Wednesday, September 28, 2011

The New York Times: Leading the way in the sexual politics of meat

Dear New York Times,

Of course, meat advertisers sexualize dead bodies. They've been doing it for years. How do you make dead flesh that, when alive, suffered in living and dying, attractive? Just fall back on the classic, misogynist, "make a body consumable approach." Make it seductive. Appeal to the reader you imagine, a heterosexual male.

But, what is this trend in the New York Times of doing the work for meat advertisers? This book cover? It's from the Times in the 1990s--an article about low fat meat, so, of course you showed a weight loss advertisement with an aneroxic calf all but saying, "I used to be an old cow, but look at me now!"

Your review of the Penthouse restaurant? Where the only thing properly dressed is the lettuce? You were eating steaks there. So many strippers have reported to me their awkward feelings as they take off their clothes while men watch, eating bloody bodies.

Two weeks ago, celebrating the sexualized ads for a butcher shop?

Hey, New York Times, you are in a rut.

This is not original. This is the Sexual Politics of Meat. It is disgusting, shameful, animal-hating, misogynistic. Here's one of the original images in your genealogy. It's from a meat company:

But you feature, today, the headless seductive chicken; as with sexist barbecue images, the headlessness is the best reminder--these bodies, they exist only for you.

The chickens I enjoy are alive. They live their lives without having to be seductive for human beings.

Perhaps you could visit an animal sanctuary near you and meet them.


  1. This reminds me of a restaurant in Houston called the Strip House, wherein bawdy old-fashioned nude photos litter the walls and fileted cow carcasses litter the dinner plates. I was taken there once long ago in my omnivorous days, and I had trouble explaining my feelings of disgust. (Of course, the man with me attributed them to me being uncomfortable with another woman's naked form because of some internal insecurity.) But what I felt toward the women in the photographs wasn't envy, it was pity - pity that her photo was immortalized as an image of how we equate her with a lifeless carcass on our plates, a momentary pleasure to be consumed, digested and forgotten.

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  2. Thanks for sharing that experience. I have heard from others of similar experiences, too. You aren't alone! thanks. Carol

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