AbstractsWomens Studies

Women, Animals and Meat; Kvinnor, djur och kött

by Anne Drewett

Institution: Umeå University
Year: 2016
Keywords: Margaret Atwood; The Edible Woman; Michel Faber; Under The Skin; Carol J. Adams; feminist-vegetarian critical theory; interlocking oppressions; absent referent; patriarchy; speciesism; gender; sexualisation; objectification; women; animals; meat; Humanities; Languages and Literature; General Literature Studies; Humaniora; Språk och litteratur; Litteraturvetenskap
Posted: 02/05/2017
Record ID: 2066480
Full text PDF: http://urn.kb.se/resolve?urn=urn:nbn:se:umu:diva-117278


In this thesis, Margaret Atwood’s The Edible Woman and Michel Faber’s Under the Skin are analysed from the perspective of feminist-vegetarian critical theory. Both texts deal with the idea of feeling like or being meat, but approach this idea from different angles. In The Edible Woman, the connection to feeling like meat is metaphorical and rooted in gender relations, while in Under the Skin, it is literal, related to the idea of being animal. What becomes clear through an analysis of these two texts is that they both deal with the interlocking oppressions of women and animals. In The Edible Woman, protagonist Marian loses her subjectivity and stops eating meat when, as a result of the dynamics of her relationship with her boyfriend (later fiancé), she starts identifying with animals that are hunted or eaten. In Under the Skin, the alien protagonist Isserley, as female, non-human and in her natural form looking like a kind of mammal, represents both women and animals in her objectifying returned gaze on human men. Examining these two texts together highlights the interlocking nature of patriarchy and speciesism, and shows how these oppressions are better understood in relation to each other.