Vegetarianism and Women’s Rights

I just listened to a video talking about whether or not feminists were morally obligated to be vegetarian/vegan and it reminded me of the history of vegetarianism and the way that it related to women’s rights.

Historically speaking, vegetarianism was practiced by Pythagoras and other ancient Greeks for religious reasons regarding the transmigration of souls (white males soooooo). [side note: Ben Franklin also did this!!] It was also due to a respect for non-violence. A super awesome podcast called “Stuff Mom Never Told You” delved into the relationship between vegetarianism and women’s rights, highlighting the fact that once women began to tout vegetarianism as important men rebelled against it. [PLEASE LISTEN TO IT] Despite having once proclaimed the importance of such a diet, once this type of diet was associated with women (specifically suffragettes), it became unpalatable to men (pun intended). The communities and associations that were formed for vegetarians gave women the platform to speak about their struggle for rights.

Other arguments regarding vegetarianism involve the idea of the inherently violent and oppressive aspect of meat eating that can clearly be translated to the violent and oppressive treatment of women. Much of this can be found in ideas of (vegetarian)ecofeminism. In fact, the wiki page for this is a very good jumping off point for this topic. Both Greta Gaard and Carol Adams are also good sources for more on vegetarianism ecofeminism.

Obviously, we have to be cognizant of the fact that this particularly relates to white women and their move to vote and gain rights- this is not necessarily an intersectional argument with the research that is currently out, but I can see the ways in which an intersectional approach can expound on these ideas.

Honestly I’m a little tipsy am enjoying having finished my finals so I’m not organizing this clearly but this topic is very cool and I was stoked too learn that there was a relationship between abstaining from eating meat and the struggle for women’s rights. I’m definitely going to gather more information on this topic and put something together that is more in depth and more nuanced.

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3 Comments

  1. I also heard that thanks to women’s right we get to enjoy left over meatloaf, the crustless sandwich, non-alcoholic drinks, sleeveless shirts and Baywatch reruns. Thanks a bunch.

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