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Defiant Daughters: 21 Women on Art, Activism, Animals, and The Sexual Politics of Meat

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When The Sexual Politics of Meat: A Feminist-Vegetarian Critical Theory by Carol J. Adams was published more than twenty years ago, it caused a immediate stir among writers and thinkers, feminists and animal rights activists alike. Never before had the relationship between patriarchy and meat eating been drawn so clearly, the idea that there lies a strong connection betwee When The Sexual Politics of Meat: A Feminist-Vegetarian Critical Theory by Carol J. Adams was published more than twenty years ago, it caused a immediate stir among writers and thinkers, feminists and animal rights activists alike. Never before had the relationship between patriarchy and meat eating been drawn so clearly, the idea that there lies a strong connection between the consumption of women and animals so plainly asserted. But, as the 21 personal stories in this anthology show, the impact of this provocative text on womens lives continues to this day, and it is as diverse as it is revelatory. One writer attempts to reconcile her feminist-vegan beliefs with her Muslim upbringing; a second makes the connection between animal abuse and her own self-destructive tendencies. A new mother discusses the sexual politics of breastfeeding, while another pens a letter to her young son about all she wishes for him in the future. Many others recall how the book inspired them to start careers in the music business, animal advocacy, and food. No matter whether they first read it in college or later in life, whether they are in their late teens or early forties, these writers all credit The Sexual Politics of Meat in some way with the awakening of their identities as feminists, activists, and women. Even if you havent read the original work, youre sure to be moved and inspired by these tales of growing up and, perhaps more important, waking up to the truths around us.


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When The Sexual Politics of Meat: A Feminist-Vegetarian Critical Theory by Carol J. Adams was published more than twenty years ago, it caused a immediate stir among writers and thinkers, feminists and animal rights activists alike. Never before had the relationship between patriarchy and meat eating been drawn so clearly, the idea that there lies a strong connection betwee When The Sexual Politics of Meat: A Feminist-Vegetarian Critical Theory by Carol J. Adams was published more than twenty years ago, it caused a immediate stir among writers and thinkers, feminists and animal rights activists alike. Never before had the relationship between patriarchy and meat eating been drawn so clearly, the idea that there lies a strong connection between the consumption of women and animals so plainly asserted. But, as the 21 personal stories in this anthology show, the impact of this provocative text on womens lives continues to this day, and it is as diverse as it is revelatory. One writer attempts to reconcile her feminist-vegan beliefs with her Muslim upbringing; a second makes the connection between animal abuse and her own self-destructive tendencies. A new mother discusses the sexual politics of breastfeeding, while another pens a letter to her young son about all she wishes for him in the future. Many others recall how the book inspired them to start careers in the music business, animal advocacy, and food. No matter whether they first read it in college or later in life, whether they are in their late teens or early forties, these writers all credit The Sexual Politics of Meat in some way with the awakening of their identities as feminists, activists, and women. Even if you havent read the original work, youre sure to be moved and inspired by these tales of growing up and, perhaps more important, waking up to the truths around us.

30 review for Defiant Daughters: 21 Women on Art, Activism, Animals, and The Sexual Politics of Meat

  1. 5 out of 5

    Evander Lomke

    I am in the fortunate position to have been the editor of "the mother book," "The Sexual Politics of Meat," by Carol J. Adams. Working under a tight deadline with Carol years ago (Could it be twenty-plus?), on a manuscript that carried a somewhat foreboding academic title ("Against the Texts of Meat"), turned out to be a life-changing experience. I had never quite considered the ethical dimension of eating "animal corpses"--as Carol puts it in another of her books--particularly thro the lens of I am in the fortunate position to have been the editor of "the mother book," "The Sexual Politics of Meat," by Carol J. Adams. Working under a tight deadline with Carol years ago (Could it be twenty-plus?), on a manuscript that carried a somewhat foreboding academic title ("Against the Texts of Meat"), turned out to be a life-changing experience. I had never quite considered the ethical dimension of eating "animal corpses"--as Carol puts it in another of her books--particularly thro the lens of feminist theory; and, needless to say, I had never made any intellectual, never mind gut connection whatsoever to the butchering of farmed animals as informed and sanctioned by a patriarchal culture. "Defiant Daughters" is a worthy companion to Carol Adams's work. It builds on the insights of a true pioneer. It is filled with unexpected raw emotion: rage, self-discovery, fulfillment. I am gratified to find so many young women (at least one was not born when "The Sexual Politics of Meat" was issued) whose lives have been transformed, or who otherwise find validation for their deepest probings and passions regarding diet, ethical choice, and a place in the world. As sensitive souls and standard-bearers, every one of these "defiant daughters" has my admiration.

