A Month of Vegan Research: Animals and Women


The following literature review is part of a series for World Vegan Month. Other essays can be accessed by visiting the essays catalog.


Carol J. Adams and Josephine Donovan.  1995.  Animals and Women:  Feminist Theoretical Explorations.  Durham, NC:  Duke University Press.

This edited book encapsulates vegan feminist theory, arguing that all oppressions are interconnected and that we must challenge human-biased theorizing:  “[ . . . ] the male pattern of female subordination and degradation, which is nearly universal in human societies, is prototypical for many other forms of abuse [ . . . ]” (7).

animals-and-womenSeveral chapters stood out to me as especially interesting and relevant.  Dunayer’s chapter on speciesist and sexist language demonstrates the power of ideology in normalizing oppression.  Comniou’s chapter on free speech also speaks to the power of language (and that “freedom of speech” is a right typically only granted to privileged groups).  Birke’s chapter on science and rationality discusses the history of male ideologies and institutions in legitimizing oppression and marginalization.  Adams’ chapter on violence against animals and women is a difficult read, but highlights many disturbing linkages.  Chapters in Part Two were a little more humanities-focused, and not as relevant to my interest in effective animal advocacy.  However, I found Luke’s chapter on patriarchal constructions of animal rights especially illuminating, as was Kappeler’s extensions on male supremacy in science and knowledge production.

This essay was originally published on The Academic Activist Vegan on November 26, 2013.

Cover for "A Rational Approach to Animal Rights." Shows a smiling piglet being held up by human hands.

Readers can learn more about the importance of feminism, intersectionality, and efficacy research in the Nonhuman Animal rights movement in my 2016 publication, A Rational Approach to Animal Rights. Receive research updates straight to your inbox by subscribing to my newsletter.