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Serious Legality of Bestiality

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MikeDawg

Banned deucer.
Preface: I have no interest in beastiality. I do, however, wonder why it isn't legal (or rather, why it comes with such an 'ew gross why would that ever be legal' reaction).
  1. Non-consensual sex is everywhere in the animal world. It exists in almost every specie. Why is it suddenly 'rape' now?
  2. Why is beastiality so immoral when we are skinning animals alive, testing chemicals on them, and eating them? Their living conditions aren't particularly top-notch to begin with. This doesn't make the former correct, but do you really care? Perhaps some of you are vegetarians, but I digress.
  3. Why does the government get to regulate this but not other sex-related things? Sodomy? Legalities of revealing STDs?
  4. Can we really say that there is no way to tell consent? Lots of species engage in sex for fun. If you dog is literally humping you, dick out, is that not consenting enough for them to hump your butthole/vagina?
  5. To what extent is legalization reasonable?
non-consensual sex exists literally everywhere in the animal world, and it isn't rape. Are you really about to outrightpreach that, ideally, every species of animal should enact some way to abolish non-consensual sex.Seriously? If that is the case, then I assume the same should be done for cannibalism. Murder as well.

Animals aren't people. We are different because of our brains. Rape, murder... these are ONLY bad things in the human world because of the fact that we are more evolved. Sure, every dog is a special snowflake individual, not a 'subject', but that still has nothing to do with bestiality lol We aren't talking an animal sex-trade here. We are talking about people that legitimately desire an I tinate relationship with their animal.
 
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The main thing behind this is the issue of consent. Killing an animal is obviously death but sex could potentially be very cruel. So determining consent is the issue since they cannot speak

But like a horse can kill a human in one easy kick so if they allow a human to do whatever I'd say that's consent and they should be as equally qualified for marriage as homosexuals
 

MikeDawg

Banned deucer.
The main thing behind this is the issue of consent. Killing an animal is obviously death but sex could potentially be very cruel. So determining consent is the issue since they cannot speak

But like a horse can kill a human in one easy kick so if they allow a human to do whatever I'd say that's consent and they should be as equally qualified for marriage as homosexuals
My dog, for example, had tried to hump every human that has walked into the house before he was neutered. Does that count as consensual? I feel as if consent is somewhat of a hypocritical argument given that they don't consent to being shoved in way-too-small cages or being skinned alive (both of which I would argue are far more cruel than letting a dog have its way with you).
 

Myzozoa

to find better ways to say what nobody says
is a Top Tiering Contributor Alumnusis a Past WCoP Champion
ok so ima give a serious response I guess.

In the absence of a set of conditions under which animals are subjects (i.e agents that can articulate desires) in their interactions with humans it is unclear how bestiality can be said to be 'consensual', which would seem to be necessary to say that bestiality (sex acts between humans and non-human animals) is not cruel (note: i think it is cruel).

As a side note on the conditions under which animals are subjects: it seems that the conditions under which animals can articulate their desires are not found in scientific behaviorist research practices, which is why there has been so little progress in 'Animal Studies' from that methodological stance. See Vinciane Despret "The Becomings of Subjectivity in Animal Worlds". Strictly speaking, it seems that any animal that could articulate a desire to join a human in a sex act could no longer represent other animals of its same species, thus legislation that would suppose to delineate which species are legal for bestiality would be problematic and self-defeating because it de-personalizes the animals.

Further, I believe that the society I live in treats the bodies of animals and the bodies of women in similar ways in terms of how they are commodified:
"As animal studies scholars Carol J. Adams and Josephine Donovan remind us in their text Animals and Women the historical 'ideological justification for women’s alleged inferiority has been made by appropriating them to animals.'"

So for me, legalizing bestiality is problematic, even if one accepts that under certain conditions (which btw could NEVER be known 'ahead of time') it could be consensual. Firstly, because it is unclear how legislation could define a case of consensual sex act between animal and human in a way that actually attends to particular animals as desiring subjects (the case law would be a nightmare btw, a totally unenforcible or else abusable disaster). Secondly, because it seems like to follow in a historical tradition that objectifies femininity.

Also your whole thing about prostitution is weird, whats wrong with prostitution? And why do you think that, in ideal conditions, you would get an std from a prostitute? There are condoms if nothing else.
How could the government tax bestiality? that is some bs argument it's not like marijuana where you go to a bestiality club and buy your thrills. Further, there is no causal mechanism by which legalizing bestiality would cause a decline in human trafficking, and even if there was, why is it 'progress' to have animals sex trafficked instead of humans? It's weird to maintain a heirarchy where humans are (morally) valued/privileged more than animals at the same time as you propose that there can be consensual sex acts between animals and humans.


Also just because people already treat animals immorally on a mass scale (food production) does not mean we should make it legal to do more cruel things to them. Thats stupid af.

The OP is taken from debate.org. I think discussion could be interesting. Worth noting that, like the author, I have no interest in bestiality.





2. It is no more dangerous than sleeping with a sex worker.
Sleeping with a prostitute can get you chlamydia, crabs, gonorrhea, Hepatitis A-C, HIV… the list goes on. Zoophilia has its list of diseases as well, but most are treatable with antibiotics. Get a docile animal that won't try to bite during sex, skip the argument about wearing protection (because you will, no questions asked; animals can't insist that they're disease-free and convince you not to protect yourself), and presto! Someone just saved himself a few hundred bucks.
this quote sums up a lot of my objections to the intentions behind this debate. It seems that for the sex to be consensual it must be precisely the case that the animals COULD insist that they're disease free and have a discussion about protection, for it to be said of the acts that they are consensual and not cruel. But there seems to be no interest in rendering animals capable of articulating these things to humans (i.e human to animal communication is necessary to consent).


Sources:
http://www.palgrave-journals.com/sub/journal/v23/n1/full/sub200815a.html (Vinciane Despret)

The Bloody Degradation of Fertile Bodies:

Interpreting Femininity and Rape Culture in Tess of the d’Urbervilles

In the first section of Thomas Hardy’s Tess of the d’Urbervilles,“Phase the First: The Maiden,” the Durbeyfield’s horse is killed in an accident that triggers a series of events that eventually lead to Tess’s tragic demise. Prince’s death obliges Tess to go visit her distant relative Alec d’Urberville, the man who subjects Tess to persistent physical and psychological abuse throughout the novel. When Prince is killed a “pointed shaft” penetrates his “breast…like a sword,” invoking a phallic image of masculine aggression and war that attacks a feminine image of reproduction (Hardy 22). The vivid blood imagery in Prince’s death is both associated with femininity and nature as from his “wound”—a recurrent word that links violence towards Tess and violence towards animals—his “life’s blood [is] spouting in a stream and falling with a hiss” (22). Prince’s blood flows like water as a “stream” and falls with a snake-like “hiss” (22). Tess attempts to stop the bleeding but the only result is that she becomes “splashed from face to skirt with crimson drops” (22). Tess embodies Prince’s death, shares in the animal’s suffering by becoming covered in his blood; blood becomes a feminizing image in the novel. The horse’s death is the major event in Tess’s life that symbolizes the abuse she will suffer because of her feminine identity.

The death of Prince, and its connection to Tess’s assault, shows how Victorian culture treated feminized bodies as inferior. The novel shows how Alec’s masculine display of aggression was normalized: he is a repeat offender whose assault on Tess he calls “the very worst case I ever was concerned with” (Hardy 247). Alec’s domination of inferior beings is biologically justified because Victorian ideology constructed femininity as submissive and always available to masculine aggression. Consent is assumed because Tess is female, the same way consent is assumed in the domestication of animals because they are not human. This misogynistic and speciesist ideology permeated Victorian gender relations, creating a rape culture that deemed feminized bodies as always available to masculine control. These assumptions were accepted as natural because scientific works, a key example being Charles Darwin whose work revolutionized the way Victorian culture interacted with and understood the natural world, naturalized gender roles in both humans and animals. Moreover, medical texts like Commentaries on the Causes, Forms, Symptoms, and Treatment, Moral and Medical, of Insanity (1828) justified feminine inferiority by othering the female body in opposition to the male body, reinforcing socially constructed gender hierarchies. Because these works had scientific research to support them their “truth” was accepted and thus used to construct the masculine/feminine binary recognized and generally accepted in the categorization of gender in both humans and animals.

Many literary critics identify the connection between male dominance over women and male dominance over animals, but do no delve into how the historical feminization of these bodies reinforces their inferiority. In Elsie Michie’s essay “Horses and Sexual/Social Dominance” she describes the relationship between human dominance over horses and male dominance over women in Victorian literature as “linked to the biological forces Darwin described, the aggression that leads to the survival of the fittest and the ineffable drive of sexual selection” (146). She shows how Hardy was strongly influenced by the works of Darwin and inscribed these influences in his own texts, but she doesn’t mention any aspect of the social construction of gender or the historical violence that involved patriarchal ideology for justification. Michie describes Alec’s assault on Tess as taking “sexual possession of her,” but doesn’t go so far as to acknowledge that his displays of dominance as a masculine aggressor are violent (157). On the other hand there are critics who have written about Tess’s assault from a legal perspective. Feminist and legal studies scholar Melanie Williams uses an analysis of Victorian law to show the legitimacy of Tess’s rape. In a response to John Sutherland’s victim blaming essay “Is Alec a Rapist?” Williams proves that, legally, Alec is a rapist even in a Victorian context, and that Tess, “like many rape victims…feels foolish and guilty for having allowed herself to fall into such a trap and is unsure as to whether she has any claim to moral integrity” (Williams 310). Although William’s acknowledges the horrific reality of sexual assault on the individual psyche, she does not engage with the influence of rape culture in the production of victim blaming ideologies. Tess’s shame has been produced by a victim blaming society, a Victorian rape culture that normalized masculine violence against women and animals, a rape culture we can recognize in contemporary societies. Hardy’s language in Tess mirrors the same language used today to blame victims of sexual assault. When Alec confronts Tess he calls her a “temptress,” a “damned witch” that he “could not resist” (Hardy 254). He blames his actions on her and uses slurs in order to invalidate Tess’s perspective. Women are, and have always been, represented as participants in their own degradation because of the inferiority of the feminine body. The reason that misogynistic ideology has been successful in marking women as inferior is precisely because of animals’ inferior status; human dominance over animals and male dominance over women are both patriarchal systems of oppression. As animal studies scholars Carol J. Adams and Josephine Donovan remind us in their text Animals and Women the historical “ideological justification for women’s alleged inferiority has been made by appropriating them to animals” (1). Tess of the d’Urbervilles depicts this appropriation of women to animals and feminizes nature. The exploitation of animal and female bodies proves to be interdependent. Tess—along with the other animals of the novel—attempts to navigate a rape culture that has naturalized her degradation in order to justify the social construct of masculine superiority.