  2. 4 out of 5

    Hannah

    I have yet to read The Sexual Politics of Meat by Carol J. Adams but I have read about it and heard various erudite people speak on it's subject matter so many times that I felt picking up this book to read on holiday should really just prompt me further along to acquiring a copy of the original text. The selection of essays were incredibly inpsiring and linked many issues connected with gender, femininism, veganism with themes of struggle, finding your one's way and ultimately defiance of the op I have yet to read The Sexual Politics of Meat by Carol J. Adams but I have read about it and heard various erudite people speak on it's subject matter so many times that I felt picking up this book to read on holiday should really just prompt me further along to acquiring a copy of the original text. The selection of essays were incredibly inpsiring and linked many issues connected with gender, femininism, veganism with themes of struggle, finding your one's way and ultimately defiance of the oppressive societal attitudes that most of the authors faced. Although this book probably wasn't many people's beach holiday read (and the binding came apart after hours of sun and one unfortunate incident with a rogue wave) this was my favourite of all the books I packed. It made me realise I am not alone.

  3. 4 out of 5

    Nova

    Having read these intimate stories I feel as if I'm in a circle with these 21 women, our arms around eachother in support. Stories of breakdowns, breakthroughs, and awakening... stories that illustrate the strength in vulnerability and the power of praxis (theory in action). As I read the book and felt as if I was entering that circle, I couldn't help but reflect on how deeply these ideas permeate my own life. I realized that the only time I knowingly ate meat in over 10 years was when I ordered Having read these intimate stories I feel as if I'm in a circle with these 21 women, our arms around eachother in support. Stories of breakdowns, breakthroughs, and awakening... stories that illustrate the strength in vulnerability and the power of praxis (theory in action). As I read the book and felt as if I was entering that circle, I couldn't help but reflect on how deeply these ideas permeate my own life. I realized that the only time I knowingly ate meat in over 10 years was when I ordered a sandwich filled with the corpse of a murdered hen... a day or so after I had been raped.

  4. 5 out of 5

    Melissa

    I received my copy of Defiant Daughters as part of a Goodreads First Reads contest. I will preface my review with a few pertinent facts: I have not read the original source material The Sexual Politics of Meat, I am a meat-eater, and, while self-identifying as feminist, I have a general bias against many hard-core ideologies, whether they be about feminism or diet. Disclaimer of personal bias aside, Defiant Daughters was good for what it was: the anecdotal ruminations of women who had had their l I received my copy of Defiant Daughters as part of a Goodreads First Reads contest. I will preface my review with a few pertinent facts: I have not read the original source material The Sexual Politics of Meat, I am a meat-eater, and, while self-identifying as feminist, I have a general bias against many hard-core ideologies, whether they be about feminism or diet. Disclaimer of personal bias aside, Defiant Daughters was good for what it was: the anecdotal ruminations of women who had had their lives changed by reading The Sexual Politics of Meat. I couldn't help but notice, however, that the tales told by the women seemed to smack of white privilege at times, and at one point I made a note that the subtitle should be "White Guilt, or Ethnic Shame." While some of the essays contained within the book are by ethnically diverse authors, the whole thing seemed to me to be a lot of preachy, upper-middle-class privilege, a lot of displaced anger from childhood trauma, and at times the kind of feminism I loathe: man hating. I found the last two essays in the book to be the most impactful, as they were more about food-appreciation and treating everyone like a decent human being rather than food-shame and guilt. I had a hard time relating to the women in the book and the over-all sanctimonious air of vegan superiority of many of the authors was a turn off for me. I have friends who would probably enjoy this book more than I did.

