In an academic article recently published in the Journal of Feminist Geography, Anne DeLassio-Parson has argued that eating meat upholds the patriarchy and refusing to eat it can be deemed an act of feminism.
DeLassio-Parson, who is a sociology professor at Pennsylvania State University, spoke with vegetarian Argentinian men to understand how not eating meat can affect gender hierarchy and gender binaries. She came to the conclusion that refusing to eat meat is a political, feminist act both for men and women.
Argentina is a meat-centric country known for its production of beef. When men in Argentina choose to abstain from meat consumption it disrupts the gender norms. ‘The decision to become vegetarian does not itself destabilize gender, but the subsequent social interactions between vegetarian and meat-eater demand gender enactment — or resistance,’ explains DeLassio-Parson in her article.
‘Refusing meat therefore presents opportunities, in each social interaction, for the binary to be called into question,’ she continues.
In an interview with Campus Reform about her recently published work, the professor also detailed how not eating meat can be a form of resistance for women. ‘One of the ways [women] push back against patriarchy [is to] say, ‘This is my body. You don’t get to tell me what comes in and out.’’
DeLassio-Parson even argued that vegetarian men appear to be more knowledgeable about sexism and ‘more egalitarian and respectful.’
For many people who are part of marginalized groups in society, such as women, having control over what they put in their bodies can be an empowering experience. According to activists, many members of the black community who have turned to veganism have done so as an act of social justice.
Some vegan activists believe that veganism is feminism in action due to the oppression experienced by non-human females in the farming industry. Female cows, chickens, pigs and other species, are routinely exploited due to their reproductive abilities.
In many ways, it appears that opting to not eat meat can benefit humans and animals in the journey towards a more egalitarian world.