Friday, June 11, 2010

Friday rant: Book contracts are for misogynists.

Picture me, dear readers, with my head on my desk as I type this. I didn’t want to write about it. I was hoping that other people would. Indeed, a few have.

Long story short: Dude named John Joseph has written a book entitled Meat is for Pussies. Sit with that one for a sec, then feel free to join me down here on the desk at any time.

Where do I start with this one? (To the haters who are gonna ask if I’ve read it: Hell no, I haven’t read it. Why should I waste my time? I’m a blogger, not a book reviewer.) Perhaps with the idea that shaming someone into changing his or her behavior is not only frequently ineffective, but always unacceptable? With the reminder that feminizing insults are hateful and do nothing but reinforce destructive gender stereotypes and power structures? Maybe with the editorial suggestion that all the compelling reasons to go vegan will doubtless be lost in all the macho rhetoric, thus alienating a huge number of potential readers? And finally, with the admission that I am so over fighting with people like Joseph, who would probably tell me to lighten up and stop being such a bitch, and do I just need to get boned?

I know I’m not the only one frustrated with this. So, where is the blogospheric outcry? The Discerning Brute, that arbiter of vegan masculinity, announced its publication in a brief-but-positive paragraph that acknowledged the “controversial” title. (Way to understate things.) Bitch, on the other hand, brought the noise with a brilliantly reasoned post about the dangers of single-issue veganism, sexism, unexamined privilege, and general assholery. Kjerstin Johnson may not be vegan, but she really hit it out of the park, as did the majority of Bitch’s commenters, including a hetero vegan guy who said he was “never okay with harming one movement in order to help another.” I’m hopeful that more writers take this on, because however noble John Joseph’s intentions, however lyrical and majestic his prose, this narrow-minded shit hurts more of us than it helps.

So, to recap:

Compassion is not gendered.

Using sexism and homophobia to market your book is unoriginal.

Shock-value veganism is half-assed veganism. Go play with PETA and leave those of us doing real work in peace.


Image courtesy of I Can Has Cheezburger? (as if you didn't know).


  1. exactly. you said it perfectly. Kinda reminds me of our whole other "using sex to sell another movement" discussion we had recently.

    i am so glad you helped me make the right decision- thank you Shannon :)

  2. I really should post about this, but...just thinking about it makes Kelly tired. I mean, it's all so stupid and 101 (do I seriously need to explain to y'all why using "pussy" as an insult is misogynistic? for reals!?); where to start?

    And re: the "have you even read the book" argument - it's irrelevant, seeing as vegan/feminists are criticizing the book's title, not its content. Like, duh. (And why would I ever shell out good money for a book that, on its face, insults my gender? Pffft.)

    Love the post title, btw. Instantly knew to what you were referring ;)

  3. Thanks for writing this. I hadn't heard of the book (that's good, I guess - maybe he won't sell any), but I feel the same way. I can't believe that thing actually got printed.

  4. Wordy word word times a thousand. I am so sick of having to whip out my Misogyny 101 slideshow every time a supposedly progressive person slams women. So. Sick. Thank you, VB!