20 March, 2010

Quote Of The Day: Emilie Autumn

Emilie with one of her rats, Basil.
I've never written anything quite as literal as Morrissey's "Meat Is Murder," but there is an overriding theme of the underdog fighting back in most of what I write, and I personally equate that premise to both feminism and animal rights. I know it may sound strange to connect the two, but I'm going to try and explain the way I see it. To start, I'm going to go ahead and be a total pompous ass and quote Gandhi for a second: "The greatness of a nation and its moral progress can be judged by the way its animals are treated." Now, a society's treatment of animals is closely related to their treatment of women, and the fact that I don't like the way that sounds doesn't make it any less true. The way a society treats its animals has a direct and glaringly obvious connection to its treatment of women because inhumane is inhumane is inhumane, and the attitudes of the ruling class (or gender in this case) on one creature considered inferior are the attitudes it extends toward all things considered such.

And so is it any wonder that regarding women and animals, in our present "civilized" society, the greatest of evils are still enacted upon both? At least when a cow is slaughtered, it isn't personal. When a woman is abused, it usually is, and this is something I write about constantly.
- Emilie Autumn, on whether any of her songs touch upon animal rights.

This one's from Emilie's interview with PETA, which I highly advise you all to check out. I dislike PETA with some intensity, but I adore Emilie as a musician, with her veganism and animal rights views a huge bonus for me. If you have any interest in alternative music (say, industrial metal with violins?), you might wish to look up Emilie herself. I went to one of her concerts a few nights ago, and it was nothing short of amazing.

The photo above comes from Emilie's official website.

07 February, 2010

Kyri-what? My Position On Newcomers, Trolls, And Those With A Different Opinion.

In my previous post on language, I said:

As this is a blog that inspects and criticizes the kyriarchy, I will not permit them.

It occurred to that not every reader of this blog is necessarily going to understand the terminology I frequently use. On that note, I thought I should discuss this blog's approach to newcomers to either the feminist or animal rights blogospheres (or, maybe, both).

I'm aware that a significant amount of the more mainstream and/or larger blogs tend to hold more advanced discussions, and may not, on the surface, seem terribly newbie-friendly. I understand the reasoning behind this: when one wishes to have an indepth discussion on a matter that necessitates a certain amount of sociological knowledge, it can be frustrating to have to derail discussions in order to explain to newcomers what specific terms or concepts mean (and perhaps get into an argument about the finer details of said terms or concepts). However, I'd like to make this blog as welcoming as I possibly can to readers of all levels. Whether you are a veteran of either ideologies and discussions on the blogosphere, or you're completely new to all of it, you are welcome here.

If you read my work, and do not understand concepts or terms that I use, please comment. I will be happy to provide explanations and links so that your experience here is enhanced. From my personal experience of both blogospheres, I believe that blogs with similar policies can, on occasion, be taken advantage of by trolls. However, if any reader does have an opinion that differs from mine, go ahead and voice it. You are welcome to discuss your beliefs and values with me and other readers; I will not dismiss another simply because we have different ideologies. The only time that this policy is rendered void is if you cease to respect me, other commenters, and the fact that this place is a safe space (which is why discriminative language is not tolerated).

The bottom line is that everyone is absolutely welcome here, insofar as respect is granted where it is due. If you're not entirely sure what that means, please ask.

For the sake of inclusion, I will link to explanations, or I will include an explanation myself, if I believe readers may not understand the words or concepts I am using. For example:

Kyriarchy is a neologism coined by Elisabeth Schüssler Fiorenza. It developed as a response to the limited use of the word 'patriachy' to accurately depict the overarching or intersecting structures of oppression and domination prevalent in the western world. If I recall correctly, Lisa over at My Ecdysis introduced the word to the feminist blogosphere in this brilliant post, 'Accepting Kyriachy, Not Apologies':

Let me break this down for you. When people talk about patriarchy and then it divulges into a complex conversation about the shifting circles of privilege, power, and domination -- they're talking about kyriarchy. When you talk about power assertion of a White woman over a Brown man, that's kyriarchy. When you talk about a Black man dominating a Brown womyn, that's kyriarchy.

Definitely go ahead and read that post. I find the term far more appropriate than 'patriarchy', and will generally prefer it over the latter. It's been immensely helpful in clarifying my feminist thoughts and writings, and I highly promote its usage as much as possible.

29 January, 2010

A Note On Language.

Please note my use of gender-neutral language in the following post. I will write about this at length in the future.

