon of Animal Liberation or AR has strong tendencies to be unisono, and I blame that on the movements inner dynamics. And it is this narrowness within the movement why  I always try to double check what exactly is being practised and promoted beyond the bigger messages of any strongly idealistic event.

With total liberation events so far nothing seems transparent to me, structurally more than from the given goals and intentions.

I for myself prefer solutions to be less “total” and more sticking to the realities of the details.

Yours,
Just another fellow AR activist

Politicize Yourself in Animal Correlations

Panda Bob @ Animal Place, California, 2014.

Who makes up the space of “the” Animal Rights debate?
How do you get your own specific message across if it’s yet unrepresented?
And how can you audibly express yourself?

This fragment as a PDF (Link opens in a new window)

B, L and P. / @animalogy

In the AR movement as we have it today, there is not a lot of space for individual voices, unless that is, you fulfil some prerequisites. For instance:

– You have to be part of a group or “fraction” in some way. Problematic, because of group dynamics.
– You must support and repeat opinions of the ones considered to be experts in their fields. Problematic, because disempowering to individual reasoning and thought development.
-You have to stay away from making Animal Politics, by restricting yourself to marginally discussing animal issues, if you don’t meet the first two criterions, and stay out of “expert” (or “insider”) issues. Problematic, because animal issues quickly grow into a core concern for any individual who has once stepped out of our human-centric frames.

Once you “anti-speciesistically” emancipate, you might find out that you need own ways and spaces to:

– Plainly speak about your relation to nonhumans in a non-biologistic way
– Discuss humans and ‘being human’, human society and being part of human society, in a more fundamentally critical way
– Rethink the human/society/nonhuman-complex in new, strictly non-anthropocentric, yet non-biologistic ways.

So, what we advise any “Nonhuman Animal Ally” to do, is the following, and coming from this angle might even help turning today’s “Animal Rights movement” into an “Animal Rights empowerment, consciousness and thinking” that won’t even need a single specific “movement” anymore, that will instead become a pluralistic constituent of our overall political and rights consciousness:

– Don’t make your own activism and opinion adaptable, in order not to conflict with people or groups from within “the movement”. Stay individually “whole”.
– Express yourself, disregardful of whether you find your place or not.

You really have to considers that the roots of the “Animal Rights movement” are question-worthy in a few ways, and also that “animal concern”, encompasses concerns as ultimative, direct, immediate as thinking about ones own existence. Don’t be disappointed (or lead astray) when you discover that so far there is no clear non-anthropocentric approach to Animal Rights, as no alternative to seeing animals under primarily biologistic criterions has evolved in the “Animal Rights movement” so far.

The past perspectives of humans about “animals” tended to be religiously driven/inspired (as major systems of dominion in the historical past). The natural scientific relation to the nonhuman animal world though, also has it’s long history of choosing a one single-level (and again domineering) standpoint towards nonhuman animals.

These days, the individual with her/his immediate experience and knowledge about her/his animal relation, might be the only instance of where we can find and establish a real non-anthropocentric yet constructively relating position, which would yet have to be politicized, to become visible.

The pressures of conformity amongst systems that human society creates and has created in the past, don’t allow for much else than putting new vine in old bottles.

Anti-Speciesism, another angle

FRAGMENT

Making Anti-Speciesism itself a subject

We rightly want to ask people to do more than donate money to animal advocacy groups. We rather hope that people make others aware of veganism – in ethical terms. So only or mainly talking about vegan health and cooking (for instance) isn’t doing the job (far less is promoting vegan consumerism).

In which way to thematize speciesism?

1. By comparison …

A lot of the drawings of analogies are taken in reference to racism and sexism. In the discussions though the weight tends to lay more on the specifics of racist and sexist psychology, in those analogies, than on the juxtaposed speciesist type of psychological mindsets.

2. With cases …

On the other hand activists who discuss actual on the spot atrocities that are taking place and which mark those faces of speciesism, they do show the sheer extremes of killing, and those extremes again can’t be directly compared with other forms of discrimination. (At least we are confronted here with the fact that every category of an atrocity has own contextualities.)

How do you thematize speciesism?

In the frame of human anthropology? Or by comparing biological observations and findings on nonhuman / humans … ? Sociologically?

How?

My first suggestion is – cos I really do see that too little we describe how speciesism psychologically works in practice, is: let us have a look at the HOW’S of how speciesism manifests in basically many varying forms.

This is a highly fragmentary list for going into that direction:

QUOTE:

Many forms of speciesism

Objectifying nonhuman animals takes various forms:

– in legal terms nonhumans are classified as property

– in religious terms the separation is being made spiritually, man is preferred and given the right to dominate all that is on earth

– philosophical schools may give an array of different reasons for why whichever form of speciesism might be ethically sound or a right view to maintain

– the natural sciences differentiate between beings driven by instinct, the lower forms of life, the higher forms and man with the supposedly most complex make up of mind and brain.

– carnism could be said to be a term for one form of speciesism that classifies domesticated farm animals only (or finally, as in the case of horses and some exotic animals that are eaten such as ostriches) as “meat” or suppliers of food.

– pets on the other side are. in spite of being loved by our society, also affected by speciesist views on them.

– wild animals are forced to make up the object for hunters and hunting culture’s needs to re-exercise continuously the idea of a primeval and supposedly ideal condition of man as the hunter and gatherer.

– but also wild animals are affected by argumentations that target them in terms of whether they are intrusive species or should be seen as protectable.

For every animal species we seem to get one or more forms of speciesist views, classifications, argumentations. In every aspect that defines the human view on his or her environment we seem to come across a derogative stance on nonhumans.

When we discuss speciesism we should bear in mind how complex and difficult to analyze the subjugative view on animal life is in our cultures and societies.

-ENDQUOTE, source

I think taking a direct look at the cloaked psychology behind speciesism (itself), we can get closer to the framework that enables a speciesist society in the first place.

With ‘cloaked psychology’ I don’t mean a model such as it was discussed with the ‘carnism’-term, which focussed on two forms of speciesism basically: pets that are loved, yet have no rights, and so called farm animals that are being killed for “food”, and have of course also no rights.

With ‘cloaked psychology’ I mean questions of why as a fact human traits are values over nonhuman animal traits, or the same goes for ‘interests’, features, attributes, realities, etc.

By breaking down the probably manifold components of the speciesist framework, we can find our way through a mess of a collective-psychological character, I think.

 

Thoughts on an October day – 29 / 10 / 2011

Two comments of the non-ill-thinker

ill and vegan, it’s just ok
A: As a vegan you ought not to fall ill, because if you do, somebody might blame it on your diet.
B: Really?

money makes the values that represent the values of the human system in a “tangible” or “measurable” way
A: I think the monetary system feeds itself also from the demand / consumption pattern, the willingness of people to buy too much. The crux is, without buying power there won’t be any jobs. So either we buy and have jobs, or … what???
B: Something else is the crux, namely that the entire human system bases or an exploitative enmity towards the rest of nature.

fantasy / perspectives

reality / mutual concern