Feminism and Veganism

Feminism and Veganism

For many years I had no concept of what feminism was or why it was needed, growing up in white affluent Surrey with a female monarch and a female prime minister I naturally thought women mostly ran the world and that men had agreed to this.

Oblivious in my childhood bubble I saw my mother and father both work, both drive cars and have equal opinions in the household. I wasn’t aware of all the steps it had taken for women to be able to vote or own property in the UK, I had no idea women were viewed by some as intellectually deficient. I was a rough and tumble tomboy child with a bmx and scuffed knees, I fought with the boys and played with flower fairies and sylvanians, I cut my hair short and climbed trees. I felt like a balanced person not just a girl. When asked what I wanted to be when I grew up Prime Minister was my answer, I had no thoughts of ‘boys jobs’ and ‘girls jobs’ I may not have wanted to be a bin man or a pilot but I wouldn’t have dreamed that my gender would stop me doing either.

Imagine my horror upon bursting confidently into the workplace to be treated as less than male colleagues, paid less than male colleagues and viewed as a liability due to my gender. In my twenties; Even as a top performer my older male boss would happily tell clients they only kept me around to do the washing up in front of all the other staff and encouraged sexist comments and behaviour.

So even in today’s so called enlightened society in the UK sexism and insults to women are commonplace, being a feminist has really never been more important, There are still so many battles for female humans globally, for education for health rights, voting rights, rights over their own bodies. people around the world are obsessed with women’s attire, in France you can be ordered to take off your clothes on a beach and uncover your hair at gun point, in other countries women risk punishment for being too uncovered! Personally I think some stringent rules across all cultures to ban males in speedos, large basketball shirts when not actually playing the sport and of course socks with sandals would be of more benefit to civilisation!

So how does this relate to being vegan? Of all of the injustices and outrages in the animal agriculture industry the female of all species are particularly exploited, if I am to remain true to my feminist beliefs, that females  AND males deserve to be free and safe and have equal opportunities to live peacefully, then I cannot stand by whilst females of any species are forcibly impregnated, have their babies ripped from them, watch their babies being slaughtered and then steal the milk that was intended for their baby.

I cannot accept that females of any species are herded into massive barns and pumped full of hormones to produce unfertilised eggs for snacks and and as a baking ingredient? Before all of these poor exploited mothers are dragged off to be killed for more snacks.

All mothers bond with the baby growing in their tummy, cells from male human babies have been found in their mothers brain tissue (fascinating!) so it is not a massive leap of the imagination to say that all mothers carry part of their child with them forever.. an invisible cord that connects mother to child. Why would humans be the only species that this applies to? Hens talk to their chicks in the egg so when they hatch the chick knows its mother. IT’S MOTHER ! Not just a hen, not just a pig, not just a cow, not just a sheep- Mothers.

So as a feminist I am proud to stand for all females of all species. We are not humankind if we only look after human rights. We do not give animals rights, we can only restore those we have stolen.

Feel the Fear and do it Anyway

Throughout my life there have been many occasions where I have faced fear and uncertainty (like most people I imagine). There’s been times where I have felt small, vulnerable and alone, yet in my head most of the time I manage to convince myself I am 10 feet tall and all powerful, yet all merciful! No one is more surprised than I when I stand up and I am only 5’3!

Fear can be a useful catalyst for change, a warning, a wake up call .. an emotion to be explored and a reminder of our mortality. But it is a fleeting emotion and should be dealt with and erased, not held on to and nourished.

For a lot of people this is experienced most often as fear of loss. Whether it be a person, a way of life or a belief, humans tend to form attachments. And change and embracing new views about the world can be a loss of sorts, a loss of a certain reality and a loss of comfort and security. It can be upsetting and unsettling to acknowledge that the cultural programming and propaganda that has surrounded us all of our lives, has inescapably coloured our perception of the world, of right and wrong and of legality. It is only when we seek a different point of view and new knowledge that we can be fully engaged in the choices that we make. Ask yourself how do I know-what I know? If the answer is: from school a long time ago, what my parents/priest told me or I read the mainstream news faithfully, this bears more examination!

The amazing work that the cube of truth and other vegan outreach teams do is invaluable in making people face their fears. Most people view themselves as compassionate animal lovers, yet they shy away from the many undercover documentaries on UK farming. They scroll past ‘that vegan friend’ Facebook posts and they squeal in horror if you mention a baby cow has been destroyed so they can have a flat white.

Most people’s fears come down to the following: Am I good enough? Am I a good person? Have I been lied to my whole life and is the government actually is trying to slowly kill me with air pollution, GMO riddled corpses and animal secretions, whilst taxing me and reducing my freedom if possible?! So the last one probably isn’t that common a fear but it SHOULD be!

We all want to see ourselves as good people, so coming face to face with the reality that animal agriculture and abuse is ingrained in most peoples lifestyle choices; and it does no good at all is hard to face.

Meat eaters – vegetarians FACE the FEAR, see what you buy into, see what your meal choices are doing to this incredible planet, watch the crying babies dragged from their grieving mothers, watch the abuse, the torture, the fear that these beautiful trusting animals face.

Your fears can be conquered, you never have to watch and bear witness again if you are not part of the problem. You can lay your fears to one side. A trembling calf in a slaughterhouse or a piglet being stamped on can only be released from their fear, their misery, their pain and exploitation if you face your fear of change and try some almond milk or any of the many varieties of plant based milks and creams. If you try new exciting dishes with jackfruit, seitan and plant based burgers. You can sample baked delights, burgers, hot dogs .. all the same food you know and love.. minus the fear. The most common regret that vegans have is ‘I wish I had done it sooner’.

Be brave. Be bold, question everything. Find your truth and live it and the world will be a better place for us all. This is the real war on terror and together by making simple food and clothing swaps we can wipe out terror for 56 billion animals a year.