  5. 5 out of 5

    RoseAdagio

    I thought this was a great anthology that explored various questions and aspects of being a vegan feminist (and how The Sexual Politics of Meat (20th Anniversary Edition): A Feminist-Vegetarian Critical Theory influenced each woman sharing her story). The only thing I have to critique, really, is the demographic of the contributors. It would have been nice to have included more voices from women of color and other marginalized backgrounds. I thought this was a great anthology that explored various questions and aspects of being a vegan feminist (and how The Sexual Politics of Meat (20th Anniversary Edition): A Feminist-Vegetarian Critical Theory influenced each woman sharing her story). The only thing I have to critique, really, is the demographic of the contributors. It would have been nice to have included more voices from women of color and other marginalized backgrounds.

  6. 5 out of 5

    Katie

    This was SO interesting. I haven't read 'The Sexual Politics of Meat' myself, but hearing about all these ladies' reactions was really insightful and inspiring. I've always felt that there was a hidden link between veganism and feminism and now, I feel that I'm a lot more aware of how closely-linked the two things really are. I would recommend this to any vegan or feminist, who is interested in opening their mind. This was SO interesting. I haven't read 'The Sexual Politics of Meat' myself, but hearing about all these ladies' reactions was really insightful and inspiring. I've always felt that there was a hidden link between veganism and feminism and now, I feel that I'm a lot more aware of how closely-linked the two things really are. I would recommend this to any vegan or feminist, who is interested in opening their mind.

  7. 5 out of 5

    Caroline

    This collection of lived experiences of the sexual politics of meat is mesmerising, thought provoking, terrifying and beautiful. Deserves 6 stars I could not put it down.

  8. 5 out of 5

    Stef Rozitis

    This is intended to be read with or after Carol Adam's The Sexual Politics of Meat: A Feminist-Vegetarian Critical Theory and doesn't completely work as a stand-alone still less if you are not already a vegan or a vegan sympathiser. Nevertheless I think there is a lot to be said for having so many short stories by various authors showing the way animal rights intersect with the various dimensions of human rights and social justice is a many-piece puzzle. The stories were interesting, if in some w This is intended to be read with or after Carol Adam's The Sexual Politics of Meat: A Feminist-Vegetarian Critical Theory and doesn't completely work as a stand-alone still less if you are not already a vegan or a vegan sympathiser. Nevertheless I think there is a lot to be said for having so many short stories by various authors showing the way animal rights intersect with the various dimensions of human rights and social justice is a many-piece puzzle. The stories were interesting, if in some ways more similar than diverse. It's a worth-while read, for me a holiday read and it is motivating for the vegan like me that needs the encouragement at times. I will be thinking about who to lend my copy to now that I have finished.

  9. 5 out of 5

    Elizabeth

    I read this book for my Sunday book club and will be eager to hear what others have to say about it. I think our group selected it without knowing much about it. It consisted of essays about women's reaction to Carol J. Adams' book The Sexual Politics of Meat. That book might have been a better choice. The essays, though, were well written and thoughtful. I suspect that there is a big generation gap between the writers and my aging book group. I read this book for my Sunday book club and will be eager to hear what others have to say about it. I think our group selected it without knowing much about it. It consisted of essays about women's reaction to Carol J. Adams' book The Sexual Politics of Meat. That book might have been a better choice. The essays, though, were well written and thoughtful. I suspect that there is a big generation gap between the writers and my aging book group.

