monkey’s, porn and consent

Yesterday a(nother) liberal dood I know wanted to share how science totally rocks.  his evidence is that a study was done that shows monkey’s like porn and he read about it on the internet. now I don’t know if he read about it at ABC, but I figured if I was going to rant about it, I should look up an article about it.

Then he got really upset that i thought it was horrible. Later he even sent me an email along the lines of, “but I’m a nice guy why do you think I’m a horrible person?” Which makes the issue, not about my reaction to porn, not about rape culture, not about animal captivity, but about poor him and his feelings. Because my feelings hurt his feelings and that is so mean.

This means that I now I have to spend my time letting him know I don’t think he is a horrible person. Well I have to do this if i want to keep the peace. And I do want to keep the peace since I work with him, and we rely on each other to help each other out when studying, and things like that. GRRRR.

But on to the monkeys. First, the article is about how “The study is the first to show that monkeys appraise visual information for its social value and can then use this data to spontaneously discriminate between images of their fellow monkeys.”

but just like with humans the scientists understood “monkeys” to mean MALE BODIED monkeys.

Twelve adult male rhesus macaques (Macaca mulatta) participated in the study

so already there was bias. that female bodied monkey’s don’t count and we don’t need to see how they think since they are the “other sex” anyway.

The monkey’s were given headshots of both males and females, and hindquarters of females to look at. The article does not discuss how the monkeys responded to headshots of the females. but high social ranking males and female hindquarters were “paid for” more often.

Did they pay for headshots of the women too? would they pay for hindquarter shots of the socially high ranking males? how do we know that “sexiness” of the picture had anything to do with it? Maybe social desirability of the subject was important regardless of the position of the monkey in the camera frame. (not to mention that heteronormative assumptions are made about all subjects in the test).  So again, bias about how humans (i.e. heterosexual male humans) view naked pictures comes into how the experiment was organised, and how the data is interpreted:

Camerer says it is “no surprise” that male monkeys “really like looking at female posteriors”. But he is puzzled that males would pay with juice to see high-status males, but would not look at them for very long.

so already we can see this is a problematic study, immersed in patriarchal structure. feminsiting has a post today about science being used to objectify (human) women.

But what about the monkeys? they were “housed in captivity”.  And someone tells me about this study and expects me to be thrilled because no monkey’s were “physically harmed”(quote from self proclaimed nice guy)? Um… vegan here, I’m for autonomy of creatures. that means I’m against captive animals as a slave class for experimentation, regardless of the nature of the experiment.

And onto the issue of consent. This is the biggest issue involved. I don’t know about you, but If I was hanging around and people took pictures of my genitals and butt, and then sold it as porn to someone else, I’d feel angry and violated. But we can do that to monkeys, and its no big deal. More specifically, we can do that to FEMALE BODIED monkeys and it is  SCIENCE.

But you know what? People do this to FEMALE BODIED PEOPLE too. and there is no recourse. If I’m at a nude beach, and someone takes a picture to use as porn, that’s sick right? but shit like this happens, and it is legal, since I’m in a public place. CREEPY. Even if it were illegal, I can’t go to the cops. That could close down the beach, and everyone would “know” its my own fault, and really I wanted it anyway because otherwise I wouldn’t have been naked and teasing men with my nudity.

so this whole taking pornographic pictures without consent issue is both personal and political.

Just more evidence that female bodies are the bodies of the sex class. To be used by men, for sex and porn whenever they want to.  Whether it is male scientists using female monkey bodies to observe monkey objectification, or male monkeys paying to view female bodies as a commodity. Or if it is male humans jerking off in public at a female body who is minding her business and just wants to enjoy the beach. Female bodies are only good for sexual gratification of men and to hell with what women think about it.  Guess what that looks like to me: rape culture.

but you know, getting upset about this hurts the feelings of all those liberal nice guys who really do respect women “both as a group and as individuals”, but who still find this study awesome. /snark.

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non vegans thinking that vegan food makes me feel guilty

WE DON’T WANT TO MAKE CHILDREN FEEL GUILT OR SHAME!

this was said in an email to me. a noble goal in general.  in specific, I get to feel shamed and guilty.

GAH!.  backstory.  I volunteered to be part of a team that teaches 3rd and 4rth graders about various world holidays.  We rotate out.  so I’m only teaching every couple of months.  (it’s a once a week thing.)

There is food preparation for many holidays.  I don’t want to be involved in feeding children dead things.  that is so gross.  don’t want to prepare it, don’t want to encourage it.  which is not to say that I actively discourage meat eating.  That is not my place (legally it is the parent’s place).