The `Scientific Justification of Feminine Inferiority

Victorian science constructed menstruation to be the defining characteristic of femininity by othering it in opposition to the masculine qualities. In Burrows medical text on Commentaries on the Causes, Forms, Symptoms, and Treatment, Moral and Medical, of Insanity he claimed “every body of the least experience must be sensible of the influence of menstruation on the operations of the mind,” implying that menstruation as a marker of feminine insanity was generally known and socially accepted (199). He continues: “In truth, [menstruation] is the moral and physical barometer of the female constitution,” (Burrows 199). All feminine behavior was thought to be controlled by a woman’s fertility. With this logic, all women regardless of circumstances were vulnerable to insanity on the grounds that being a fertile woman made you inherently weak. Victorian science refused women their individuality by determining their entire personality and behavior controlled by their bodies, reinforcing the patriarchal ideology that women needed to be regulated by men for their own protection. By claiming menstruation as the defining characteristic of femininity, women were unable to escape their biological inferiority. Moreover, menstruation and fertility became virtually interchangeable images in relation to feminine behavior and sexuality. In Locock’s medical text, The Cyclopedia of Practical Medicine: Comprising the Nature and Treatment of Diseases, Materia Medica and Therapeutics, Medical Jurisprudence, menstruation was described as “analogous to that of ‘heat’ in the inferior animals” which implied that when a woman was menstruating she was in a constant state of arousal, waiting for a man to impregnate her (Locock 201). Not only is this assumption absurd, but it shows the male-centric ideology in Victorian perceptions of female sexuality. Scientific theories on female bodies determined the feminine body as always available to masculine control. These claims were based in science, naturalizing masculine superiority because men were not represented as subjected to the control of their bodies in the same way women were.

Darwin’s Descent of Man (1871) both naturalized assumptions about gender and projected them onto animals. He wrote, “With mankind the differences between the sexes are greater than in most of the Quadrumana” (232). Darwin’s work showed a desire to differentiate man from animal, but not woman from animal. When he published his scientific research, Victorian culture was “grappling with the consciousness of man-as-animal” because Darwin’s work “herald[ed] a natural order of predation (Danahay and Denenholz 2). However, just because Darwin’s work reflected a “natural order of predation” doesn’t mean this concept was accurate. Instead it shows the absorption of the patriarchal ideology in Victorian culture as scientifically presented in Darwin’s work. As a result, Victorian culture also projected these assumptions onto animals, universalizing both the male/female sex binary and the masculine/feminine gender binary. As science was represented as an unbiased field of study, Victorian media accepted these binaries as universally true. In the Victorian newspaper article “The Family Life of Animals” the author writes, “You will find amongst the females the same coquetry and modesty combined that we humans love in our women-folk,” which projects two socially constructed feminine characteristics onto animals, both of which are used to force women into being submissive in order to be considered feminine (361). The author then claims that in larks, “amongst the males the same [as human males] combative instincts, the same desire to win, by bravery or by devotion [is present]” (“The Family Lives of Animals” 361). Masculinity was constructed as aggressive and strong, even in birds. By attributing gendered characteristics to nature, it became extremely difficult to deny these claims.

In the differentiation between feminine and masculine bodies based on biological sex, femininity and masculinity were set in opposition to each other, producing a binary. For if the feminine is inherently weak, the masculine is the opposite: inherently strong. Moreover, these claims labeled the feminine body as biologically submissive and claims regarding masculine behavior always naturalized male aggression. Darwin, whose work revolutionized the way Victorians viewed humans’ relationship to the natural world, wrote in Descent of Man that “Man is more courageous, pugnacious, and more energetic than woman, and has a more inventive genius” (233). Each word he uses to compare men and women held heavily gendered connotations regarding expressions of femininity and masculinity. Courage, pugnacity, and energy were all traits associated with masculinity because they reflected strength and aggression. If a woman showed these traits, she was deemed abnormal. The masculine/feminine binary was taken as biologically determined and thus Victorian rape culture was supported with patriarchal thought hidden as scientific objectivity.

Hardy’s language in Tess of the d’Urbervilles shows the construction of femininity as inherently fertile by using blood imagery to group together all the women of the novel. When Angel Clare encounters Tess, Izz, Marian, and Retty on their way to church, prevented from arriving on time by an oversized puddle, he carries all the other dairymaids across the river in order to get to Tess. Although it may appear that Tess has more individuality than the other women—because she is the protagonist—her individuality is only emphasized through the attention she receives from Angel. Her difference relies on the projection of her desirability as a sexualized fertile body, but her body functions the same as all the other women. The scene begins with “four hearts gave a big throb simultaneously,” connecting the women together according to their physical response to Angel’s gaze (Hardy 112). Their increased heart rate implies excitement or arousal, both characteristics that were almost always associated with femininity. Their reaction to Angel’s gaze is synchronized, rejecting any sense of individuality in them. Throughout the novel, the impact of blood on emotions is almost exclusively attributed to women, implying that their emotional responses are determined by their assigned biological sex. When Angel carries the women across the puddle, all four women are described as a “rosy-cheeked, bright-eyed quartett,” representing them as virtually indistinguishable and defined by their feminine physical characteristics (Hardy 112). Hardy again pays attention to the impact of blood on the women’s behavior when, “the whole four flushed as if one heart beat through them” (112). They experience the same reaction and emotions, caused by the “one heart” that controls each of their bodies. Because the narrator makes no distinction between each body, attributing every characteristic to the universal control of blood, the individuality of each woman proves irrelevant.

Fertility becomes even more so connected with feminine sexuality when all the women of the dairy farm are grouped together according to their passion for Angel. When Tess and the other dairymaids lament over their love for him their bedroom is described as “palpitat[ing]” with “hopeless passion” (115). Palpitate, meaning “of the heart”, is directly aligned with the women’s “hopeless passion.” The use of “hopeless” further emphasizes the lack of control the women have over their own emotions. Moreover, a palpitating heart is slightly more complicated than a regular heartbeat, perpetuating the idea that women’s bodies were abnormal.

Rape Culture in Tess and Beyond

Hardy’s representation of the behavior of the female characters as controlled by blood in their bodies reinforces the Victorian scientific texts that worked to strengthen the masculine/feminine binary. By ignoring individuality in women, these texts normalized the exploitation of feminized bodies and contributed to the rape culture of the Victorian era that always marked the feminine body as available to masculine control. One of the most commonly used tropes to normalize violence towards women is the assumption that femininity is naturally inferior. In Tess of the d’Urbervilles, although Alec is the man who physically assaults Tess, Angel, who is often romanticized, shows patriarchal attitudes in his aggressive pursuit of Tess’s affection. When Angel asks Tess to marry him and she refuses, he is not discouraged as Tess’s “refusal, though unexpected, did not permanently daunt [him]. His experience of women was great enough for him to be aware that the negative often meant nothing more than the preface to the affirmative” (Hardy 136).These words share the same patriarchal sentiment used to justify sexual assault today: the idea that when a woman says “no” she really means “yes,” which is an idea constructed by the naturalization of femininity as submissive. Both in Tess and in contemporary cultures, even if a woman refuses the advances of a man, aggression proves victorious; it is believed that if the man works hard enough he will be able to win her over regardless of the woman’s desire, which is a complete violation of the woman’s personal autonomy. This same naturalization of femininity and masculinity exists today in the way that modern cultures interact with, interpret, and represent the natural world. Adams and Donovan of Animals and Women state,

Why is it…that so many wildlife documentaries turn into a nearly pornographic parade of carnivorous violence? Such representations give a warped view of the natural world, where the vast majority of creatures are not carnivorous…and where caring, cooperation, and symbiosis are more prevalent…[W]e suggest that such messages work to reinscribe male-supremacist ideologies, both in promoting a view of nature as dominated by aggressive and violent males, and in sanctioning human behavior that follows this model. (6)

In other words, when we present the natural world as dominated by aggressive males and violence is glorified, violence is masculinized creating a vicious cycle that circularly naturalizing gender roles. The most damaging aspect of naturalizing masculinity and masculinizing violence is the social normalization of aggression towards feminine bodies, which has produced rape cultures that span across the world. We continue to live in a rape culture, just like Hardy did, that views violence as a natural expression of masculinity and feminizes victims of violence in order to validate their violation. I want to emphasize that sexual violence against feminized bodies is not an inherently male trait: sexual violence against feminized bodies is a perverted expression of masculinity. I am not saying that violence doesn’t exist in animal relations or in the natural world; I am saying that violence against feminized bodies is a way of maintaining the socially constructed hierarchy of masculine supremacy that naturalizes masculinity as violent and views the feminized body as available to masculine violence.

