March 19, 2012
Legislators: Women Are Not Cows and Pigs

What a mess. Is there a way we can challenge the gross invasion of women’s bodies and violation of their rights, as suggested by this proposed legislation, without accepting and perpetuating the speciesist (and other oppressive) terms of the debate? Specifically, for this case, can we not so wholly distance ourselves from cows and pigs that we fail to see that the intense manipulation of their reproductive cycles as “farm animals” and large scale exploitation of their bodies is actually connected to women’s oppression under capitalist patriarchy? They oppress us by saying that we are like animals. We oppress animals by denying any continuity, and reinforce the human/animal divide. Absolutely, it makes sense to want to reaffirm our own humanity in the midst of such terms of debate, and thus lay claim to our “human rights,” but that gesture is marked by negated exclusion. We neglect any opportunity for solidarity in this instance when we accept that the analogy to farm animals is insulting, without reflecting on its speciesist underpinnings. It’s precisely this orientation that allows for the continued commodification and brutal treatment of farm animals. Yes, women are not the same as pigs and cows, and no we shouldn’t be rallying for their rights to safe abortions, etc. But cleaving ourselves off from those who are tortured and die under similar oppressive ideological and material regimes isn’t the way forward either. Let’s not throw our lot in with the oppressors in the midst of our resistance.

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