Animals and Women is a collection of pioneering essays that explores the theoretical connections between feminism and animal defense. Offering a feminist perspective on the status of animals, this unique volume argues persuasively that both the social construction and oppressions of women are inextricably connected to the ways in which we comprehend and abuse other species. Furthermore, it demonstrates that such a focus does not distract from the struggle for women’s rights, but rather contributes to it.
This wide-ranging multidisciplinary anthology presents original material from scholars in a variety of fields, as well as a rare, early article by Virginia Woolf. Exploring the leading edge of the species/gender boundary, it addresses such issues as the relationship between abortion rights and animal rights, the connection between woman-battering and animal abuse, and the speciesist basis for much sexist language. Also considered are the ways in which animals have been regarded by science, literature, and the environmentalist movement. A striking meditation on women and wolves is presented, as is an examination of sexual harassment and the taxonomy of hunters and hunting. Finally, this compelling collection suggests that the subordination and degradation of women is a prototype for other forms of abuse, and that to deny this connection is to participate in the continued mistreatment of animals and women.
What is a body? What are our perceptions of our inner bodies? How are these perceptions influenced?
In recent years, thinking about the body has become highly fashionable. However, the renewed focus, while certainly welcome, seems to always end at the corporeal surface. While recent sociological and feminist theory has made important claims about the process of cultural inscription on the body, and about the cultural representation of the body, what actually appears in this new theory seems to be, ironically, disembodied. If this newly theorized form has interiority, it is one that is explained predominantly through psychoanalysis. The physiological processes remain a mystery to be explained, if at all, only in the esoteric language of biomedicine.
As a trained biologist, Lynda Birke was frustrated by the gap between feminist cultural analysis and her own scientific background. In this book, she seeks to bridge this gap using ideas in anatomy and physiology to develop the feminist view that the biological body is socially and culturally constructed. Birke rejects the assumption that bodily function is somehow fixed and unchanging, claiming that biology offers more than just a deterministic narrative of how nature works. Feminism and the Biological Body brings natural science and feminist theory together and suggests that we need a new politics that includes, rather than denies, our flesh.