The influence of modern day rape culture is evident in literary analysis regarding Tess’s assault. The simple fact that critics feel that they can debate the legitimacy of Tess’s assault in the name of scholarly research shows the permeation of patriarchal ideology. I am not concerned with debating the validity of Tess’s assault as Tess never expresses enthusiastic consent to Alec in any aspect of their relationship. Some scholars such as Sarah Conly, a scholar of ethics, argue otherwise. In her essay “Rape, Seduction, and Coercion” Conly exhibits the patriarchal perception that women are naturally submissive. She describes Alec and Tess’s relationship: “[Alec] flatters her, he impresses her with a show of wealth, he gives help to her family to win her gratitude, and he reacts with irritation and indignation when she nonetheless continues to repulse his advances, causing her to feel shame at her own ingratitude” (Conly 96). Conly reflects rape culture ideology that produces the belief that if a man provides a woman with material things that the women, in return, is obliged to engage in sexual acts with him. Conly assumes that Tess, because she is female, owes Alec her body. Even in Conly’s essay, written less than ten years ago, Tess is deemed a participant in her degradation and a subject of masculine control precisely because of her feminine identity. Conly ends her patriarchal propaganda with, “To call all sexual wrongdoing rape also does a disservice to those who have suffered the absolute terror of violent assault and whose suffering can’t, I think, be compared to that of the person who has reluctantly agreed to have sex to avoid emotional distress” (121). What Conly fails to acknowledge is that sexual wrongdoing isa form of rape and that reluctantly agreeing to have sex in order to avoid emotional distress is a form of violent assault. In Conly’s refusal to acknowledge the very real trauma of sexual assault she endorses feminine inferiority.

Cultural constructions of language have shaped the debated ambiguity of the rape scene in Tess of the d’Urbervilles. The debate of “seduction or rape” reflects the cultural connotations associated of language. For me, the most problematic aspect of opposing rape and seduction is that it assumes the two acts are mutually exclusive when they are not. As feminist theorist Ellen Rooney puts it “the difficulty [of distinguishing rape from seduction] lies in the opposition itself” (92). Framing seduction and rape as opposing actions, rather than actions that often function together, perpetuates the idea that feminine bodies are naturally available for masculine domination. The very connotation of seduction reflects the influence of rape culture on how language was, and is, constructed. Seduction can mean an act of persuasion and/or to lead astray (Oxford English Dictionary). Regardless of denotation, seduction always involves an act of emotional manipulation that compels the manipulated to submit to the advances of the aggressor: this is an act of emotional and psychological violence. Additionally, the Oxford English Dictionary defines rape as the act of “forced (by means of threats or violence) non-consenting, or illegal sexual intercourse with another person; sexual violation or assault.” The two definitions of seduction and rape both share an element of compulsion. Whether or not Tess was seduced or raped, both involve a violation.

Moreover, the language in the actual rape scene invokes negativity and a sense of dread: “Darkness and silence ruled everywhere around…Where was Tess’s guardian angel?” Hardy asks the reader (57). He then describes the interaction as “coarse” and a “catastrophe” (57). These words hardly invoke consent and resemble language associated with violence. The “ambiguity” of the scene does not represent an invitation to debate Tess’s experience but represents the ways in which Victorian rape culture limited the representation of sexual assault in its aesthetics. Tess’s experience is shaped in a way that does not impose full guilt onto Alec or herself because to do so would be to directly confront the patriarchal ideology in Victorian society. In Melanie Williams essay on the legal connotations of rape and seduction, she shows that Tess’s assault is rape according to Victorian law. However, the essay still engages with rape culture values that permit assault against feminine bodies in the first place. Although Williams does a service to invalidate Sutherland’s victim blaming essay “Is Alec a Rapist?” she still refers to Tess’s assault as a sexual encounter, falsely implying sexual assault to be a version of consensual sexual experiences (300, 301). I feel that it is necessary to convey that in sexual assault cases, we cannot interpret silence or submission as consent, just as we cannot interpret an animal’s inability to physically overpower humans in opposition to their exploitation as a sign of consent in the violation of their bodies.

The most defining aspect of rape culture is the normalization of violence against feminized bodies. Violence against women and animals has become so normal both by Victorian standards and modern day standards that some critics read Alec’s assault on Tess as “taking sexual possession” of her (Michie 157). Elsie Michie’s essay on sexual dominance focuses on the aesthetic significance of Alec’s domination over his horse and his domination over Tess. The essay is problematic in its interpretation because it displaces domination from the cultural to the imaginary; it ignores the reality of sexual domination, which is sexual assault, as a current cultural problem and a cultural problem that existed during the Victorian era. Because Tess is represented as feminine, Michie reads Tess’s experience as a normal interaction between men and women. She writes that Alec’s “relation to the animal he owns and rides symbolizes the relation he seeks with the woman he desires” (158). Michie’s interpretation acknowledges that the relation Alec desires both with animals and with Tess is domination, but she does not mention the mutual historical domestication and degradation of women and animals; she also does not mention how domination is inherently violent and violence upholds patriarchal systems of oppression. Michie calls Alec’s assault on Tess both a “sexual possession” and a “sexual pursuit” (157, 159). By using euphemisms to refer to Alec’s masculine act domination, Michie normalizes aggressive masculine behavior and belittles violence as an act of degradation. She also naturalizes masculine aggression when she describes Alec’s behavior as a “struggle to control or manage a set of unruly emotions, what we might call the animal passions: sexual desire, aggression, fear, anger” (Michie 147). However, masculine expressions of violence uphold patriarchy; they are not a manifestation of humans’ animalistic qualities. In Carol J. Adams’s essay “Woman-Battering and Harm to Animalsshewrites, “When a man hits a woman, he has not lost control—he achieves and maintains control…[H]e is reminding the woman of her subordinate status in the world” (57). Male abuse against women is not about the male’s instinctual violent urges: it is an expression of masculine control achieved by the abuser through violence. Masculinity as violent is a myth used to perpetuate patriarchal ideology and subordinate all that is feminine.

The Role of Nonhuman Animals in the Degradation of Women

While female bodies in Tess of the d’Urbervilles are animalized to show their inferiority, animal bodies in the novel are feminized to show theirs. The parallel between animals and women in the novel emphasizes their mutual degradation based on speciesist and misogynist ideologies, which have contributed to the construction of rape culture. Speciesism and sexism are interdependent because they both feminize fertility and rely on the exploitation of the feminized body. Just like sexism justifies the abuse of women, Speciesism has justified the abuse of animals based on their presumed inferiority. Language has historically connected the degradation of women and animals. In Joan Dunayer’s essay “Sexist Words, Speciesist Roots” she gives us insight into the linguistic relationship between the oppression of women and the oppression of animals. Language patterns prove very significant when regarding Tess as an example in the connection between the historical violation of animal bodies and female bodies. Dunayer focuses on how the resources that we get from exploiting animal bodies (i.e. milk and eggs) come from the exploitation and violation of that body as a fertile body. Dunayer states, “The dairy cow is exploited as [a] female body. Since the cow’s exploitation focuses on her uniquely female capacities to produce milk and ‘replacement’ offspring, it readily evokes thoughts of femaleness more generally” (13).

In Tess of the d’Urbervilles, blood imagery and milk imagery connects female and animal bodies by emphasizing their fertility. Hardy’s language reveals patterns that commonly link together women and animals to perpetually remind the reader that they are both fertile bodies. The agricultural usefulness of milk reflects the usefulness of dominating female bodies to enforce masculine superiority. After Tess leaves home to find work after the death of her child, she arrives at the dairy farm just at the “announcement of milking-time,” making her arrival synonymous with the arrival of the cows’ milk (82). As the cows get called in Tess “followed slowly in their rear,” showing Tess’s behavior to be virtually identical to that of a cow. Hardy describes the cows with a particular emphasis on their udders: their “large-veined udders hung ponderous as sandbags,” mirroring both the physical burden of female breasts and the physical appearance of breasts that are being used to nourish life (83). As the cows wait in the field, their milk “oozed forth and fell in drops to the ground” (83). The image particularly targets Tess as her own breast milk is wasted as a result of her infant’s death. The process dairy cows endure mirrors Tess’s experience: she is physically violated, impregnated, put in isolation, and then separated from her infant. Both situations value the object solely based on their services to the dominator.

Aggression towards feminized bodies is romanticized in Hardy’s representation of courtship. Not only is Angel and Tess’s courtship represented as synonymous with dairy work, but the sexual desire of the other women also reiterates the equation of female sexuality to fertility. As Tess and the dairymaids try to fall asleep after a charged interaction with Angel on their way to church, their movements echo the “cheese-wring dripp[ing] monotonously downstairs” (115). Dripping suggests moistness, like sweat or vaginal secretions, and monotonous implies a mechanical process that requires repetitiveness. Female sexuality is directly aligned with milk undergoing a transformative process into cheese or butter, implying that female arousal requires outside manipulation in order to occur. Their sexuality is dormant until triggered by male attention. As female sexuality is manipulated to better suit men, milk is manipulated to better fit the consumer. Both cow and woman are considered passive and submissive. As Angel tries to convince Tess to marry him he “persistently wooed her in undertones like that of purling milk” (142). His role in courtship is dynamic and persistent, while she is the milk: passive and undergoing an artificial process. He continues to woo her in the presence of dairy products: “at the cow’s side, at skimmings, at butter-makings, [and] at cheese-makings” (142). Their courtship is directly dependent on their interactions in the dairy farm and resembles the artificial manipulation of butter-making and cheese-making. The usefulness of milk is representative of the usefulness of Tess’s sexuality: only truly useful once it has undergone a transformative process. Both Tess and the cows must be captured and tamed in order to reap the usefulness of their bodies. Angel must convince Tess to marry him by courting her, rather than respecting her autonomy exercised in saying no. The continuous violation of Tess’s corporeal autonomy by Angel, based on the usefulness of her fertility to him, is done to enforce masculine dominance. As Angel pursues his courtship of Tess, he lustfully watches her milk a cow. Tess and the cow move together in a “rhythmic pulsation…as if they were obeying a reflex stimulus, like a beating heart” (117). Tess is collecting the cow’s milk, a symbol of their shared fertility. The woman and the animal work together to a rhythm only they can hear; Tess and the cow are connected by the image of a beating heart pumping blood throughout their bodies. Their movement is described as a “reflex,” indicating the naturalness of their unconscious response to the movement of blood. There is no differentiation between Tess’s body and the cow’s, just as there is no differentiation between each female body. The women and the cows possess the same heart, the same body, and, therefore, the same value.

