Monday, June 1, 2015

The Meaning of Meat and Vegetable

While re-reading "The Sexual Politics of Meat" by Carol Adams I came across a particularly interesting point. While talking about the way the word "meat" has changed she writes "Meat represents the essence or principle part of something, according to the American Heritage Dictionary. Thus we have "the meat of the matter", a "meaty question". To "beef up" something is to improve it. Vegetable on the other hand represents the least desirable characteristics : Suggesting like a vegetable, as in passivity or dullness of existence, monotonous, passive". I think it is interesting that meat is so linked to the masculine that the idea has even entered our language. She moves the argument further and illustrates how these meanings have originated from meat being associated with the man and the head of the household and vegetables being associated with women who are passive and weak.  It is something I have done my whole life never even occurred to me, from now on I am going to be watching for how other words that are gendered in a removed way.

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