This book by Carol J. Adams is something of a "bible for feminist and progressive animal rights activists." The central idea is that there is a connection between meat eating and a patriarchal world view. Animals are exploited and so are women. When meat was available, our forefathers grabbed first. Men hunted meat, and men hunt women. Adams is at her best when drawing attention to the rhetoric of animal and female exploitation. For example there is the "butchering of women." Snuff movies disproportionally celebrate the death of women and, apparently, the details of the pornography resembles butchering. Knives and daggers are used against both women and animals. When an animal's habitat is destroyed, it is often said that it was "raped". More provocatively, men try to domesticate both women and animals. The book is good at reminding us of the male fondness for meat. Men's night out is often at a steakhouse, while women go to Mindy's Hot Chocolate. By the way, when I went to Karyn's, I noticed that the clientele was eighty percent female, and while there were groups of women there was not a single all male table.
It is interesting that several women and not one man recommended this book to me. There are, of course, differences between the two exploitations, and the connection is only partial. I wish Adams had addressed such things, but her book is more of a brief for the woman-vegetarian connection. For example, she could have noted that men are also described as animals. The Chicago Bulls is just one team name that celebrates men as animals. The stock market, which is male dominated, is commonly described with animal terms such as bull and bear. A male employee might be described as "strong as an ox," so it is not just dominant men that are described in animal terms. But Adams is less interested in the differences reflected in these examples than about pounding away at the provocative idea that males hunt and exploit flesh, and that feminism and vegetarianism are partners. At one point, Adams discusses the origin of the term "vegan" in 1944, and describes veganism as an "ethical stance based on compassion for all beings." There is an implication, and many references to ancient and modern writings, that while hunting is masculine, compassion is feminine.