Per request, this week’s topic I’ve decided to tackle is how veganism relates to feminism. Now, I’m 100% sure you’re already asking yourself, “What in the world does veganism have to do with feminism?” The short answer is more than you probably realize. So, I’m here to serve as your vegan guide to all things vegan and feminist. Well maybe not all things, but you catch my drift.

So I became vegan at the beginning of this year (2017), and it started out as an ethical decision. For me, it came down to a recurring thought I was having: you can’t humanely kill something that doesn’t want to die. It made sense to me, and I made the switch overnight and haven’t looked back. I was lactose intolerant before I made the switch, so I ate limited amounts of dairy, and I didn’t really care for meat, so my dietary changes weren’t huge. My decision to continue being vegan also has other factors including, environmental factors (animal agriculture is killing our planet!! Here’s a website with a ton of sources explaining how), health factors (processed meats/animal protein contribute to chronic illnesses!! Look up The China Study by T. Colin Campbell – wiki summary), and ideological factors, which brings me to how feminism ties in to veganism.

Yes, the majority of that paragraph is a shameless plug of reasons you should go vegan. Take it with a grain of salt, and do tons of research if it’s something you’re interested in. And, of course I’m always here to answer any vegan-related questions you may have about making the transition, recipes, or just simply why you should be vegan.

Onward to the feminism.

Just a warning, some of the subject matter about to be discussed in my post and in linked articles/posts is graphic and may be triggering to some people. If you are sensitive to s*xual assault or m*rder, please be safe and don’t read any further than this. 

So…you like milk, don’t you? What about cheese? Everyone seems to have an obsession with cheese these days. But have you ever stopped to consider exactly where cheese comes from and how it’s made? After doing a bit of research, you may be as shocked and appalled as I was. Here’s a quote that describes the process from a leaflet by Peaceful Prairie Sanctuary called “Milk Comes From a Grieving Mother.” It’s addressing what female cows go through on dairy farms.

“After repeated cycles of forced impregnations, painful births, relentless milkings, and crushing bereavements, their spirit gives, their bodies wither, their milk dries up. At the age when, in nature, a female cow would barely enter adulthood, the life of a dairy cow is over. When her milk ‘production’ declines, she and her other ‘spent’ herd mates are trucked off to slaughter. Some are pregnant. All are still lactating. As they are shoved towards death, they drip milk onto the killing floor… All dairy operations, including Organic, exist solely by doing to millions of defenseless females the worst thing anyone can do to a mother. Dairy consumers support this practice with their purchases.”

This isn’t propaganda. This is really what happens on dairy farms. There’s no green, grassy fields fully of little mommy and baby cows happily basking in the sun. There’s pain, suffering, rape, loss, and agony. *Warning: graphic images of sexual assault* This article also describes the common practices of the dairy industry.

By this point, I’m sure you’re starting to see how the practices of the dairy industry are in direct conflict with the feminist ideology. A quote from this article called “A Call to Feminists” by  

When visiting the non-vegan home of a self-proclaimed feminist, she offered me cow’s milk with my tea. That’s when I made the profound connection that it’s impossible to truly be a feminist while consuming dairy (or any animal products), as the entire animal industry is built on the exploitation of the female reproductive system. This must be recognized as a feminist issue because it is analogous to the feminist movement’s struggle for women to have control of their own bodies.

Although it is a relatively new idea that feminism is not limited to the human race but to all species, it is a logical and relevant one. Intersectional feminism is necessary. Supporting people (and animals) who are different than you is feminism. Equal rights for all, right?

The writer sums up her post with a few resonating sentences:

Oppression is oppression. Violence is violence. The species of the victim is irrelevant. The way I see it, to be an animal rights activist is to be a vegan. To be an abolitionist is to be a vegan. To be a nonspeciesist is to be a vegan. To be an environmentalist is to be a vegan. To be a peace-loving-pacifist is to be a vegan. To be an ethicist is to be a vegan. AND YES – to be a feminist is to be a vegan.

I know not everyone is going to agree with me. Please, please, please keep an open mind when thinking about these issues though. One person going vegan for one year saves over 350 animal lives, 400,000+ gallons of water, 14,000+lbs of grain, nearly 11,000 sq. ft. of forest, and over 7,000 lbs of CO2.

Be the change you want to see.