Tess of the d’Urbervilles shows how the feminized body is hunted in order to uphold masculine superiority, whether the target is a woman or a bird. Victorian culture treated women and animals as if their existence was only meant for the satisfaction of the whims of masculine aggression. We see this masculine lust for domination when Tess encounters the wounded pheasants that have been shot by hunters. Tess remembers these types of men from her “girlhood” which genders Tess’s past (212). This shows her unique interpretation of hunting as a distinctly masculine sport, separate from the feminine sector. The hunters “peer through bushes,” categorizing their behavior as sneaky but deliberately phallic since they “point their guns” from hidden positions (212). The hunters have a “bloodthirsty light in their eyes,” which attributes violent characteristics to them that can be physically seen (212). The lust for blood proves especially significant, as blood is associated with femininity. Tess remembers being reassured that these men are “in fact, actually quite civil” (212). The redundancy of the language implies a mocking tone, claiming that these violent men are truly just appropriate members of society “save certain weeks of autumn and winter” when they temporarily giving into their violent impulses. However, the specific female quality of blood, and the continuous alignment of women to nature, makes it impossible to separate the seasonal hunting of pheasants from the continuous lustful hunting of women. These hunters run “amuck”—with a vicious craving for blood—and make it “their purpose to destroy life” (212). These men are savage and wild, not concerned with the sanctity of life. Much like these women who have been forced into socially constructed gender roles, these pheasants are forced to survive in a foreign environment, “brought into being by artificial means” for the only reason of satisfying male lust for dominance (212). Social gender roles only serve and benefit men, much like the pheasant hunt only caters to the desires of men. The passage ends with the hunters attacking “nature’s teeming family” (212). Again Hardy draws upon fertility imagery in order to emphasize the reproductive qualities of nature. Not only is nature “teeming”—full of reproductive potential—but also a “family” which connects natural qualities to domestic qualities. The desire to destroy nature in order to prove socially constructed characteristics of masculinity demonstrates the relationship between the dominance of nature and the dominance of women; the men must enforce gender roles through violence in order to keep women in their place of inferiority. The inseparability of animal bodies and female bodies in the novel solidifies the patriarchal justification of violence towards women as a means of control.

In modern cultures, hunting still represents the violent expression of masculinity as conveyed in Tess of the d’Urbervilles. Hunting, being a distinctly masculine sport both now and then, is depicted as a means of showing power and masculinity. In Marti Kheel’s essay “License to Kill” she discusses the ways in which male hunters justify their violence by “directing…[their] aggressive drive, toward an acceptable target [the animal]” (91). Often the male attraction to hunting is justified by their primeval, pre-society state, their “natural” desire to be violent. Masculinity in hunting is often “depicted as a return to an animal existence whereby one no longer feels in control” (Kheel 89). This is a common trope used in patriarchal ideology to justify masculine violence. On the contrary, hunting actually requires precise physical and mental control in order to achieve the kill, just as masculine violence against feminine bodies shows an exercising of control. The hunter must stalk the prey, take his time to take aim, and attack the target at the opportune moment. This is what both Angel and Alec do to Tess: they treat her as someone would treat their animal prey by pursuing her ruthlessly until she gives into their demands; the masculine body is in control. Much like sexual assault, hunting is about power. Hunting symbolizes predatory, masculine actions against feminine bodies. Both hunting and rape work to subordinate women and strengthen masculine supremacy.

Conclusion: Ending Violence towards Feminine Bodies

I reject the reading of feminine as inferior. Femininity as fertile represents strength, not weakness. The Victorian scientific reading of fertility as inferior is oxymoronic as men cannot bear children, one of the most grueling physical processes a human body can endure. A woman cannot be physically inferior when her body withstands, and often survives, the most difficult natural labor of all. However, this type of labor isn’t considered superior because fertility implies femininity and historically femininity has always been treated as inferior. Fairfax Bryne’s essay “Women and Their Sphere,” which was published in a Victorian periodical in 1888, shows the commonly accepted opposition of masculinity and femininity that is still present today. Masculinity represented destruction of life and femininity represented fertility: “The man’s very distinctive share…is still to destroy life…the woman’s distinctive share…is to continue and nourish life” (Bryne 67).

Tess of the d’Urbervilles gives us a glimpse into the historical mutual degradation of women and animals but these patriarchal ideologies about femininity extend outside the novel and into our modern culture. My analysis does not just apply to the degradation of women and animals but the degradation of all marginalized groups of people. Further analysis would show that nearly all marginalized groups share their historical oppression with animals. My feminism is intersectional and I feel that the most overlooked group of marginalized beings in intersectional analysis has been animals. I agree with the mission statement of Animals and Women that“no one creature will be free until we are all free—from abuse, degradation, exploitation, pollution, and commercialization. Women and animals share these oppressions historically, and until the mentality of domination is ended in all its forms, these afflictions will continue” (3). The rights of animals are crucial to the rights of women. Liberation for women requires liberation for animals; to ignore their plight is to ignore our plight. The rape culture that Hardy lived in, and that he represented in Tess of the d’Urbervilles, and the rape culture that we continue to live in, is directly supported by the commercialized exploitation of animal bodies. We must reject the naturalization of the masculine/feminine binary and we must radically reconstruct expressions of gender. In order to end the rape culture that subjects millions of people to horrific violence we must end violence against all feminized bodies.
















Works Cited

Adams, Carol J. “Woman-Battering and Harm to Animals.” Animals and Women: Feminist Theoretical Explorations. Eds. Carol J. Adams and Josephine Donovan. Durham, NC: Duke University Press, 1995. 55-84. Print.

Adams, Carol J. and Josephine Donovan, eds. Introduction. Animals and Women: Feminist Theoretical Explorations. Durham, NC: Duke University Press, 1995. Print.

Burrows, George. Commentaries on the Causes, Forms, Symptoms, and Treatment, Moral and

Medical, of Insanity. London: Thomas and George Underwood, 1828. 146-48. Print.

Byrne, Fairfax E. "Women and Their Sphere." Our Corner 11 (1888): 65-73. ProQuest. Web. 5 Dec. 2014.

Conly, Sarah. “Seduction, Rape, and Coercion.” Ethics 115. Chicago, IL: University of Chicago Press, 2005. 96–121. Print.

Danahay, Martin A. and Deborah Denenholz, eds. “Introduction.” Victorian Animal Dreams: Representations of Animals in Victorian Literature and Culture. Burlington: Ashgate, 2007. 1-10. Print.

Darwin, Charles. The Descent of Man (1871) Darwin 3rd ed. Ed. Phillip Appleman. New York: Norton, 2001. 230-43. Print.

Dunayer, Joan. “Sexist Words, Speciesist Roots.” Animals and Women: Feminist Theoretical Explorations. Eds. Carol J. Adams and Josephine Donovan. Durham, NC: Duke University Press, 1995. 11-31. Print.

"The Family Life of Animals." The Review of Reviews (1897): 361. ProQuest. Web. 5 Dec. 2014.

Hardy, Thomas. Tess of the d’Urbervilles. Ed. Scott Elledge. New York: W. W. Norton & Company, 1991. Print.

Kheel, Marti. “License to Kill: An Ecofeminist Critique of Hunters’ Discourse.” Animals and Women: Feminist Theoretical Explorations. Eds. Carol J. Adams and Josephine Donovan. Durham, NC: Duke University Press, 1995. 85-125. Print.

Locock, Charles. The Cyclopedia of Practical Medicine: Comprising the Nature and Treatment of Diseases, Materia Medica and Therapeutics, Medical Jurisprudence, 4 vols. Eds. John Forbes, Alexander Tweedle, and John Conolly. London: Sherwood, Gilbert and Piper, 1833-5: iii, 110-12. Print.

Michie, Elsie B. “Horses and Sexual/Social Dominance.” Victorian Animal Dreams: Representations of Animals in Victorian Literature and Culture. Eds. Martin A. Danahay and Deborah Denenholz. Burlington: Ashgate, 2007. 145-165. Print.

"rape, n.3." OED Online. Oxford University Press, December 2014. Web. 17 December 2014.

Rooney, Ellen. “‘A Little More than Persuading’: Tess and the Subject of Sexual Violence.’” Rape and Representation. Eds. Lynn A. Higgins and Brenda R. Silver. New York: Columbia University Press, 1991. 87-114. Print.

"seduction, n." OED Online. Oxford University Press, December 2014. Web. 17 December

2014.

Williams, Melanie. “ ‘Is Alec a Rapist?’ Cultural Connotations of ‘Rape’ and ‘Seduction.’ A Reply to Professor John Sutherland.” Feminist Legal Studies 7. Dordrecht, The Netherlands: Kluwer Academic Publishers, 1999. 299-316. Print.



My dog, for example, had tried to hump every human that has walked into the house before he was neutered. Does that count as consensual? I feel as if consent is somewhat of a hypocritical argument given that they don't consent to being shoved in way-too-small cages or being skinned alive (both of which I would argue are far more cruel than letting a dog have its way with you).
How do you know when it humps humans that means it wants them to engage in sex acts? Did you ask your dog and then it told you? If not, I know you are mistaken about what your dog wants.
 
An animal is incapable of providing informed consent. To this extent, having sex with animals is no different than having sex with children, as they are not capable of communicating about sex.

I don't know why you don't think there's no ethical or moral issue, since you're basically raping life. I'd argue that consumption is at least necessary and spares the dignity of the animal.
 

MikeDawg

Banned deucer.
ok so ima give a serious response I guess.

In the absence of a set of conditions under which animals are subjects (i.e agents that can articulate desires) in their interactions with humans it is unclear how bestiality can be said to be 'consensual', which would seem to be necessary to say that bestiality (sex acts between humans and non-human animals) is not cruel (note: i think it is cruel).

As a side note on the conditions under which animals are subjects: it seems that the conditions under which animals can articulate their desires are not found in scientific behaviorist research practices, which is why there has been so little progress in 'Animal Studies' from that methodological stance. See Vinciane Despret "The Becomings of Subjectivity in Animal Worlds". Strictly speaking, it seems that any animal that could articulate a desire to join a human in a sex act could no longer represent other animals of its same species, thus legislation that would suppose to delineate which species are legal for bestiality would be problematic and self-defeating because it de-personalizes the animals.