A few days ago, I had a brief conversation with a prominent vegan blogger. As a fan of his blog, and a longtime RSS feed-follower, I was disappointed when I came across a post concerning Canada's Fisheries and Oceans Minister Gail Shea having been hit in the face with a pie by an animal rights activist associated with PETA (link to a news report; I will not identify said blogger). In the post, the author described the practice of pie-throwing as 'lame'. I contacted them, explaining my position:

I feel as though the animal rights field is rife with discrimination such as misogyny, ageism, and ableism. Your inclusion of this word falls into the latter category. I don't believe you intended to cause harm, but use of ableist words such as 'lame', no matter how widely-used, does just that. It is my sincere request that you retract the word from the post, and refrain from using it in the future.

In the e-mail, I linked to Meloukia's fantastic takedown of the word 'lame' on FWD/Forward, as it explained my position far more eloquently than I might.

The reply I received was somewhat disheartening. It basically thanked me for my e-mail, and noted that they had read the post I'd linked to, along with indicating that they had done a little research on the origins of the word 'lame'. The author said that they 'didn't know what to tell' me other than that they disagreed, and doubted that we would 'reach agreement on this topic'. The reply finished with the expression that they hoped this would not lose me as a reader.

And that was it.

There was no reason given as to why this writer disagreed with me on the topic. They didn't seem to be familiar with the ableist nature of the word, so perhaps this might have been the first time that someone had called them out on it. The author is, as I mentioned above, somewhat prolific; although I couldn't assume that they are able-bodied, a customary Google search said nothing to the contrary.

Irregardless, though, of whether they are able-bodied or differently-abled, I disagree with their position. My position is as such: we do not live in a vacuum. One cannot divorce a word of its context at will, or ignore it because it is convenient. I constantly hear people trying to minimize the damage harmful words do, and the pain that they cause when attempting to justify their language. These people may try to argue that their 'right' to use these words trumps the valid suffering that these people experience. They may try to say that they're just words, and couldn't possibly do any harm, and that our 'political correctness craze' is going too far. I couldn't disagree more.

Words matter. That's the reason why I'm writing, and it's why you're reading.

By using misogynistic, sexist, ableist, transphobic, homophobic, ageist or speciesist language, you are, in effect, enabling such discrimination and perpetuating the system of elitism the western world operates on. As this is a blog that inspects and criticizes the kyriarchy, I will not permit them. Their usage runs entirely contrary to my values. If you disagree with my viewpoint, I welcome conversation on the issue. However, please note that unwarranted use of this language, particularly in a pejorative manner, will not be tolerated here. I intend for this place to act as a safe space, insofar as is possible, and this is the foundation upon which that space will be constructed.

19 January, 2010

Ladystachette? An Introduction, And An Explanation.

Hi. I'm Ladystachette. I'm a teenage feminist with a penchant for animal rights. Feminism isn't often discussed in the online animal rights sector; likewise, animal rights isn't a topic that seems to concern most in the feminist blogosphere. I intend to write about why both of these beliefs are, contrary to popular opinion, compatible with each other, and why both are so important in the western world.

For those curious about the name, Ladystachette is a moniker pulled from the following passage in this post:

Ladystaches of course, are those little faint moustaches we ladies get that kind of perch on the corner regions of our upper lip. They are not serious, nor are they something to get all obsessed about and start peering at your face in your compact at 45 degree angles in sunlight every chance you get and go create a blog called Ladystachette or anything wild like that. No, no, no.

I forget how I stumbled upon the blog (such places aren't my usual haunts), but the post was front and foremost at the time. Evidently, the term was a joke, but I nonetheless found it an appropriate alias to use in the feminist blogosphere with precisely the right amount of sarcasm. God forbid a woman show off her ladystache with pride, no?

I have considered myself a feminist for a number of years. In the time since that post was written, however, my beliefs concerning non-human animals have become just as important to me. Unfortunately, I have not come across any sites or blogs that hold both these philosophies of equal importance. In my experience, the current western feminist movement is not largely concerned with the welfare of animals. Conversely, the western animal rights movement is rife with misogyny, ableism, transphobia, racism, and other forms of discrimination that feminism is dedicated to ending. I believe that this needn't be the case.

It is time for those who believe that no human or non-human animal should suffer needlessly to speak out. I intend to do just that, and hope that this blog will foster the kind of conversation needed to spurn action, build bridges, and, ultimately, create tangible change.

I will discuss my particular brands of feminism and animal rights abolitionism at length at a later date. Until then, however, I ask that you consider the intent of this blog, and if it appeals to you.

Love, Ladystachette.
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