Neither Man Nor Beast

“Neither Man Nor Beast: Patriarchy, Speciesism and Deconstructing Oppressions” was an entirely online, web-based conference that happened on February, 23rd, 2014.

**RECORDINGS BELOW (with captioning)** 

The goal of this event was to create a space to discuss critical feminist theories and offer our unique experiences under patriarchy, with intention of re-evaluating how oppressions relate in our lives and our communities and how best to integrate this into advocacy for the rights of non-human and human animals alike. Critiquing the limitations of popular and mainstream animal rights campaigns currently, and by offering solutions, we discussed how to build a more unified and diverse movement.

This conference happened entirely online, in hopes of being more accessible (physically and economically) and respectful to the Earth by reducing fossil fuels used in travel. The website used also had an interactive platform, where everyone in attendance could both listen and discuss ideas about patriarchy & speciesism.

Sarah Scanlon – Introduction & Land Acknowledgement
*Closed captioning is available. Click CC*
Sarah provides an introduction to the day, including a land acknowledgement & trigger warning to the online attendees.

Carol J. Adams – “Politics and the absent referent in 2014″
*Closed captioning is available. Click CC*
In The Sexual Politics of Meat, Carol politicized the literary concept of the absent referent. The absent referent is the literal being who disappears in the eating of dead bodies, and who are kept in reproductive slavery to produce eggs and milk for human beings.  The Sexual Politics of Meat and succeeding works, also showed how non-dominant people often become absent referents and the ways that interlocking oppressions occur through the use of the structure of the absent referent. The absent referent is the fact and reality of oppression that disappears when someone’s life becomes someone else’s pleasure or convenience. Carol will provide an overview of this subject and then focus a part of her discussion on issues of reproductive justice and how current debates about abortion and birth control are related to attitudes toward nonhuman domesticated females whose bodies are always available for manipulation and use.

Lori Gruen — “Entangled Empathy as Ecofeminist Praxis”
*Closed captioning is available. Click CC*
Entangled Empathy as Ecofeminist Praxis will be discussing how the feminist care tradition in animal ethics has a long and often overlooked history.  In this talk, the history will be briefly laid out and distinctions between care, compassion, and empathy will be discussed.  Lori will present the notion of “entangled empathy” and disentangle it from some material feminist conceptions that extend care to all life.  It will then turn to practical ways of understanding entangled empathy:  how it works, how it might go wrong, and how it can be corrected.

Breeze Harper – “[In]Visible Scars of Suffering”

*Closed captioning is available. Click CC*
In this talk, I will explore how my two books, Sistah Vegan (Lantern Books 2010) and Scars: A Black Lesbian Experience in Rural New England (Sense Publishers 2014), creatively articulate core themes in both critical race feminism and ethical consumption studies. Ultimately, I will explore how creative writing can be used to holistically educate people about the interconnectedness of suffering for both human and non-human animals.

Daniel Kirjner — “Masculinity and Violence”

*Closed captioning is available. Click CC*
In contemporary western cultures, masculinity helps define what it means to be human. War propaganda, competitive sports industry, and advertisements are constantly reaffirming our identity as connected to power and gender/species domination. At the same time, women and non-human animals are portrayed as objects of consumption and conquest. Through a culture of violence and predation, masculinity ideas subjugate “otherness” in order to affirm Self. Violence against women and animals are not different kinds of oppression, but different expressions of the same oppression. The advertisement industry provides the opportunity to analyze how sexism and speciesism are portrayed as products.
During the last two years, I’ve been researching ads from many countries in order to compare how oppressions are sold as products in different cultures. I found that in capitalist societies, such as those in South and North America, ideas of violence and sexuality are intrinsically connected: the consumption of animal products is frequently related to female sexuality; in a similar way, female sexuality is commonly associated with meat consumption. Food and gender are not isolated matters, they interact to build a culture of rape. This presentation explores how aggressive masculinity reinforces a culture of sex and violence against humans and non-humans, comparing advertisements from a variety of capitalist societies, including Canada, the United States and Brazil.

Hannah Monroe – “Animals, Children’s Books & the Social Construction of Gender”

*Closed captioning is available. Click CC*
This presentation will examine gendered representations of anthropomorphized animal characters in popular children’s books. This presentation will focus on how animals are anthropomorphized in ways that reinforce hegemonic gender norms, symbolically supporting the idea that these norms are natural. I will mainly focus on the theory around gendered representations of animals, drawing from a content analysis I did on best-selling children’s picture books with anthropomorphized animal characters from 2001 to 2010. I will also expand on my discussion of the naturalization of gender through children’s picture books to look at heteronormative depictions of animals. This presentation will go on to examine depictions of animals in books that denaturalize social norms. I will additionally address how society’s use of animals in this way is connected to animal rights issues, looking at the paradox of using animals symbolically to naturalize social norms, while devaluing the animals themselves. Overall, this presentation will demonstrate how attitudes toward animals may inform ideas about gender.