Further, I believe that the society I live in treats the bodies of animals and the bodies of women in similar ways in terms of how they are commodified:
"As animal studies scholars Carol J. Adams and Josephine Donovan remind us in their text Animals and Women the historical 'ideological justification for women’s alleged inferiority has been made by appropriating them to animals.'"

So for me, legalizing bestiality is problematic, even if one accepts that under certain conditions (which btw could NEVER be known 'ahead of time') it could be consensual. Firstly, because it is unclear how legislation could define a case of consensual sex act between animal and human in a way that actually attends to particular animals as desiring subjects (the case law would be a nightmare btw, a totally unenforcible or else abusable disaster). Secondly, because it seems like to follow in a historical tradition that objectifies femininity.

Also your whole thing about prostitution is weird, whats wrong with prostitution? And why do you think that, in ideal conditions, you would get an std from a prostitute? There are condoms if nothing else.
How could the government tax bestiality? that is some bs argument it's not like marijuana where you go to a bestiality club and buy your thrills. Further, there is no causal mechanism by which legalizing bestiality would cause a decline in human trafficking, and even if there was, why is it 'progress' to have animals sex trafficked instead of humans? It's weird to maintain a heirarchy where humans are (morally) valued/privileged more than animals at the same time as you propose that there can be consensual sex acts between animals and humans.


Also just because people already treat animals immorally on a mass scale (food production) does not mean we should make it legal to do more cruel things to them. Thats stupid af.



this quote sums up a lot of my objections to the intentions behind this debate. It seems that for the sex to be consensual it must be precisely the case that the animals COULD insist that they're disease free and have a discussion about protection, for it to be said of the acts that they are consensual and not cruel. But there seems to be no interest in rendering animals capable of articulating these things to humans (i.e human to animal communication is necessary to consent).


Sources:
http://www.palgrave-journals.com/sub/journal/v23/n1/full/sub200815a.html (Vinciane Despret)

The Bloody Degradation of Fertile Bodies:

Interpreting Femininity and Rape Culture in Tess of the d’Urbervilles

In the first section of Thomas Hardy’s Tess of the d’Urbervilles,“Phase the First: The Maiden,” the Durbeyfield’s horse is killed in an accident that triggers a series of events that eventually lead to Tess’s tragic demise. Prince’s death obliges Tess to go visit her distant relative Alec d’Urberville, the man who subjects Tess to persistent physical and psychological abuse throughout the novel. When Prince is killed a “pointed shaft” penetrates his “breast…like a sword,” invoking a phallic image of masculine aggression and war that attacks a feminine image of reproduction (Hardy 22). The vivid blood imagery in Prince’s death is both associated with femininity and nature as from his “wound”—a recurrent word that links violence towards Tess and violence towards animals—his “life’s blood [is] spouting in a stream and falling with a hiss” (22). Prince’s blood flows like water as a “stream” and falls with a snake-like “hiss” (22). Tess attempts to stop the bleeding but the only result is that she becomes “splashed from face to skirt with crimson drops” (22). Tess embodies Prince’s death, shares in the animal’s suffering by becoming covered in his blood; blood becomes a feminizing image in the novel. The horse’s death is the major event in Tess’s life that symbolizes the abuse she will suffer because of her feminine identity.

The death of Prince, and its connection to Tess’s assault, shows how Victorian culture treated feminized bodies as inferior. The novel shows how Alec’s masculine display of aggression was normalized: he is a repeat offender whose assault on Tess he calls “the very worst case I ever was concerned with” (Hardy 247). Alec’s domination of inferior beings is biologically justified because Victorian ideology constructed femininity as submissive and always available to masculine aggression. Consent is assumed because Tess is female, the same way consent is assumed in the domestication of animals because they are not human. This misogynistic and speciesist ideology permeated Victorian gender relations, creating a rape culture that deemed feminized bodies as always available to masculine control. These assumptions were accepted as natural because scientific works, a key example being Charles Darwin whose work revolutionized the way Victorian culture interacted with and understood the natural world, naturalized gender roles in both humans and animals. Moreover, medical texts like Commentaries on the Causes, Forms, Symptoms, and Treatment, Moral and Medical, of Insanity (1828) justified feminine inferiority by othering the female body in opposition to the male body, reinforcing socially constructed gender hierarchies. Because these works had scientific research to support them their “truth” was accepted and thus used to construct the masculine/feminine binary recognized and generally accepted in the categorization of gender in both humans and animals.

Many literary critics identify the connection between male dominance over women and male dominance over animals, but do no delve into how the historical feminization of these bodies reinforces their inferiority. In Elsie Michie’s essay “Horses and Sexual/Social Dominance” she describes the relationship between human dominance over horses and male dominance over women in Victorian literature as “linked to the biological forces Darwin described, the aggression that leads to the survival of the fittest and the ineffable drive of sexual selection” (146). She shows how Hardy was strongly influenced by the works of Darwin and inscribed these influences in his own texts, but she doesn’t mention any aspect of the social construction of gender or the historical violence that involved patriarchal ideology for justification. Michie describes Alec’s assault on Tess as taking “sexual possession of her,” but doesn’t go so far as to acknowledge that his displays of dominance as a masculine aggressor are violent (157). On the other hand there are critics who have written about Tess’s assault from a legal perspective. Feminist and legal studies scholar Melanie Williams uses an analysis of Victorian law to show the legitimacy of Tess’s rape. In a response to John Sutherland’s victim blaming essay “Is Alec a Rapist?” Williams proves that, legally, Alec is a rapist even in a Victorian context, and that Tess, “like many rape victims…feels foolish and guilty for having allowed herself to fall into such a trap and is unsure as to whether she has any claim to moral integrity” (Williams 310). Although William’s acknowledges the horrific reality of sexual assault on the individual psyche, she does not engage with the influence of rape culture in the production of victim blaming ideologies. Tess’s shame has been produced by a victim blaming society, a Victorian rape culture that normalized masculine violence against women and animals, a rape culture we can recognize in contemporary societies. Hardy’s language in Tess mirrors the same language used today to blame victims of sexual assault. When Alec confronts Tess he calls her a “temptress,” a “damned witch” that he “could not resist” (Hardy 254). He blames his actions on her and uses slurs in order to invalidate Tess’s perspective. Women are, and have always been, represented as participants in their own degradation because of the inferiority of the feminine body. The reason that misogynistic ideology has been successful in marking women as inferior is precisely because of animals’ inferior status; human dominance over animals and male dominance over women are both patriarchal systems of oppression. As animal studies scholars Carol J. Adams and Josephine Donovan remind us in their text Animals and Women the historical “ideological justification for women’s alleged inferiority has been made by appropriating them to animals” (1). Tess of the d’Urbervilles depicts this appropriation of women to animals and feminizes nature. The exploitation of animal and female bodies proves to be interdependent. Tess—along with the other animals of the novel—attempts to navigate a rape culture that has naturalized her degradation in order to justify the social construct of masculine superiority.

The `Scientific Justification of Feminine Inferiority

Victorian science constructed menstruation to be the defining characteristic of femininity by othering it in opposition to the masculine qualities. In Burrows medical text on Commentaries on the Causes, Forms, Symptoms, and Treatment, Moral and Medical, of Insanity he claimed “every body of the least experience must be sensible of the influence of menstruation on the operations of the mind,” implying that menstruation as a marker of feminine insanity was generally known and socially accepted (199). He continues: “In truth, [menstruation] is the moral and physical barometer of the female constitution,” (Burrows 199). All feminine behavior was thought to be controlled by a woman’s fertility. With this logic, all women regardless of circumstances were vulnerable to insanity on the grounds that being a fertile woman made you inherently weak. Victorian science refused women their individuality by determining their entire personality and behavior controlled by their bodies, reinforcing the patriarchal ideology that women needed to be regulated by men for their own protection. By claiming menstruation as the defining characteristic of femininity, women were unable to escape their biological inferiority. Moreover, menstruation and fertility became virtually interchangeable images in relation to feminine behavior and sexuality. In Locock’s medical text, The Cyclopedia of Practical Medicine: Comprising the Nature and Treatment of Diseases, Materia Medica and Therapeutics, Medical Jurisprudence, menstruation was described as “analogous to that of ‘heat’ in the inferior animals” which implied that when a woman was menstruating she was in a constant state of arousal, waiting for a man to impregnate her (Locock 201). Not only is this assumption absurd, but it shows the male-centric ideology in Victorian perceptions of female sexuality. Scientific theories on female bodies determined the feminine body as always available to masculine control. These claims were based in science, naturalizing masculine superiority because men were not represented as subjected to the control of their bodies in the same way women were.

Darwin’s Descent of Man (1871) both naturalized assumptions about gender and projected them onto animals. He wrote, “With mankind the differences between the sexes are greater than in most of the Quadrumana” (232). Darwin’s work showed a desire to differentiate man from animal, but not woman from animal. When he published his scientific research, Victorian culture was “grappling with the consciousness of man-as-animal” because Darwin’s work “herald[ed] a natural order of predation (Danahay and Denenholz 2). However, just because Darwin’s work reflected a “natural order of predation” doesn’t mean this concept was accurate. Instead it shows the absorption of the patriarchal ideology in Victorian culture as scientifically presented in Darwin’s work. As a result, Victorian culture also projected these assumptions onto animals, universalizing both the male/female sex binary and the masculine/feminine gender binary. As science was represented as an unbiased field of study, Victorian media accepted these binaries as universally true. In the Victorian newspaper article “The Family Life of Animals” the author writes, “You will find amongst the females the same coquetry and modesty combined that we humans love in our women-folk,” which projects two socially constructed feminine characteristics onto animals, both of which are used to force women into being submissive in order to be considered feminine (361). The author then claims that in larks, “amongst the males the same [as human males] combative instincts, the same desire to win, by bravery or by devotion [is present]” (“The Family Lives of Animals” 361). Masculinity was constructed as aggressive and strong, even in birds. By attributing gendered characteristics to nature, it became extremely difficult to deny these claims.

