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.
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.
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.
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.