The Sexual Politics of Meat, 20 Years Later

The other day I saw an ad for a new model of Audi. In it, a woman enters a butcher shop, and the butcher, a female, knowing that this woman is looking for something more “red blooded,” ushers her into the back room, where we find the new Audi Q8. “Dig in,” the butcher says.

I couldn’t help but wonder what Carol Adams, author The Sexual Politics of Meat, would say about this ad. The notion of comparing the purchasing of dead animals to the purchasing of an automobile. The casting choices. The slogan “There’s a new beast in town.”

The Sexual Politics of Meat (reviewed by Shel Graves here) illuminated a darkness in our culture, one that we are squinting through today. I did not read this book back when I ate meat, and I wonder if it would have made a difference had I done so. I suspect it would have, as her arguments, lined up one after another like planes approaching the runway, build to an unavoidable conclusion — that our culture ignores the suffering of most non-human animals, that men are raised to believe they must eat meat to be men, that women are raised to enable this mythology.

In truth, we choose not to see. We choose to see something else, a mythology built around meat. And as Carol notes in the book, you can’t argue with mythology.

The reason for this post is not just to point out that ridiculous automobile ad but to give you the exciting early news that Carol Adams is our next judge for the Siskiyou Prize for New Environmental Literature. We are honored that she agreed to participate, as she inspires our press and our writing — and her work is as relevant as ever.