  10. 5 out of 5

    Miss Bookiverse

    Defiant Daughters erschien 23 Jahre nach The Sexual Politics of Meat – Carol Adams' feministisch-vegetarische Theorie, auf welche die 21 Frauen in dieser Essaysammlung Bezug nehmen. Im Vergleich zu Adams’ Theorie sind diese Essays wesentlich leichter zu lesen, weil sie mehr im Plauderton gehalten sind und von der Anwendung der Theorie berichten. Sie sind lebensnahe und setzen sich damit auseinander wie eine speziesübergreifende Gleichberechtigung in den Alltag integriert werden kann. Dabei kommt Defiant Daughters erschien 23 Jahre nach The Sexual Politics of Meat – Carol Adams' feministisch-vegetarische Theorie, auf welche die 21 Frauen in dieser Essaysammlung Bezug nehmen. Im Vergleich zu Adams’ Theorie sind diese Essays wesentlich leichter zu lesen, weil sie mehr im Plauderton gehalten sind und von der Anwendung der Theorie berichten. Sie sind lebensnahe und setzen sich damit auseinander wie eine speziesübergreifende Gleichberechtigung in den Alltag integriert werden kann. Dabei kommt eine wunderbare Vielzahl diverser Stimmen zusammen, die Adams’ Spektrum intersektionell erweitern, z.B. um die Bereiche Disability und Queerness. Viele der Essays sind mutig und bewegend, was manche auch schwer zu lesen macht, weil die geschilderten Erlebnisse so traurig, tragisch oder grausam sind. Durchweg positiv ist außerdem der Umgang mit Perfektionismus, denn genau das ist hier nicht das Ziel. Die Essayistinnen verdeutlichen, dass alles ein Prozess ist und dass sie selbst nicht immer perfekte vegane Feministinnen sind oder sein können. Es ist vollkommen okay, Fehler zu machen oder noch nicht am Ziel angelangt zu sein. Wichtig ist das Bewusstsein und Bemühen. Defiant Daughters hat mir bei noch einen größeren Eindruck hinterlassen als The Sexual Politics of Meat, vermutlich weil es persönlicher und greifbarer ist. Die Essays haben mir außerdem manche Dinge noch mal klarer gemacht, z.B. dass es zwar schön und gut ist, wenn jemand Freilandfleisch von glücklichen Schweinen kauft, das aber immer noch beinhaltet, dass diese ohne Wahlmöglichkeit mit dem einzigen Zweck des Luxusverzehrs gehalten werden, oder wie ähnlich sich die Entscheidungsgewalt über eine Frau und ihren Körper (Stichwort Abtreibung) und die künstliche Befruchtung einer Kuh, nur damit ihr das Kalb direkt nach der Geburt wieder weggenommen werden kann, sind. Mich motiviert die Essaysammlung, vor allem durch ihren Raum für eine stetige Entwicklung, dazu noch veganer zu essen und auf friedliche Art und Weise mit anderen immer wieder über diese Themen zu reden.

  11. 4 out of 5

    Lori

    I haven't read The Sexual Politics of Meat yet but this collection of essays sure made me want to! Interesting take on veganism....still processing my thoughts about this angle. I haven't read The Sexual Politics of Meat yet but this collection of essays sure made me want to! Interesting take on veganism....still processing my thoughts about this angle.

  12. 4 out of 5

    Gerry

    Essential reading for anyone interested in intersectional issues.

  13. 5 out of 5

    Suji

    Received the book for free through Goodreads First Reads. This book talks about 21 different stories of women and how reading The Sexual Politics of Meat has affected their lives. I didn't know what to expect from reading this book about animal rights and women right. First of all, I'm a meat eater. Second, I am a feminist but not an active feminist meaning I do what I want but don't advocate my views to others. With that disclaimer put out, I truly enjoyed this collection of stories (some more t Received the book for free through Goodreads First Reads. This book talks about 21 different stories of women and how reading The Sexual Politics of Meat has affected their lives. I didn't know what to expect from reading this book about animal rights and women right. First of all, I'm a meat eater. Second, I am a feminist but not an active feminist meaning I do what I want but don't advocate my views to others. With that disclaimer put out, I truly enjoyed this collection of stories (some more than others). I never felt like the writers were putting down meat eaters; the tone of the book was honest and not confrontational. This book made me want to pick up Carol J. Adams book and determine how it would affect me. Would I have the same life changing moments like those women or would I feel indifferent? At some point I did feel inspired to change my eating habits, but it is still a decision I'm still pondering about. In one of the stories they mention how high heels make a woman's foot look like that of a cow's hoof and it really got my mind turning. I personally don't wear high heels but just reading that made me even more glad that I don't.

