Talking About Transphobia and Ecofeminism With Ida Hammer

The following interview was originally published on the Bitch magazine blog.

A number of ecofeminist writers have written in deeply offensive, often terribly misguided, ways about trans people and have done a lot of damage to the movement’s credibility as open, accepting, and working for the liberation of all people. Why do you think transphobia persists and continues to come up again and again in ecofeminist rhetoric and activism?

In order to understand why transphobia and cissexism persist and are continually perpetuated throughout feminist communities, particularly the vegetarian-ecofeminist community, it is important to consider the origins of anti-trans advocacy as a conscious project of prominent, elite White feminists in the 1970s. In the late sixties and early seventies, trans people were very active in the women's and queer liberation movements. The Compton's Cafeteria and Stonewall rebellions of the sixties are evidence of that, as are women like Beth Elliott of the Daughters of Bilitis, Sandy Stone of Olivia Records, and Stonewall veteran Silvia Rivera who was a founding member of the Gay Liberation Front and the Gay Activist Alliance. (Read more...)

Falando Sobre Transfobia E Ecofeminismo Com Ida Hammer

A entrevista a seguir foi publicada originalmente no blog da revista Bitch. É parte de "The Woman biótica" série sobre o ecofeminismo por Brittany Shoot.

Ida Hammer tem escrito no The Vegan Ideal por vários anos como uma forma de analisar e desconstruir opressões que se sobrepõem. Seu trabalho é focado em desfazer a transfobia nas comunidades vegetarianas e ecofeministas. Ida estava cansada de falar recentemente comigo sobre como o privilégio cissexual mina muito da escrita ecofeminista e como ela tem esculpido um espaço seguro para si mesma dentro de um movimento muitas vezes anti-trans. (Ler mais...)

A Western Vegetarian 'Foray' into Non-Western Culture

A few months ago I got an email announcing a vegetarian get together at a Cambodian restaurant. Eating food associated with Cambodian culture is a perfectly valid basis for a vegetarian gathering, and I'm totally in favor of having an event at a place like a Cambodian restaurant. But what struck me was how the event was advertised as a "foray" into the food of Cambodian culture. I wanted to bring to the organizers attention a couple concerns regarding the use of the word "foray" in title of this event. (Read more...)

Real Food Comes from Plants

The sight of slabs of flesh should horrify and disgust any sensitive person if they exercised their inborn compassion. Habit has dimmed their native kindliness. Their palates have become abnormally corrupted and conditioned by taste for dead food, its flavoring and odors. People who eat slaughtered creatures everyday find it hard to imagine what to substitute for meat, not realizing that meat is the substitute for vegetables. – Helen Nearing, Simple Food for the Good Life

October 1st is World Vegetarian Day, and one thing I think would bring about a great deal of positive change is for us to do away with the obsolete idea that plant-based foods are somehow a "replacement" or "substitute" for animal-derived pseudo-foods. I cringe nearly every time I read these terms in cookbooks and other dietary literature written from a vegetarian perspective. (Read more...)

10,000 for Western Imperialism

Westerners may have physically left their old colonies in Africa and Asia, but they retained them not only as markets but as locales on the ideological map over which they continue to rule morally and intellectually. – Edward Said

On September 3, In Defense of Animals launched an online petition with the aim of gathering 10,000 signatures from people pledging to support a total boycott of the entire country of Korea and all its products until Korea's Animal Protection Law is amended to strengthen the ban on the consumption of dogs and cats. Currently the petition has over 9,000 signatures and is likely to surpass its goal by its seventh day.

In his book Yellow, Frank Wu recommends Asian Americans who are asked "Do Asians eat dogs?" to respond with the question, "What is the point of asking whether I eat dogs?" Building on Wu's recommendation, we might ask, "What is the point of campaigning against dog-eating in Korea?" I'm convinced the answer is that campaigns targeting dog-eating as a cultural practice, including I.D.A.'s anti-Korea campaign, are based on a subtext of Western supremacy, Orientalism and imperialism, as well as speciesism.


The Mobilization Against Fatphobia

The fatphobic billboard reads: Save the Whales. Lose the Blubber: Go Vegetarian. PETAWhat do advocates concerned with obesity, feminists, and progressive vegans, vegetarians and nonhuman animal advocates have in common? These are all people who mobilized over the last week in solidarity with people targeted by a fatphobic billboard ostensibly designed to promote vegetarianism. (Read more...)

Taking Sizeism and Fatphobia Seriously

Sizeism (oppression based on body size) is rarely taken seriously in the United States. Sizeism devalues people whose body type does not meet some socially defined standard based on height, weight or shape — oppression based on weight is a significant area of concern.

Sizeism targets fat people as especially deserving of oppression. Under sizeism, fatphobia (hatred, harassment, exclusion and violence targeting people because of their body weight) is too often viewed as justifiable. That is, fatphobic derision is actually believed by many as a valid motivator for coercing people into losing weight. However, the sizeist claim that fatphobia is in the interest of the target's health is a lie. Sizeism and fatphobia are one thing and one thing only: tools of oppression. (Read more...)

Whole Foods Market's Bumper Sticker Health Plan

Turns out my previous posts on a bumper sticker claiming "Vegetarianism is an Affordable Health Plan" and the Whole Foods Markets CEO op-ed denouncing universal healthcare that has prompted calls for a boycott are more related then I first realized. In the op-ed, as if taking his cue from the bumper sticker itself, John Mackey writes:

Recent scientific and medical evidence shows that a diet consisting of foods that are plant-based, nutrient dense and low-fat will help prevent and often reverse most degenerative diseases that kill us and are expensive to treat. We should be able to live largely disease-free lives until we are well into our 90s and even past 100 years of age.

Like the bumper sticker, Mackey thinks a vegetarian diet is a valid substitute for universal comprehensive healthcare. Also, just as I had predicted in my post — unbeknownst to me, the op-ed was actually published the day before — Mackey is using this very bumper sticker logic to promote privatization. (Read more...)

Is Vegetarianism an Affordable Health Plan?

I recently read a bumper sticker that boasted: "Vegetarianism is an Affordable Health Plan." Wouldn't that be nice? Well, while I can certainly empathize with the desire to communicate the connection between a plant-based dietary system and well-being, I think this particular bumper sticker communicates a more disturbing message about class, health and privatization. (Read more...)

Move Over Tobacco: Meat is 'Highest Overall' Killer

The following is from today's headline via DemocracyNow!:

Study: Lots of Red Meat Increases Mortality Risk

And a major new study from the National Cancer Institute has found people who eat the most red meat and the most processed meat have the highest overall risk of death from all causes, including heart disease and cancer. Researchers came to this conclusion after studying the eating habits of more than 500,000 people between the ages of fifty and seventy-one. The researchers said thousands of deaths could be prevented if people simply ate less meat.

This is, of course, old news reconfirmed by yet another study. The NCI, a U.S. government institution, has long known that animal products are a public health concern. However, while we are encouraged to quit smoking, inevitably the recommendations regarding animal products only go as far as: "simply [eat] less meat." Even as thousands are dying, vegetarianism is never represented as an option.