In the differentiation between feminine and masculine bodies based on biological sex, femininity and masculinity were set in opposition to each other, producing a binary. For if the feminine is inherently weak, the masculine is the opposite: inherently strong. Moreover, these claims labeled the feminine body as biologically submissive and claims regarding masculine behavior always naturalized male aggression. Darwin, whose work revolutionized the way Victorians viewed humans’ relationship to the natural world, wrote in Descent of Man that “Man is more courageous, pugnacious, and more energetic than woman, and has a more inventive genius” (233). Each word he uses to compare men and women held heavily gendered connotations regarding expressions of femininity and masculinity. Courage, pugnacity, and energy were all traits associated with masculinity because they reflected strength and aggression. If a woman showed these traits, she was deemed abnormal. The masculine/feminine binary was taken as biologically determined and thus Victorian rape culture was supported with patriarchal thought hidden as scientific objectivity.

Hardy’s language in Tess of the d’Urbervilles shows the construction of femininity as inherently fertile by using blood imagery to group together all the women of the novel. When Angel Clare encounters Tess, Izz, Marian, and Retty on their way to church, prevented from arriving on time by an oversized puddle, he carries all the other dairymaids across the river in order to get to Tess. Although it may appear that Tess has more individuality than the other women—because she is the protagonist—her individuality is only emphasized through the attention she receives from Angel. Her difference relies on the projection of her desirability as a sexualized fertile body, but her body functions the same as all the other women. The scene begins with “four hearts gave a big throb simultaneously,” connecting the women together according to their physical response to Angel’s gaze (Hardy 112). Their increased heart rate implies excitement or arousal, both characteristics that were almost always associated with femininity. Their reaction to Angel’s gaze is synchronized, rejecting any sense of individuality in them. Throughout the novel, the impact of blood on emotions is almost exclusively attributed to women, implying that their emotional responses are determined by their assigned biological sex. When Angel carries the women across the puddle, all four women are described as a “rosy-cheeked, bright-eyed quartett,” representing them as virtually indistinguishable and defined by their feminine physical characteristics (Hardy 112). Hardy again pays attention to the impact of blood on the women’s behavior when, “the whole four flushed as if one heart beat through them” (112). They experience the same reaction and emotions, caused by the “one heart” that controls each of their bodies. Because the narrator makes no distinction between each body, attributing every characteristic to the universal control of blood, the individuality of each woman proves irrelevant.

Fertility becomes even more so connected with feminine sexuality when all the women of the dairy farm are grouped together according to their passion for Angel. When Tess and the other dairymaids lament over their love for him their bedroom is described as “palpitat[ing]” with “hopeless passion” (115). Palpitate, meaning “of the heart”, is directly aligned with the women’s “hopeless passion.” The use of “hopeless” further emphasizes the lack of control the women have over their own emotions. Moreover, a palpitating heart is slightly more complicated than a regular heartbeat, perpetuating the idea that women’s bodies were abnormal.

Rape Culture in Tess and Beyond

Hardy’s representation of the behavior of the female characters as controlled by blood in their bodies reinforces the Victorian scientific texts that worked to strengthen the masculine/feminine binary. By ignoring individuality in women, these texts normalized the exploitation of feminized bodies and contributed to the rape culture of the Victorian era that always marked the feminine body as available to masculine control. One of the most commonly used tropes to normalize violence towards women is the assumption that femininity is naturally inferior. In Tess of the d’Urbervilles, although Alec is the man who physically assaults Tess, Angel, who is often romanticized, shows patriarchal attitudes in his aggressive pursuit of Tess’s affection. When Angel asks Tess to marry him and she refuses, he is not discouraged as Tess’s “refusal, though unexpected, did not permanently daunt [him]. His experience of women was great enough for him to be aware that the negative often meant nothing more than the preface to the affirmative” (Hardy 136).These words share the same patriarchal sentiment used to justify sexual assault today: the idea that when a woman says “no” she really means “yes,” which is an idea constructed by the naturalization of femininity as submissive. Both in Tess and in contemporary cultures, even if a woman refuses the advances of a man, aggression proves victorious; it is believed that if the man works hard enough he will be able to win her over regardless of the woman’s desire, which is a complete violation of the woman’s personal autonomy. This same naturalization of femininity and masculinity exists today in the way that modern cultures interact with, interpret, and represent the natural world. Adams and Donovan of Animals and Women state,

Why is it…that so many wildlife documentaries turn into a nearly pornographic parade of carnivorous violence? Such representations give a warped view of the natural world, where the vast majority of creatures are not carnivorous…and where caring, cooperation, and symbiosis are more prevalent…[W]e suggest that such messages work to reinscribe male-supremacist ideologies, both in promoting a view of nature as dominated by aggressive and violent males, and in sanctioning human behavior that follows this model. (6)

In other words, when we present the natural world as dominated by aggressive males and violence is glorified, violence is masculinized creating a vicious cycle that circularly naturalizing gender roles. The most damaging aspect of naturalizing masculinity and masculinizing violence is the social normalization of aggression towards feminine bodies, which has produced rape cultures that span across the world. We continue to live in a rape culture, just like Hardy did, that views violence as a natural expression of masculinity and feminizes victims of violence in order to validate their violation. I want to emphasize that sexual violence against feminized bodies is not an inherently male trait: sexual violence against feminized bodies is a perverted expression of masculinity. I am not saying that violence doesn’t exist in animal relations or in the natural world; I am saying that violence against feminized bodies is a way of maintaining the socially constructed hierarchy of masculine supremacy that naturalizes masculinity as violent and views the feminized body as available to masculine violence.

The influence of modern day rape culture is evident in literary analysis regarding Tess’s assault. The simple fact that critics feel that they can debate the legitimacy of Tess’s assault in the name of scholarly research shows the permeation of patriarchal ideology. I am not concerned with debating the validity of Tess’s assault as Tess never expresses enthusiastic consent to Alec in any aspect of their relationship. Some scholars such as Sarah Conly, a scholar of ethics, argue otherwise. In her essay “Rape, Seduction, and Coercion” Conly exhibits the patriarchal perception that women are naturally submissive. She describes Alec and Tess’s relationship: “[Alec] flatters her, he impresses her with a show of wealth, he gives help to her family to win her gratitude, and he reacts with irritation and indignation when she nonetheless continues to repulse his advances, causing her to feel shame at her own ingratitude” (Conly 96). Conly reflects rape culture ideology that produces the belief that if a man provides a woman with material things that the women, in return, is obliged to engage in sexual acts with him. Conly assumes that Tess, because she is female, owes Alec her body. Even in Conly’s essay, written less than ten years ago, Tess is deemed a participant in her degradation and a subject of masculine control precisely because of her feminine identity. Conly ends her patriarchal propaganda with, “To call all sexual wrongdoing rape also does a disservice to those who have suffered the absolute terror of violent assault and whose suffering can’t, I think, be compared to that of the person who has reluctantly agreed to have sex to avoid emotional distress” (121). What Conly fails to acknowledge is that sexual wrongdoing isa form of rape and that reluctantly agreeing to have sex in order to avoid emotional distress is a form of violent assault. In Conly’s refusal to acknowledge the very real trauma of sexual assault she endorses feminine inferiority.

Cultural constructions of language have shaped the debated ambiguity of the rape scene in Tess of the d’Urbervilles. The debate of “seduction or rape” reflects the cultural connotations associated of language. For me, the most problematic aspect of opposing rape and seduction is that it assumes the two acts are mutually exclusive when they are not. As feminist theorist Ellen Rooney puts it “the difficulty [of distinguishing rape from seduction] lies in the opposition itself” (92). Framing seduction and rape as opposing actions, rather than actions that often function together, perpetuates the idea that feminine bodies are naturally available for masculine domination. The very connotation of seduction reflects the influence of rape culture on how language was, and is, constructed. Seduction can mean an act of persuasion and/or to lead astray (Oxford English Dictionary). Regardless of denotation, seduction always involves an act of emotional manipulation that compels the manipulated to submit to the advances of the aggressor: this is an act of emotional and psychological violence. Additionally, the Oxford English Dictionary defines rape as the act of “forced (by means of threats or violence) non-consenting, or illegal sexual intercourse with another person; sexual violation or assault.” The two definitions of seduction and rape both share an element of compulsion. Whether or not Tess was seduced or raped, both involve a violation.

Moreover, the language in the actual rape scene invokes negativity and a sense of dread: “Darkness and silence ruled everywhere around…Where was Tess’s guardian angel?” Hardy asks the reader (57). He then describes the interaction as “coarse” and a “catastrophe” (57). These words hardly invoke consent and resemble language associated with violence. The “ambiguity” of the scene does not represent an invitation to debate Tess’s experience but represents the ways in which Victorian rape culture limited the representation of sexual assault in its aesthetics. Tess’s experience is shaped in a way that does not impose full guilt onto Alec or herself because to do so would be to directly confront the patriarchal ideology in Victorian society. In Melanie Williams essay on the legal connotations of rape and seduction, she shows that Tess’s assault is rape according to Victorian law. However, the essay still engages with rape culture values that permit assault against feminine bodies in the first place. Although Williams does a service to invalidate Sutherland’s victim blaming essay “Is Alec a Rapist?” she still refers to Tess’s assault as a sexual encounter, falsely implying sexual assault to be a version of consensual sexual experiences (300, 301). I feel that it is necessary to convey that in sexual assault cases, we cannot interpret silence or submission as consent, just as we cannot interpret an animal’s inability to physically overpower humans in opposition to their exploitation as a sign of consent in the violation of their bodies.