  14. 4 out of 5

    Corey Wrenn

    An interesting read for anyone who has been impacted by the work of Carol Adams and anyone interested in the stories of women in the animal rights movement (their stories are so often excluded, ignored, and forgotten). Contains contributions from well-known activists as well as up-n-comers. I would recommend this as light bedside reading, as it is not especially academically rigorous. For educators, they may find that a few chapters may be helpful for getting students to think about connections An interesting read for anyone who has been impacted by the work of Carol Adams and anyone interested in the stories of women in the animal rights movement (their stories are so often excluded, ignored, and forgotten). Contains contributions from well-known activists as well as up-n-comers. I would recommend this as light bedside reading, as it is not especially academically rigorous. For educators, they may find that a few chapters may be helpful for getting students to think about connections between the experiences of women, nonhuman animals, and others. For non-educators, this is accessible enough that you can pass it on to your non-vegan feminist friends & colleagues or your non-feminist vegan friends and colleagues. The book is refreshingly intersectional, exploring the impact of race, sexual orientation, nationality, etc. Weirdly, there was one chapter included from a woman who was not vegan and was celebrating the wonders of yogurt and cheese, which I found very offensive in a book that was supposed to be taking seriously the exploitation of other animals and the violence inherent to the production of dairy products.

  15. 5 out of 5

    Wendy

    I read this a while ago but just hadn't written a review. To read this book, you first have to read Adams' The Sexual Politics of Meat, and while that might be evident from the title, sometimes these kinds of anthologies can stand alone. We read this for our book group, and one member hadn't previously read Adams' work. She was utterly lost. I read Adams' book quite a few years ago, but I was able to understand what these essayists were, for the most part, talking about. Some of the essays are m I read this a while ago but just hadn't written a review. To read this book, you first have to read Adams' The Sexual Politics of Meat, and while that might be evident from the title, sometimes these kinds of anthologies can stand alone. We read this for our book group, and one member hadn't previously read Adams' work. She was utterly lost. I read Adams' book quite a few years ago, but I was able to understand what these essayists were, for the most part, talking about. Some of the essays are moving, but after a while they all say fairly much the same thing. If you have your own opinions about The Sexual Politics of Meat, I don't know that this book adds anything to the dialogue surrounding either it or animal advocacy in general. I don't recommend this one. I would, instead, go for Women in the Animal Rights Movement over this one.

  16. 5 out of 5

    Emory Black

    Content warning: r*pe, abusive relationships, self-harm, animal abuse, animal murder, human murder, abduction, disordered eating, drug abuse. This was an amazing book. I'm so glad I read it. I connected with so many of the stories, thoughts, desires, etc in this book. It is not a light read. It weighs heavily on me, but I can feel it sinking in slowly, and with another reading at another time, I think I could get new ideas, perspectives, feelings from it. These stories are little personal memoirs Content warning: r*pe, abusive relationships, self-harm, animal abuse, animal murder, human murder, abduction, disordered eating, drug abuse. This was an amazing book. I'm so glad I read it. I connected with so many of the stories, thoughts, desires, etc in this book. It is not a light read. It weighs heavily on me, but I can feel it sinking in slowly, and with another reading at another time, I think I could get new ideas, perspectives, feelings from it. These stories are little personal memoirs from 21 different women. They connect speciesism and racism, sexism and other forms of opression in many different ways, showing how they are linked and offering hope that one day they can all be ended.

