Saturday, November 01, 2008

Little Old Ladies (by Phila)

Patricia Lee Sharpe of the excellent blog WhirledView catches this obnoxious quote from Humane Society President Wayne Pacelle:
“We aren’t a bunch of little old ladies in tennis shoes,” Pacelle says, paraphrasing his mentor Cleveland Armory, an animal rights activist. “We have cleats on.”
Ms. Sharpe points out that "the notion that grandmothers generally are soft-headed, slightly-addled bundles of sentimental sweetness who must be protected from ugly realities is...more than a little ludicrous and insulting."

Which is certainly true. But I'm also irritated by the implication that these feeble, silly women (and feminized men like yours truly) have had their chance to address the issue of animal cruelty, and it's now time for a new breed of hypermasculine go-getters like Pacelle to kick ass and take names. Like so many other problems, this one becomes truly serious only when men -- real men, with cleats! -- get involved.

In fact, many of the difficulties involved in protecting animals boil down to gender politics of a particularly witless and ugly kind (as witless and ugly men like Jonah Goldberg and Daniel Clark are more than happy to demonstrate). Which is why I get distressed (in a disgustingly feminine way) when activists like Pacelle -- or the far more offensive folks at PETA -- fail to grasp the ideological connection between their portrayal of women, and the popular view that indifference to the suffering of farm animals is "normal" and "rational."

Of course, I'd argue that this logic cuts both ways, which is why I hope that any readers who are in a position to help California's Proposition 2 pass will do so.