Can You Be a Feminist and Consume Dairy?


We are sitting at the table. So many women. Some of us have been raped, some of us are volunteers, some of us are volunteers who have been raped.

We meet-up just like this, once in a while – a community. Empowering each other in a struggle against a world that is fundamentally masculine. A scary world. A world that wounded and scared us, a world in which the word “equality” is an ideal, but not a reality.

One of the women at the table offers me cake. A cake containing dairy. I shake my head in denial. ‘No way, I’m vegan’.

‘Vegan?! Listen, I once met a vegan man who told me that cows are being raped. What kind of appalling comparison is that? How can you even think something so evil and hurtful? Does he even know what rape is?’

And she goes into an overflowing rage of biased views about vegans and barely allows my shocked self to insert a word.

A pause, and then I start.

I tell her that one of the main reasons I became vegan was the sexual abuse I had experienced. I tell her that I know what helplessness is. That I know how it feels when someone is violent towards you. I tell her that I know what it is to suffer, how it feels when you are being used, when something that is yours is taken; taken without permission.

I tell her that I know what it’s like to be a living being that is treated like an object, a commodity, thin-air. A tool for a fulfilment of a desire. I tell her how they forcefully insert the sperm into the cow. How they tear her calf away from her, how they milk her again and again and again and again, how her udders are filled with sores and inflammations. How they get rid of her when she is no longer profitable.

I tell her how, every time I look into those eyes, it takes me back. That I want to scream. That she is a part of me and that until she is free, I will not be free either.

It’s contrary to feminism to consume milk.
It’s contrary to feminism to ask for equality for one group while oppressing another.
It’s contrary to feminism to defend one type of female body while using and abusing another.
It’s contrary to feminism to turn someone into a commodity.
It’s contrary to feminism.
It’s disgraceful.
It’s outrageous.

No fight for women’s rights is going to make me forget what happened, as long as I look into those eyes.

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