  17. 4 out of 5

    Madeliene

    Love this book! What a fantastic read! Here's a book full of the voices of strong vegan, feminist advocates, examining the intersectionality of veganism and feminism, queerness, disability, eating disorders, fat-positivity, and more! While the book relies on women's experiences and interpretations of Carol J. Adams's "The Sexual Politics of Meat", it veers away from critical theory and is, in essence, the "applied" version of its predecessor. This is really such a thought-provoking, inspiring, an Love this book! What a fantastic read! Here's a book full of the voices of strong vegan, feminist advocates, examining the intersectionality of veganism and feminism, queerness, disability, eating disorders, fat-positivity, and more! While the book relies on women's experiences and interpretations of Carol J. Adams's "The Sexual Politics of Meat", it veers away from critical theory and is, in essence, the "applied" version of its predecessor. This is really such a thought-provoking, inspiring, and amazing read, perhaps the best non-fiction I've picked up in a while!

  18. 4 out of 5

    Elisabeth

    SO GOOD! First of all, all these stories are so personal and interesting that it's difficult to stop. Secondly, as I haven't read The Sexual Politics of Meat, I was so utterly surprised how much feminism and veganism go hand in hand! The stories are sometimes similar but sometimes come from such a different angle what I could never have imagined. And even though after reading it, I realise feminism still had nothing to do with myself going vegan, I see how it can be the case for so many people. SO GOOD! First of all, all these stories are so personal and interesting that it's difficult to stop. Secondly, as I haven't read The Sexual Politics of Meat, I was so utterly surprised how much feminism and veganism go hand in hand! The stories are sometimes similar but sometimes come from such a different angle what I could never have imagined. And even though after reading it, I realise feminism still had nothing to do with myself going vegan, I see how it can be the case for so many people. I think all the people should read this book!

  19. 4 out of 5

    Jesse

    Even though I'm vegan + feminist, I felt like a lot of what was written about by these essayists made me extremely uncomfortable (meat eating being a manifestation of the patriarchy, for example). I feel like intersectional feminism does lend itself towards a plant based diet, but not because of breast feeding and cows? I liked that they had a whole array of women writing from all different backgrounds, but most of what was said was really surface level or just too much of a leap for me. Even though I'm vegan + feminist, I felt like a lot of what was written about by these essayists made me extremely uncomfortable (meat eating being a manifestation of the patriarchy, for example). I feel like intersectional feminism does lend itself towards a plant based diet, but not because of breast feeding and cows? I liked that they had a whole array of women writing from all different backgrounds, but most of what was said was really surface level or just too much of a leap for me.

  20. 5 out of 5

    Jenna

    Women young and old write personal stories connecting animal rights and feminism, as inspired by Carol J. Adams, in this deeply intimate anthology. Each story resonated with me, often mirroring my own journey to become a passionate vegan feminist, and reminded me of the undeniable interconnectedness of these two justice movements.

  21. 4 out of 5

    Jola Cora

    Such an interesting reading, brought so many thoughts to my mind. Nice to see that somebody thought of creating the word "veganphobia" not knowing the French Vegan movement had already named that issue "vegephobia"! http://jolacora.wordpress.com/2014/02... Such an interesting reading, brought so many thoughts to my mind. Nice to see that somebody thought of creating the word "veganphobia" not knowing the French Vegan movement had already named that issue "vegephobia"! http://jolacora.wordpress.com/2014/02...

  22. 4 out of 5

    Barbara E

    I enjoyed each women's personal perspective. Now I needs to read Carol Adams' books. I enjoyed each women's personal perspective. Now I needs to read Carol Adams' books.

  23. 5 out of 5

    Anna Cordova

    Some of the essays were better than others, which the only reason I gave it four stars. The overall content is inspiring, the rating clear, perspectives relatable.

  24. 5 out of 5

    Veronique Perrot

    for my review, go to my blog http://thevegancommunicator.wordpress... for my review, go to my blog http://thevegancommunicator.wordpress...

  25. 4 out of 5

    Marlies

    Of course it gets 5 stars! My dearest friend Kara edited it!

  26. 5 out of 5

    Susan

  27. 5 out of 5

    Breanna

  28. 4 out of 5

    Kristine Dennis

  29. 4 out of 5

    Lauren Larry

  30. 5 out of 5

    David Bate

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