I have taught the ideas of Carol Adams connecting feminism to vegetarianism for the last fifteen years. I believe Carol Adams and other ethical vegetarian thinkers provide important insight into the most persuasive articulation of compassion and for animal rights. These thinkers provide help exploring the questions associated with ethics, violence and killing.
One key insight I’ve drawn from Carol Adams is to scrutinize the language of representation. How living animals are re-articulated to become advertisements for their own obliteration. Unpacking the driving justification for violence itself involves interrogating the artifacts that sooth the conscience of human animals.
Suicide food is a humorous attempt to pinpoint images which represent animals as happily giving their lives for human consumption. Here is the commentary on the angelic pig advertisement above:
If we could hear the thoughts of this pig, this newly minted angel, he might say, “At last! I am delivered at last from the stinking life into which I was born, and which was bequeathed to me as a necessary precondition for my ascendance into blissful eternity!” (Getting killed and grilled really brings out the poetry in a pig.) “Ill will? I bear the humans—my betters from their soles to their souls—no malice, for they have engineered my deliverance! And the only cost was a brief—so, so very brief—lifetime of worthlessness!”
Which is why the haloed food wears a beatific smile. Through his suffering and utter abnegation, he is clarified into his essence. And now, on ornamental wings, he soars to his last and best destination, and the life beyond life that his death and consumption made possible.
via Suicide Food.
I like the concept of suicide food — the term itself. It provides a moment of critique to those who eat meat without reflection. It also mockingly brings forward the image of the tools (confined animals, slaughterhouses, butchers) used to actually produce meat.
Smart and useful. Thanks to Lisa Wade at Sociological Images for the connect.
2 responses to “The conscience of meat eaters: suicide food”
I like the concept of “suicide food” too. And I’ve always agreed that there was a correlation between feminism and vegetarianism. On its most basic level, I guess it’s about oppression and being treated like a piece of meat, no?
Thanks for the comment Stephanie.
One of the best ways to change oppression is to explode the very idea of ‘piece of meat’ — to remove the animal from the comparison.