From: weston cook
To: "Episcopal Network
for Animal Welfare"
November 30, 2010
I regret if you found my characterization
Sexism, however, IS one of the cultural dimensions of
opposition to animal welfare. Males particularly are often prompted to see
the domination of animals as an assertion of machismo. Dog fighting is a
good example of that as is the popularity of "mean dog breeds like Pit
Bulls. The implication is, "if I got this rough-tough vicious dog, boy,
think of how tough I must be."
The converse of this attitude is
that compassion for animals is a sign of weakness in males. It's "The Bambi
Syndrome", as some folks call it, that to be moved to sympathy or tenderness
by a baby animal is somehow "wimpy." Clearly, something a macho macho
man wants to avoid because it is effete. If you want to see the caricature
further drawn out in garish homophobic fashion, look at the pets normally
associated with gay men.
There is another dimension of this
depiction, too, which is equally sexist - and equally a very live part of
our culture. This is the infamous "little old lady in tennis shoes."
Now, I do not know what cultural forces determined that she be "little"
[stature-bias] "old" [ageism or chronological obsolescence] or why she wears
tennis shoes, but I can guess why she's a lady. First of all, there's the
sexist element as we've noted but there's also other dimensions as well. She
is eccentric [if not crazy], cartoonish, ridiculous, comical [meaning her
cause is equally buffoonish] and she is kinda pathetic. Bluntly put, she is
excessively obsessed with animals because [a] she is incapable of relating
to people and [b] she doesn't have a "real life". She is a variant of
an ancient stereotype used against women but also, to a lesser degree, used
to warn males that this cartoon is how society will see you if you advocate
for animals beyond what the community deems appropriate. These kinds of
images have been used throughout history to defame advocates for change by
mockery and derision.
And they still exist. At least, in my sixty
plus years in this vale of tears, I still encounter them. I remember being
accused of being "girly" for not wanting to go hunting. That was the context
intended. Whether those were Jack LaSeiur's actual words or not, I don't
know - I was reconstructing the gist of what for me was a very memorable
conversation. We were not so enlightened in 1955.
So, again, if my
words gave offense, I regret your dismay and apologize.
Tue, 30 Nov 2010
"And when you see a baby animal and say 'so
cute', that's not being girly or something stupid like that"
No but that
statement is being sexist or something like that.........