The most defining aspect of rape culture is the normalization of violence against feminized bodies. Violence against women and animals has become so normal both by Victorian standards and modern day standards that some critics read Alec’s assault on Tess as “taking sexual possession” of her (Michie 157). Elsie Michie’s essay on sexual dominance focuses on the aesthetic significance of Alec’s domination over his horse and his domination over Tess. The essay is problematic in its interpretation because it displaces domination from the cultural to the imaginary; it ignores the reality of sexual domination, which is sexual assault, as a current cultural problem and a cultural problem that existed during the Victorian era. Because Tess is represented as feminine, Michie reads Tess’s experience as a normal interaction between men and women. She writes that Alec’s “relation to the animal he owns and rides symbolizes the relation he seeks with the woman he desires” (158). Michie’s interpretation acknowledges that the relation Alec desires both with animals and with Tess is domination, but she does not mention the mutual historical domestication and degradation of women and animals; she also does not mention how domination is inherently violent and violence upholds patriarchal systems of oppression. Michie calls Alec’s assault on Tess both a “sexual possession” and a “sexual pursuit” (157, 159). By using euphemisms to refer to Alec’s masculine act domination, Michie normalizes aggressive masculine behavior and belittles violence as an act of degradation. She also naturalizes masculine aggression when she describes Alec’s behavior as a “struggle to control or manage a set of unruly emotions, what we might call the animal passions: sexual desire, aggression, fear, anger” (Michie 147). However, masculine expressions of violence uphold patriarchy; they are not a manifestation of humans’ animalistic qualities. In Carol J. Adams’s essay “Woman-Battering and Harm to Animalsshewrites, “When a man hits a woman, he has not lost control—he achieves and maintains control…[H]e is reminding the woman of her subordinate status in the world” (57). Male abuse against women is not about the male’s instinctual violent urges: it is an expression of masculine control achieved by the abuser through violence. Masculinity as violent is a myth used to perpetuate patriarchal ideology and subordinate all that is feminine.

The Role of Nonhuman Animals in the Degradation of Women

While female bodies in Tess of the d’Urbervilles are animalized to show their inferiority, animal bodies in the novel are feminized to show theirs. The parallel between animals and women in the novel emphasizes their mutual degradation based on speciesist and misogynist ideologies, which have contributed to the construction of rape culture. Speciesism and sexism are interdependent because they both feminize fertility and rely on the exploitation of the feminized body. Just like sexism justifies the abuse of women, Speciesism has justified the abuse of animals based on their presumed inferiority. Language has historically connected the degradation of women and animals. In Joan Dunayer’s essay “Sexist Words, Speciesist Roots” she gives us insight into the linguistic relationship between the oppression of women and the oppression of animals. Language patterns prove very significant when regarding Tess as an example in the connection between the historical violation of animal bodies and female bodies. Dunayer focuses on how the resources that we get from exploiting animal bodies (i.e. milk and eggs) come from the exploitation and violation of that body as a fertile body. Dunayer states, “The dairy cow is exploited as [a] female body. Since the cow’s exploitation focuses on her uniquely female capacities to produce milk and ‘replacement’ offspring, it readily evokes thoughts of femaleness more generally” (13).

In Tess of the d’Urbervilles, blood imagery and milk imagery connects female and animal bodies by emphasizing their fertility. Hardy’s language reveals patterns that commonly link together women and animals to perpetually remind the reader that they are both fertile bodies. The agricultural usefulness of milk reflects the usefulness of dominating female bodies to enforce masculine superiority. After Tess leaves home to find work after the death of her child, she arrives at the dairy farm just at the “announcement of milking-time,” making her arrival synonymous with the arrival of the cows’ milk (82). As the cows get called in Tess “followed slowly in their rear,” showing Tess’s behavior to be virtually identical to that of a cow. Hardy describes the cows with a particular emphasis on their udders: their “large-veined udders hung ponderous as sandbags,” mirroring both the physical burden of female breasts and the physical appearance of breasts that are being used to nourish life (83). As the cows wait in the field, their milk “oozed forth and fell in drops to the ground” (83). The image particularly targets Tess as her own breast milk is wasted as a result of her infant’s death. The process dairy cows endure mirrors Tess’s experience: she is physically violated, impregnated, put in isolation, and then separated from her infant. Both situations value the object solely based on their services to the dominator.

Aggression towards feminized bodies is romanticized in Hardy’s representation of courtship. Not only is Angel and Tess’s courtship represented as synonymous with dairy work, but the sexual desire of the other women also reiterates the equation of female sexuality to fertility. As Tess and the dairymaids try to fall asleep after a charged interaction with Angel on their way to church, their movements echo the “cheese-wring dripp[ing] monotonously downstairs” (115). Dripping suggests moistness, like sweat or vaginal secretions, and monotonous implies a mechanical process that requires repetitiveness. Female sexuality is directly aligned with milk undergoing a transformative process into cheese or butter, implying that female arousal requires outside manipulation in order to occur. Their sexuality is dormant until triggered by male attention. As female sexuality is manipulated to better suit men, milk is manipulated to better fit the consumer. Both cow and woman are considered passive and submissive. As Angel tries to convince Tess to marry him he “persistently wooed her in undertones like that of purling milk” (142). His role in courtship is dynamic and persistent, while she is the milk: passive and undergoing an artificial process. He continues to woo her in the presence of dairy products: “at the cow’s side, at skimmings, at butter-makings, [and] at cheese-makings” (142). Their courtship is directly dependent on their interactions in the dairy farm and resembles the artificial manipulation of butter-making and cheese-making. The usefulness of milk is representative of the usefulness of Tess’s sexuality: only truly useful once it has undergone a transformative process. Both Tess and the cows must be captured and tamed in order to reap the usefulness of their bodies. Angel must convince Tess to marry him by courting her, rather than respecting her autonomy exercised in saying no. The continuous violation of Tess’s corporeal autonomy by Angel, based on the usefulness of her fertility to him, is done to enforce masculine dominance. As Angel pursues his courtship of Tess, he lustfully watches her milk a cow. Tess and the cow move together in a “rhythmic pulsation…as if they were obeying a reflex stimulus, like a beating heart” (117). Tess is collecting the cow’s milk, a symbol of their shared fertility. The woman and the animal work together to a rhythm only they can hear; Tess and the cow are connected by the image of a beating heart pumping blood throughout their bodies. Their movement is described as a “reflex,” indicating the naturalness of their unconscious response to the movement of blood. There is no differentiation between Tess’s body and the cow’s, just as there is no differentiation between each female body. The women and the cows possess the same heart, the same body, and, therefore, the same value.

Tess of the d’Urbervilles shows how the feminized body is hunted in order to uphold masculine superiority, whether the target is a woman or a bird. Victorian culture treated women and animals as if their existence was only meant for the satisfaction of the whims of masculine aggression. We see this masculine lust for domination when Tess encounters the wounded pheasants that have been shot by hunters. Tess remembers these types of men from her “girlhood” which genders Tess’s past (212). This shows her unique interpretation of hunting as a distinctly masculine sport, separate from the feminine sector. The hunters “peer through bushes,” categorizing their behavior as sneaky but deliberately phallic since they “point their guns” from hidden positions (212). The hunters have a “bloodthirsty light in their eyes,” which attributes violent characteristics to them that can be physically seen (212). The lust for blood proves especially significant, as blood is associated with femininity. Tess remembers being reassured that these men are “in fact, actually quite civil” (212). The redundancy of the language implies a mocking tone, claiming that these violent men are truly just appropriate members of society “save certain weeks of autumn and winter” when they temporarily giving into their violent impulses. However, the specific female quality of blood, and the continuous alignment of women to nature, makes it impossible to separate the seasonal hunting of pheasants from the continuous lustful hunting of women. These hunters run “amuck”—with a vicious craving for blood—and make it “their purpose to destroy life” (212). These men are savage and wild, not concerned with the sanctity of life. Much like these women who have been forced into socially constructed gender roles, these pheasants are forced to survive in a foreign environment, “brought into being by artificial means” for the only reason of satisfying male lust for dominance (212). Social gender roles only serve and benefit men, much like the pheasant hunt only caters to the desires of men. The passage ends with the hunters attacking “nature’s teeming family” (212). Again Hardy draws upon fertility imagery in order to emphasize the reproductive qualities of nature. Not only is nature “teeming”—full of reproductive potential—but also a “family” which connects natural qualities to domestic qualities. The desire to destroy nature in order to prove socially constructed characteristics of masculinity demonstrates the relationship between the dominance of nature and the dominance of women; the men must enforce gender roles through violence in order to keep women in their place of inferiority. The inseparability of animal bodies and female bodies in the novel solidifies the patriarchal justification of violence towards women as a means of control.

In modern cultures, hunting still represents the violent expression of masculinity as conveyed in Tess of the d’Urbervilles. Hunting, being a distinctly masculine sport both now and then, is depicted as a means of showing power and masculinity. In Marti Kheel’s essay “License to Kill” she discusses the ways in which male hunters justify their violence by “directing…[their] aggressive drive, toward an acceptable target [the animal]” (91). Often the male attraction to hunting is justified by their primeval, pre-society state, their “natural” desire to be violent. Masculinity in hunting is often “depicted as a return to an animal existence whereby one no longer feels in control” (Kheel 89). This is a common trope used in patriarchal ideology to justify masculine violence. On the contrary, hunting actually requires precise physical and mental control in order to achieve the kill, just as masculine violence against feminine bodies shows an exercising of control. The hunter must stalk the prey, take his time to take aim, and attack the target at the opportune moment. This is what both Angel and Alec do to Tess: they treat her as someone would treat their animal prey by pursuing her ruthlessly until she gives into their demands; the masculine body is in control. Much like sexual assault, hunting is about power. Hunting symbolizes predatory, masculine actions against feminine bodies. Both hunting and rape work to subordinate women and strengthen masculine supremacy.

Conclusion: Ending Violence towards Feminine Bodies

I reject the reading of feminine as inferior. Femininity as fertile represents strength, not weakness. The Victorian scientific reading of fertility as inferior is oxymoronic as men cannot bear children, one of the most grueling physical processes a human body can endure. A woman cannot be physically inferior when her body withstands, and often survives, the most difficult natural labor of all. However, this type of labor isn’t considered superior because fertility implies femininity and historically femininity has always been treated as inferior. Fairfax Bryne’s essay “Women and Their Sphere,” which was published in a Victorian periodical in 1888, shows the commonly accepted opposition of masculinity and femininity that is still present today. Masculinity represented destruction of life and femininity represented fertility: “The man’s very distinctive share…is still to destroy life…the woman’s distinctive share…is to continue and nourish life” (Bryne 67).

