My Decision to Eat Children May Horrify You. A Woman Deciding to Eat Children Is Still a Feminist Victory

Illustration for article titled My Decision to Eat Children May Horrify You. A Woman Deciding to Eat Children Is Still a Feminist Victory
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In the months since I first became writer-at-large at Jezebel, I have received a considerable amount of hate mail over the fact that I eat children. I say this more as a statement of fact than an effort to garner sympathy. I knew from the start that this was a risk of taking the position: it’s difficult for women to publicly admit they eat children in a society that believes eating children is wrong and that all cannibals are men.

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You may disagree with me on plenty (and vehemently) when it comes to child-eating. On principle, you may never eat a child—out of pure hunger or for sport. You may also feel awful for the children I eat, since they are being eaten.

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But there should be one point on which you and I are in total agreement: it’s a wonderful thing that a woman is blazing a path for herself in an otherwise male-dominated field and speaking up in a way that women are often told they shouldn’t.

Growing up, it was nearly impossible to find examples of women eating children in the books I read and the movies I watched. The Silence of the Lambs? The cannibal is a man. Fat Bastard from the Austin Powers series? Yet another man. The witch in Hansel and Gretel eats children but pays a steep price for doing so: living in total isolation in the woods.

Women are supposed to be kind, docile. We are supposed to raise children, not eat them. If a child must be eaten, leave it to the men, society tells us.

It’s a ludicrous relic of a former age that women are not supposed to excel in all the same ways as men. This is true across the board, no matter what a woman may choose to excel at, whether it’s throwing the full institutional weight of the vice presidency behind a school that denies the humanity and basic rights of LGBTQ people or if their life’s passion is consuming children both as fuel and recreation.

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Insisting that women shouldn’t eat children denies women the right to choose personal fulfillment. This is wrong, particularly because we know that feminism, at its core, is about celebrating the individual choices women make no matter the consequences for others or the violent systems those choices may support.

So while you may think that my decision to eat children is wrong, you must also admit that, in a small way, my choice paves the way for other women who want to do this, too. You might not think of it that way, but it’s a feminist contribution worth celebrating.

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DISCUSSION

UrbanAchiever1
UrbanAchiever

Hm. I mean, I know - I KNOW - satire and all that, but I dunno. This reminds me too much of this Onion article about birds being suddenly allowed to have abortions and then pushing all their eggs out of the nest, as if being allowed to do something undesirable becomes desirable by virtue of it being allowed.

And I get how that might be “funny” except that in both this case and in the case of the bird article, at heart, it’s a mocking and repudiation of what the fights for equality and choice are about without adding any real satirical muscle to the mix.

To be funny as satire, there has to be an element of truth that’s then taken to its extreme. Jonathan Swift’s A Modest Proposal is a good example. (Wikipedia in case you don’t know it: he “suggests that the impoverished Irish might ease their economic troubles by selling their children as food for rich gentlemen and ladies. This satirical hyperbole mocked heartless attitudes towards the poor, as well as British policy toward the Irish in general. The primary target of Swift’s satire was the rationalism of modern economics, and the growth of rationalistic modes of thinking in modern life at the expense of more traditional human values.”) Swift was taking a brutal attitude towards the poor to its extreme.

The extreme of feminism isn’t wanting to do all the worst of what the worst of men do. The extreme of reproductive choice availability isn’t everyone running out to have an abortion just because they can. See, not funny.

This and the Onion piece feel cut from the same cloth. Both come off as, I’m sorry to say, a heavy-handed attempts at satire when really, they’re just amateurish take-downs of what feminism/choice are about while completely missing the satirical aspect - unless this is meant to be more meta, and be a satire from the viewpoint of an anti-feminist. In which case, uh, okay?