On the F-train uptown last week, I was reading my copy of The Sexual Politics of Meat. With such an unusual and provocative title, I wasn’t surprised to glance up to see people from all sides of the train staring. I was sitting down and reading discreetly, with the book on top of my backpack. I was aware that a plump and cheery-looking lady had looked over at my book but and paid her no attention. But suddenly, I felt her shift slightly and say, “Excuse me–that book you’re reading–”
I love random conversations with people, especially in places as diverse as NYC. “Yes,” I beamed and nodded.
“I just found the title really interesting,” she said, “because my yoga teacher mentioned something similar the other day. He warns people against feeding their children meat before the age of three, because it awakens sexual desires in one of the chakras.”
I had never heard that before, but I wanted to keep speaking with her. I explained that the book was about how the oppression of animals connected to the oppression of women. I asked if she was vegetarian.
She sort of laughed embarrassedly, her curly afro bobbing a little. “No, not yet,” she said. “But I try to source my meat responsibly. There’s a farm in Queens that lets you choose your cow for slaughter for something around $300, and a halal meat place in the city in a warehouse that does something similar.”
I’m against eating any kind of meat for ethical reasons. But it seems more acceptable when people are aware of the monstrosities of factory-farmed meat and make an attempt to eat flesh that has been naturally raised and humanely killed. And I said something of the sort to her and asked what had motivated her to become a more conscious consumer.
“I just had a baby,” she responded. “I’m feeling like my choices affect more than just me now.”