As this project grows and develops we will be sharing a number of guest essays written by writers we admire. The essays featured in this section have been commissioned especially for the Unbound Project.
Jaya Bhumitra, International Director of Corporate Outreach for Animal Equality, shares her insights on the impacts of #ARMeToo and #TimesUpAR.
“We must address gender inequity in our movement, but not at the expense of racial inequity” I’m a queer womxn of colour, born from immigrant parents, and the founder and executive director of Encompass, a new...
Womxn are the footsoldiers of the animal movement. And its philosophers and strategists as well. Some of the most generative theorizing in the emergent intellectual-political field of animal studies has been produced by (eco)feminist scholars committed to exploring how the subjugation of womxn is related to that of animals—for example, through dominative ideologies authorizing the violent instrumentalization of the (human and nonhuman) female body’s sexual and reproductive capacities under neoliberal capitalism.
If I had a dirty diaper for every time I was told that motherhood defines being a womxn, and defines love, I’d be living in a shit storm. (Thankfully, I haven’t been counting the mentions.) Call me radical, but I am a womxn who chose not to have children, yet I am indeed full of love, and I hereby object to that theory.
One only need glance around at any protest, meeting, or conference to note that there is a preponderance of womxn shaping and driving animal advocacy. Frankly, in any social justice cause it is most often womxn who volunteer to create and distribute fliers, prepare posters and food for meetings and events, make necessary phone calls, and draft required letters.
Women’s work with animals reveals so much about lives and deaths, about money and power, and about the entanglements of pain, anger, care, happiness, and hope. We should see the diverse threads, but also imagine this collection of work as a tapestry, one with vibrant patterns, along with rips, holes, and patches sewn carefully or hastily, because it was risky or because there simply wasn’t enough time.
I’m flattered and honored to contribute to Unbound. When I first heard about this collection I was thrilled to learn about it. It struck me that it was about time someone collected a series of essays about the incredible role that numerous womxn have played, and are continuing to play, in animal advocacy and activism, many of whom are well known and many who have been below the radar.
The spectral figure of the little old lady in tennis shoes returns periodically to haunt animal rights activism and theory. It was Cleveland Amory, founder of the Fund for Animals (later folded into the Humane Society of the United States), who was known for saying “we aren’t little old ladies in tennis shoes” anymore. After the March for Animals in 1990, young male activists were quoted in the Washington Post proclaiming this same idea.