Carol Adams

Key Takeaways:

30 years on from her groundbreaking book, The Sexual Politics of Meat, there continues to be resistance to giving up meat and continued marketing images that feature meat in sexualised ways. After 9/11, there was a re-masculinisation of America with a focus on meat eating. And during this pandemic, President Trump is forcing slaughterhouses to stay open. While it’s hard for people to think of themselves as people who don’t eat meat, it’s a fundamental shift we need to make.

Developing a journal practice is one of the best ways to stay mentally balanced. Writing down what’s going on in your world is a positive act. Morton Kelsey said: ‘Journal-keeping is a living process like exercise. One does the same thing over and over to develop and maintain a skill. Healthy living in body and soul and mind requires constant repetition of certain practices.’ And then the gift is to go back and read what you wrote after a few years.

When you’re a caregiver you’re often very isolated. You’re under a lot of pressure; there’s a lot you can’t control. Caregiving causes you to reach deeply into yourself, be empathetic, be alert, bring attention. Simone Weil wrote: ‘The love of our neighbour in all its fullness simply means being able to say, “What are you going through?”’ That’s caregiving.

We’re all finding new ways to be part of the local community. At the beginning of lockdown, there was a run on the Little Free Library that Carol and her husband have out front. They keep it stocked with books and even put out a selfie frame and a spellchecker (essentially a dictionary in an old computer frame) to lighten the mood for kids.

We’re turning to art and craft as sources of nurturing. We’re told to be productive and get things done, but art doesn’t work that way. Taking time for art and reflection will be a beautiful gift if we can hold onto it.

The Gift:

Lynda Barry A Month’s Mind: A Pandemic Diary Project
It’s about hand writing the story of when you knew this time was different. It’s a practice that we don’t have to look at this present moment, but we look back a month, two months and reflect on how did we know, what did we know, how did we know it. If you can start a journal and not be intimidated, it just has to be a commitment in your mind that you’re going to hold on to what you’re writing. Begin that process of letting that inner person be more familiar to you.

‘Being involved in the world is the tax we pay as citizens. Know this, you can change the world. You can use your education to help others. You can hold onto a vision for a just world and help to bring it about. Your peers around the country are doing that now.’



Carol J. Adams is a feminist scholar and activist whose written work explores the cultural construction of overlapping and interconnected oppressions.

Adams’s first book, The Sexual Politics of Meat, is now celebrating its 30th anniversary. Never out of print, it has been translated into many languages, including Spanish, German, French, Italian, Chinese, Portuguese, Korean, and Japanese. Bloomsbury Publishing recognised the 25th anniversary of its publication by selecting it for the Bloomsbury Revelations series of books that change consciousness.

She is also the author of Burger, in Bloomsbury’s Object Lessons Series, and co-author with Virginia Messina of Protest Kitchen: Fight Injustice, Save the Planet, and Fuel Your Resistance One Meal at a Time, and of many other books. A new and updated The Pornography of Meat (originally published in 2004), will appear in the fall of 2020. The visual accompaniment to The Sexual Politics of Meat, it will include 340 images sent from around the world by Adams’s readers, whom she calls ‘grassroots sociologists’.

She has been an activist against domestic violence, racism, and homelessness, and for reproductive justice and fair housing practices. She has pioneered work discussing and addressing domestic violence and harm to animals.

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