I clearly stated these boundaries.  Another member suggested that we make vegan versions of everything where possible.  I was so happy I nearly cried.  he’s even an omnivore.  but thought it would be a great way to show accpetance of vegans and for kids to learn about that option.

it is now causing a shit storm.  woot.  and as THE VEGAN. I’m in the middle of it.  I really just want to wail on people about why it is important to be vegan in general.  but bleah.  it would make the shit storm bigger.  this person is obviously feeling guilt and shame.  they must be uncomfortable with their own diet.  if they are that uncomfortable with their dietary chocies why force them on the kids? most other people are happy to learn about new food.  they like food.  more food options means MORE FOOD!!!! isn’t that good?

also the greater organisation is looking into ethical eating as its big 4 year study right now.  so shouldn’t we be considering this?  the labor situation is one of the worst, the environtmental affects are some of the worst, the hurt to living creatures that feel pain is just dreadful.

but because I made someone think about by my mere existence.  Its my fault.

this is what I don’t get

some excerpts from a post my friend wrote about a conversation he had:

Pointing to the flowers on my table while I was working and then pointing at my computer he stated, ‘See this and see this? They are different and should be treated different. I wouldn’t water the computer.’ ‘See this,’ he said as he went for a stack of my business cards and began laying each one side by side. ‘They are the same – not the flowers and the computer but the cards.’ ‘We can’t treat them all the same if they are different.’

I stopped working and looked at my friend. I said they are the same and they are different and that when you really get down to it they are all made up of energy and matter… it’s all the same by then. No you would not water my computer or water my cards, but they all have value. Diversity and differences don’t mean that discrimination is necessary. They must all be cared for differently, but not treated with any less respect. The flower has value because it is a flower and we can appreciate that. It is different but not less than a computer. The business cards while each is almost identical will each serve out its own unique purpose that even while I may guide – I cannot control the outcome.

now, I think he tagged me so I would read it. I think he wants me to be more patient with people who say bigoted things. I think I’m as patient as I can be. I am willing to point out to people when they are being bigoted but I don’t have the time or energy to spoon feed them the information. Then pat them on the hand and say “its ok I know its so hard to deal with privilege.. you poor poor thing.”

I need to build my own community so I can feel safe. I want to be able to relax occasionally and not have to worry that on my day off someone is going to make a joke about forcing a penis into some orfice on a woman. (or whatever the hate that day)

but what really gets me. How can someone write the above be the same person who every time we mention food has to tell me how he “needs” his “bloody steak” (or other animal flesh).

they are the same and they are different and that when you really get down to it they are all made up of energy and matter… it’s all the same by then. No you would not water my computer or water my cards, but they all have value.

We are all different, all of us, each of us. None of us WANT to be discriminated against, none of us want to be less than, none of us want to be beaten, abused, harassed, killed, shamed, disrespected… NONE of us… none of us. (I began to tear up and paused for a moment.) We all – ALL of us – want love, and to be loved, and respected and at the very least left alone to live our lives freely.

except for the things it IS ok to kill. it is ok to consume the products of rape and of torture and of murder. because those lives are only there for our consumption. those lives only have value to us for what we can get from them.

The flower has value because it is a flower and we can appreciate that. It is different but not less than a computer.

I have value in the male gaze as an object. I can be beautiful as a flower and be appreciated. but that is not who I am or respect how I want to be treated. as the Dude said in the Big Lebowski “he treats objects like women, man” the comparison just doesn’t work.

yes partly I’m ranting because I’m still mad about everything else. And this note feels like it is supposed to be a lesson to me. I have been patient with the liberal bullshit. but I just can’t take the bigots anymore. because to them, liberal seems to mean, “I pretend I’m joking when I say bigoted things instead of saying them out right, then claim I’m pushing the envelope.”

I don’t want to work for equality with those groups because the I don’t want a world with their type of equality. Where we are all equal but some are more equal than others. I want to build a community that is loving and kind and supportive. I want a community based on personal responsibility. based on love.

I will just build a better life
where we will never feel the need
to chop down any kind of tree
or topple over gifts wrapped up in paper
I would like to see
stockings stuffed with things I can use
tips to prevent domestic abuse
all I want for christmas are the blueprints of community

my different friend’s friend’s band wrote that. fuck yeah.

Tastebetter Rocks! Oh-so-awesome-non-crazy-veganism-Promotion!

In contrast to my feelings about PETA,  I [heart]Tastebetter.com.

They mention the Alicia Sylverstone PETA ad here. While they aren’t speaking out directly against the misogyny, they do agree that objectifying women doesn’t actually get more people interested in veganism.

 Also here they take an extraordinarily reasonable view on the teacher who got fired for “promoting veganism”. The teacher was being a bit of a nut job from the articles I’ve read. whether they are supporting my cause or not doesn’t make them less of a nut job.

My favorite part:

This isn’t some rogue element fresh to the school; Warwak taught art there for eight years (he became vegan in January). It’s unfortunate that he chose to take such a militant stance towards his employers and insist that they make a change that he himself took 43 years to make.

yes, he’s been vegan for less than a year, after 43 years of not being a vegan, and now insists that everyone else make the switch IMMEDIATELY! yeah, because militant tactics are always well received.  The post then goes on to suggest some ways to support the vegan movement which are actually productive.

Yay reasonable people!

PETA should be euthanized: you know, what they do to the domesticated animals they “rescue”

Well the comments from this got me thinking and internally ranting. So here goes.