Anastasia Yarbrough — “Contemplating radical self-care”

*Closed captioning is available. Click CC*
Although the importance of radical self-care is emerging as a legitimate strategy for liberation within social justice communities, and although authors like pattrice jones have emphasized the importance of self-care in the animal rights community, radical self-care in practice is often ignored within animal rights. In fact, the very concept of “community” is ignored in animal rights. Instead, we focus increasingly on individuals making siloed decisions based on sometimes abstract ideas of animals as a monolithic group and how justice should manifest for them in a global human society. In my talk, I offer stories, poetry, some data, and real-life examples as to why radical self-care is important and relevant to the animal rights movement. I challenge fellow activists to contemplate and reconsider the role of community, in building community, when shaping our strategic and tactical work for animal rights. With the forces of racism, patriarchy, and colonialism weighing heavily in our individual lives and relationships, the most radical action we can take to affirm our power and make a difference for other animals is to help ourselves and help animals to help themselves. Throughout this talk, I will return again and again to the guiding question:
How do we navigate the storm of oppression and manage to emerge sane?

Mya Wollf — “Interconnections of feminism, animal liberation and radical sobriety”

*Closed captioning is available. Click CC*
In this presentation, I’d like to talk about my own experiences in oppression, and how they’ve come to lead me to a life totally dedicated to being an ally and comrade to all beings as we all work towards eradicating the forces that hold us down.  I will address how radical sobriety has allowed me to find clarity in my own situation, how I’ve been able to take the strength that I’ve built as a survivor and do my best to fight  for the liberation of others, and also how sobriety has allowed me to become aware of the oppression that I perpetrate on my own as a white, cis-gendered female.   By stepping away from intoxication culture, or at least by being aware of the harm it can cause, we can all take a step away from hierarchy, oppression and domination over others and move toward further accountability in our relationships with each other and the beings we share this world

Ashley Maier — “Violence Against Women and Animal Rights”

*Closed captioning is available. Click CC*
Simply put, the movement to end violence against women and the animal rights movement need each other. Neither will attain their goals in isolation. Those bold statements can be shocking and highly offensive in many circles. Accordingly, this presentation will explore not only how violence against women and animal rights are inextricably linked, but also concepts and methods that are key to the prevention of both manifestations of violence — the movements share a lot more than they realize.
Drawing from the presenter’s extensive experience within the movement to end violence against women, the presentation will highlight common resistance to an intersectional approach to the issues, offering practical, applicable solutions to making the link. The solutions necessarily involve a critique of current approaches and phenomena in both movements, looking at how they can grow to take an intersectional approach and build partnerships to further their objectives, creating a peaceful and just world for all.

Sunaura Taylor — “Vegans, Freaks, and Animals”

*Closed captioning is available. Click CC*
This talk will examine an event that took place at the Headlands Center for the Arts in Marin County, California, in 2010, where Sunaura was invited to debate the author and cattle rancher Nicolette Hahn Niman on the ethics of eating meat. Rather than detailing the debate itself, this presentation will explore the context of the event and the social, political, and historical associations that it brought up for Sunaura as a feminist vegan disability activist and scholar.

R.H. – “HALAL: Perspectives on intersecting oppressions from a Muslim Vegan Feminist”
*Closed captioning is available. Click CC*
Feminism cannot afford to ignore the link between women’s oppression and animal exploitation. Nor should veganism position itself as a movement independent of the struggle for women’s rights. As well as the obvious examples of dairy cows and battery hens exploited for their reproductive capacity, there is a more subtle connection. From an early age, R’s own experience in a patriarchal religious-based culture led her to question both the roles of women and the treatment of animals. In Halal, R will discuss how her feminism and vegetarianism (eventually to become veganism), bloomed simultaneously in her early childhood, although she was not to make the connection that these were two sides of the same coin until decades later; that feminism and veganism are intertwined because both reject the implicitly accepted notion that some bodies have the right to control and dominate others. As long as feminists eat meat, then they are propping up the very system they fighting against.

Sâkihitowin Awâsis — “From Animal Rights to Anti-Colonial Organizing”

*Closed captioning is available. Click CC*
Awâsis will provide a brief overview of colonization and the impacts this has on Indigenous ways of being. How the colonial processes of dehumanization and dispiriting subjugate Indigenous Peoples, animals, and the earth will be explored. This will provide reasons to expand the scope of animal rights mobilizing to also include understandings of diverse relationships and responsibilities.
Interrelated acts of decolonization and Indigenous resurgence in our movements for animal liberation have the power to transform the very notion of what it means to be human on a path to liberation. Activists often risk reproducing colonial power dynamics in their organizing and it is an important obstacle to consider in our collective struggle. Lastly, Awâsis will suggest strategies for building a more inclusive, united, and a common front against all injustice.


we are so appreciative for everyone’s support & participation!
tickets for the event sold out a month in advance, with over 500 people RSVP’ing online. the speakers & presentations were AMAZING. and now the recordings have been uploaded with captioning included.
another conference is in the planning stages, so please contact us if you are interested to help!
human rights are animal rights!!

more pictures:








Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s