Fifty Shades of Violence
By Sapphire Fein
Content warning: sexual violence, sexism, speciesism
“'I’m going to cook you now, Miss Hen,' he mutters as he opens the door of the oven. He slides me into the oven. Beneath me is a bed of wet, dark, pitted cherries. The dry heat takes me into its sudden embrace, and my juices flow freely over the torn fruit. I never thought it would feel like this. I never imagined it could be this good. B’gaaaawk!"
This excerpt comes from a book titled Fifty Shades of Chicken, a recipe book that uses the personal narrative of an eviscerated hen being held captive by an aroused male chef. A parody of Fifty Shades of Grey, this cookbook is an example of both misogyny and speciesism.
When we glamorize the degradation of human women, blaming women for being raped and abused, we call it rape culture. When we glamorize the victimization and consumption of animals by selling their bodies as humane, we call it humane washing. In both cases, it is not enough for individuals to be subjugated to violence - they must have actually wanted it. In order to make violence more palatable, we are told that in victimizing another person, we are doing them a favor.
And in this disturbing parody, we see both rape culture and humane-washing, bizarrely intertwined: The so-called "free range" corpse of Miss Hen is reanimated to endure a sexualized preparation for consumption - and she enjoys it.
Yet in reality, there are no shades of grey. Every single animal, regardless of species and gender, deserves so much more than violence cloaked behind the idea that she was a willing participant. We all deserve bodily autonomy, and to have our personhood recognized.