Monday, September 15, 2003

Sex sells

I have seen a lot in the past year. The most memorable moment, without a doubt, is when the fifth grade students at an elementary school in Manhattan, NY that told me they were animal rights activists. Where does that come from? I have a very good example right here.

Read here about the Liberation Now website promoting The National Student Animal Rights conference taking place Nov 3-7, 2003 at American University in Washington DC. Take a look at the speakers list for this conference. I have pulled out the work of Carol Adams who is speaking for the third straight year. She is an author. Her topic is “The Sexual Politics of Meat”. Below is a brief look at what these kids are hearing.

Sexualized fragmentation. Fragmented body parts of animals who will be eaten depicted in such a way that thoughts of women as sex objects are clearly evoked as well. Breast and thighs advertised on menus, as well as specific examples like "We serve the best legs in town," draw upon the patriarchal fixation on women's bodyparts.

Animals feminized/sexualized. Animals presented in poses and clothes human females are represented in our culture (svelte legs, a "chick" in high heels, often animals posed like women, animals who are four-legged made to appear both "sexy" and bipedal, animals in bikinis). "I ate a pig..." Exactly who are they referring to?

Back-entry shots of both animals and women. In pornography, back entry shots are constructed to convey both women's accessibility and imputes to them an "animal-like" nature, that is, "animal-like" in a speciesist culture, a view that sees women as desiring being sodomized; sometimes animals who are seen as consumable are positioned that way as an invitation to consumption.

Connecting flesh eating and other forms of animal oppression to prostitution and pornography ("strip", "buck-naked", "Live Nude Lobsters!", and the "Happy Hooker," etc.).


So what are the students saying about this?

"A lot of the analogies she made...they seem like things that were always out there we just never connected them in our minds."

--Student at the University of Michigan, quoted in the Michigan Daily.


Sometimes grandpa’s way isn’t the best way

This year I attended the United States Sorghum conference for the first time. I came away from there wondering why we don’t plant more acres of sorghum in this country. Since that time, I have made it a practice to ask farmers why they don’t. The best answer I have received is “I don’t like it”. I bring it up today because I want to reiterate that sometimes we need to look to new options. From National Grain Sorghum Producers newsletter last week, please consider this:

The Kansas State University Department of Agronomy is establishing the Center of Excellence for Sorghum Improvement at the university’s Manhattan campus. Research aimed at developing new, improved varieties will also be conducted at the school’s various research fields around the state, including the north central field near Belleville and its agricultural research center at Hays. “Grain sorghum is one of the most important dryland crops in the Central Great Plains of the United States,” says Dave Mengel, agronomy department head. “With water increasingly coming into focus in agricultural policy, and given that farmers in the central Great Plains are concerned about waning supplies in aquifers, sorghum is in a unique position to be a leader in this new agriculture evolution.”

National Farm Safety and Health Week 2003

Securing Your Farm Future Through Safety and Health…Kids Are Key!

Earlham, Iowa - AgPRonline - Sept. 12, 2003 - In 1942, President Franklin D. Roosevelt declared the third complete week in September as National Farm Safety and Health Week. Since 1987, Farm Safety 4 Just Kids has been proud to help support farm safety efforts and help raise awareness about children and youth during National Farm Safety and Health Week.

Today, Farm Safety 4 Just Kids is proud to have communities across the nation celebrate farm safety during National Farm Safety and Health Week. The theme from the National Safety Council in 2003 is, Securing Your Farm Future Through Safety and Health. Farm Safety 4 Just Kids is making kids key to a safer future of agriculture through a staff traveling road show and local “Kids Are Key!” walks.



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