Now I didn’t actually experience the video that was posted to the full extent as I don’t have sound on this computer. So I don’t know if I’d be terribly offended by it specifically or not. But, what does offend me in general is PETA and the effect they have on non-vegetarians/vegans. Oh and their apparent disregard for human life and animal life outside this country (and sometimes in it).

One of the most offensive things I can recall them doing in my city was “tofu wrestling” like jello wrestling but more beige. It was to promote tofu. Because the Men oggling the young girls in bikinis really cared what substance they were wrestling in.

But let me list the problems with this scenario, Because I like lists:

  1. Objectification and Oppression of Women 
  2. Waste of Food and Resources in general
  3. Lack of thought as to how this affects the rest of the world
  4. No effect on peoples eating habbits

Objectification and Oppression of Women

Well, it’s pretty obvious right? Well the objectification is.  But many, including the women involved, will argue these “bikini clad babes” that they made the choice of their own free will because they believe in the cause.  But I maintain this is a sympton of growing up in a society that rewards women for being merely objects.  When the choice is praise for wearing a bikini while fitting nicely into male fantasy of what women look like, or critiscism for saying, “I’m a person too!”, what choice is there?  Should we blame people for giving into not wanting to be ostracized from society?  The Patriarchy is at work here.  These women are probably not as empowered as they claim.

Waste of Food and Resources in general

This one is a big “no-duh.”  That food they were wrestling in, could have been eaten.  yeah….

 Lack of thought as to how this affects the rest of the world

Now this one is interesting.  How does this affect the rest of the world?  Well, lots of rainforests are being chopped down to grow soybeans these days.  was the tofu they used locally produced? Locally grown?  if not then not only may it not be ethically produced, but you also have to factor in the cost on the environment of shipping the product to the states.  How much fossil fuel was consummed to bring you tofu wrestling?  Because the more we harm the environment, the less we can sustain ourselves and other species.  So this stunt may indirectly contribute to the system that continues in the hurting of lots of animals, including people.   Well Done.

No effect on peoples eating habbits.

What does wrestling in a substance have to do with promoting the consumption of it?  People wrestle in mud and we don’t eat that.  It serves to titillate gthe patriarchy and demean women.   Even if in some way this promoted tofu, it would not stop people from eating meat.  Many people enjoy tofu and still eat animal products.  

 It’s tough.  I personally believe we should strive to eat as few animal products as possible so that we can have more of a chance of sustainability.  how many resources went into growing that cow you’re eating?  A lot more than it took for my equivalent vegan nutrients.  They had to feed the cow, and use land to grow the cow.  We could have been growing food for people in that land.  We could help feed the hungry in the world if we all went to legumes and nuts and seeds.  

But people who don’t care about the cow, or don’t care about their health, won’t care about the environment either.  They don’t care about themselves, why should they care about other people?  So I don’t know what the answer is.   I mention my view to anyone who listens, but generally the response is: Oh, yeah, I guess meat really is bad for the environment, but I’m still going to eat it. 

that’s when my brain breaks.  You agree with me but are still going to fuck with the sustainability of the world.  AAAAGGGHHHH!

Why I’m not an animal rights advocate

Firstly, I’m not against animals.  I’m VEGAN.  In my personal life I minimize my use of animal products.  When I buy clothing new, I try to find vegan clothes.  Used clothing I’m recycling, so my ecological foot print is still smaller, and the cow has probably been dead for 10 years.  (no use crying over spilt (soy)milk)  I don’t agree with cruelty to animals and I avoid products that have had animal testing.  

That said, I don’t consider myself an animal rights person.  I only have a finite amount of time to focus on promoting ideals that are important to me.  The bottom line is that I have other ideals that are more important to me.

 Here’s where I disagree with some animal rights people: I think humans are more important than animals.  If I was (in some bizarre set of circumstances) forced to choose between ending the life of an animal (even an endangered species) or ending the life of a human being, I will always choose the human life.  Even if the person is a liar or cheat.  (don’t ask me about a murderer… I haven’t thought it through that well yet).

( Now Meat-Eaters tend to rejoice at this news.  Using poor logic they assume because I value human lives over other animals they think I’m completely ok with killing animals.  That’s not true.  I always try to end as few lives as possible in my daily living.  This includes saving lost spiders, snakes, and beetles.  Just because not killing animals is lower on my list of reasons to be vegan, doesn’t mean its not on the list. )

Back to the topic at hand.  I just can’t get all worked up about bunnies getting mascara shoved in their eyes when people are living in war zones, or the rate of HIV infections in Paupa New Guinea is has incresed by 30% in the past year.  Or Thousands of women in America live in abusive households fearing for their lives.   (and we’re the progressive 1st world?).  Nestle and other corporations are marketing baby formula in third world countries that have contaminiated water sources which then poison the children.

 I don’t disagree that Vick should be punnished for his role in dog fights, but why are people who beat their wives allowed to continue playing in sports and get off with fines instead of jail time?

Human beings are suffering, beaten, abused, starving, diseased and dying.  I’m not sorry I can’t expend the energy to get that upset about another species when mine is in such a sorry state. 

Published in: on August 28, 2007 at 12:14 pm  Comments (6)  
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