Tess of the d’Urbervilles gives us a glimpse into the historical mutual degradation of women and animals but these patriarchal ideologies about femininity extend outside the novel and into our modern culture. My analysis does not just apply to the degradation of women and animals but the degradation of all marginalized groups of people. Further analysis would show that nearly all marginalized groups share their historical oppression with animals. My feminism is intersectional and I feel that the most overlooked group of marginalized beings in intersectional analysis has been animals. I agree with the mission statement of Animals and Women that“no one creature will be free until we are all free—from abuse, degradation, exploitation, pollution, and commercialization. Women and animals share these oppressions historically, and until the mentality of domination is ended in all its forms, these afflictions will continue” (3). The rights of animals are crucial to the rights of women. Liberation for women requires liberation for animals; to ignore their plight is to ignore our plight. The rape culture that Hardy lived in, and that he represented in Tess of the d’Urbervilles, and the rape culture that we continue to live in, is directly supported by the commercialized exploitation of animal bodies. We must reject the naturalization of the masculine/feminine binary and we must radically reconstruct expressions of gender. In order to end the rape culture that subjects millions of people to horrific violence we must end violence against all feminized bodies.
















Works Cited

Adams, Carol J. “Woman-Battering and Harm to Animals.” Animals and Women: Feminist Theoretical Explorations. Eds. Carol J. Adams and Josephine Donovan. Durham, NC: Duke University Press, 1995. 55-84. Print.

Adams, Carol J. and Josephine Donovan, eds. Introduction. Animals and Women: Feminist Theoretical Explorations. Durham, NC: Duke University Press, 1995. Print.

Burrows, George. Commentaries on the Causes, Forms, Symptoms, and Treatment, Moral and

Medical, of Insanity. London: Thomas and George Underwood, 1828. 146-48. Print.

Byrne, Fairfax E. "Women and Their Sphere." Our Corner 11 (1888): 65-73. ProQuest. Web. 5 Dec. 2014.

Conly, Sarah. “Seduction, Rape, and Coercion.” Ethics 115. Chicago, IL: University of Chicago Press, 2005. 96–121. Print.

Danahay, Martin A. and Deborah Denenholz, eds. “Introduction.” Victorian Animal Dreams: Representations of Animals in Victorian Literature and Culture. Burlington: Ashgate, 2007. 1-10. Print.

Darwin, Charles. The Descent of Man (1871) Darwin 3rd ed. Ed. Phillip Appleman. New York: Norton, 2001. 230-43. Print.

Dunayer, Joan. “Sexist Words, Speciesist Roots.” Animals and Women: Feminist Theoretical Explorations. Eds. Carol J. Adams and Josephine Donovan. Durham, NC: Duke University Press, 1995. 11-31. Print.

"The Family Life of Animals." The Review of Reviews (1897): 361. ProQuest. Web. 5 Dec. 2014.

Hardy, Thomas. Tess of the d’Urbervilles. Ed. Scott Elledge. New York: W. W. Norton & Company, 1991. Print.

Kheel, Marti. “License to Kill: An Ecofeminist Critique of Hunters’ Discourse.” Animals and Women: Feminist Theoretical Explorations. Eds. Carol J. Adams and Josephine Donovan. Durham, NC: Duke University Press, 1995. 85-125. Print.

Locock, Charles. The Cyclopedia of Practical Medicine: Comprising the Nature and Treatment of Diseases, Materia Medica and Therapeutics, Medical Jurisprudence, 4 vols. Eds. John Forbes, Alexander Tweedle, and John Conolly. London: Sherwood, Gilbert and Piper, 1833-5: iii, 110-12. Print.

Michie, Elsie B. “Horses and Sexual/Social Dominance.” Victorian Animal Dreams: Representations of Animals in Victorian Literature and Culture. Eds. Martin A. Danahay and Deborah Denenholz. Burlington: Ashgate, 2007. 145-165. Print.

"rape, n.3." OED Online. Oxford University Press, December 2014. Web. 17 December 2014.

Rooney, Ellen. “‘A Little More than Persuading’: Tess and the Subject of Sexual Violence.’” Rape and Representation. Eds. Lynn A. Higgins and Brenda R. Silver. New York: Columbia University Press, 1991. 87-114. Print.

"seduction, n." OED Online. Oxford University Press, December 2014. Web. 17 December

2014.

Williams, Melanie. “ ‘Is Alec a Rapist?’ Cultural Connotations of ‘Rape’ and ‘Seduction.’ A Reply to Professor John Sutherland.” Feminist Legal Studies 7. Dordrecht, The Netherlands: Kluwer Academic Publishers, 1999. 299-316. Print.





How do you know when it humps humans that means it wants them to engage in sex acts? Did you ask your dog and then it told you? If not, I know you are mistaken about what your dog wants.
I have no conviction to the points in the OP (prostituion, for example). That was a successful post made by someone else that I used as a devil's advocate to begin discussion.

How do I know that a dog humping means that it wants to engage in a sex act? Because it IS performing the sex act to begin with. That is literally how dogs have sex.

As far as the ethics argument goes: I am not denying that there is an ethical issue. However, can we really say that having 'unconsencual' sex with an animal (or more commonly, the animal having sex with you) is more unethical than standard mass-farming or skinning then alive for fur? Why is sex such a taboo thing? Because it's a hot topic for humans? The only reason why there is an "it's on us" push instead of a "stop skinning humans" push is because the later is universally considered unethical (the same can be said about caging them improporly, testing chemicals or drugs on them nonconsensually, or just killing them in general). We can't just take hot issues from the human bubble and apply them to an entirely different world.

It's worth noting that in every case of bestiality I've seen, the desire was for the animal to penetrate the human. That is what my reasoning is based off of (if someone knows otherwise, please correct me!)
 
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Adamant Zoroark

catchy catchphrase
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I wasn't actually aware that this was a discussion.

Informed consent is a thing and animals can't give it, as others have said - which is basically the biggest point against bestiality. I'm going to talk about point 3 and why it's not a really good pro-bestiality argument.

Why would cutting down on prostitution be considered a valid argument for bestiality? If we're really concerned with safety problems with prostitution, then I think the discussion should be about legalizing and regulating prostitution because that might actually make prostitution safer and drive out sex trafficking - similar to criminalization of drugs, you could argue that the unsafe nature of prostitution is a result of criminalizing it. Point is, I don't think we should be discussing bestiality as an alternative to prostitution when we can just talk about making prostitution safer for both prostitutes and clients.
 

tehy

Banned deucer.
as a vegetarian, i have the moral high ground here

but seriously, yeah, why is it worse to be raped than killed? and that presupposes that the animal doesn't want it, which won't *always* be the case though it usually will be. mikedawg's right that this could have potential benefits as well, though the downsides of animal disease transmission should be taken care of.

also:

i couldn't read that tldr mass myzo posted, but i skimmed and this caught my attention:

“[Alec] flatters her, he impresses her with a show of wealth, he gives help to her family to win her gratitude, and he reacts with irritation and indignation when she nonetheless continues to repulse his advances, causing her to feel shame at her own ingratitude” (Conly 96). Conly reflects rape culture ideology that produces the belief that if a man provides a woman with material things that the women, in return, is obliged to engage in sexual acts with him.

good point, if a human being gives you something, it's obviously abnormal to have the desire to repay him... that's rape culture for ya

as to why it's her body-because she has no other means of repaying him and they both know it's what he's after.

that's not to say that she isn't allowed to say no or should be shamed if she does, just that it's not -rape culture- if she feels guilty.

boo: consumption in most cultures is unnecessary. you can eat vegetarian options, like I do. only when you need to hunt for food is it justified

what's interesting is studies showing that harvesting of certain kinds of crops kill a lot of small animals and is thus also very cruel. that really needs more looking into, though it doesn't matter to me personally as i'm not in it for the cruelty (just raised this way).

also, what about hunting for sport?

adamant zoroark: his point was that bestiality is possibly beneficial to legalize, not that we need to attack prostitution in general

personally i am fine with bestiality, as long as you are not doing it with a beast of the same gender, as that would be unnatural and wicked !
 

shaian

IM ME, I DO ME, AND I CHILL.
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3. It would cut down on prostitution and human trafficking.
I don't have the statistics on how many people would rather have sex with animals than with people, (partly because very few people would admit to finding a sheep's butt sexier than that of a woman and also because nobody cares to find out), but the number is than 1. Every person who sleeps with animals as opposed to sex workers cuts down on the sex industry's profits, which means fewer people will be kidnapped from foreign countries to do dirty deeds for clients. This may give birth to a new industry in which people buy "comfort animals," but hey, as I pointed out earlier, is it really any worse than slitting an animal's throat [2] and wearing its skin [3]?
something tells me that people having sex with animals and people engaging in sex with prostitutes has very, very little overlap.

edit: well that's a sentence i never thought i would type out
 

Myzozoa

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As far as the ethics argument goes: I am not denying that there is an ethical issue. However, can we really say that having 'unconsencual' sex with an animal (or more commonly, the animal having sex with you) is more unethical than standard mass-farming or skinning then alive for fur? Why is sex such a taboo thing? Because it's a hot topic for humans? The only reason why there is an "it's on us" push instead of a "stop skinning humans" push is because the later is universally considered unethical (the same can be said about caging them improporly, testing chemicals or drugs on them nonconsensually, or just killing them in general). We can't just take hot issues from the human bubble and apply them to an entirely different world.

)
I have been a vegetarian since I was 10, can't afford fur anyway, and I never argued that what 'we' (obviously you didn't read the article i linked by vinciane despret in which the first part is abotu how there is no 'we', if you're a shitty person, vis-a-vis your ethical beliefs, thats on you sorry) do to animals is fine, and it's entirely irrelevant to the implicit claim that rape is a lesser moral transgression than murder, which is absolutely unfounded and I am confident that rape is at a minimum equally as wrong as murder. Further, rape was (up until recently) and is a capital crime in many places, just like criminal murder. Further, murderers are/have been ethically justified in a literally uncountable number of instances (historically and practically speaking) where as it would be hard to point to any case, ever, of rapist that was ethically justified. It is also unclear that you understand what rape does to the survivor psychologically, maybe the statistics that 1/3 women are or will be rape survivors only resonates as a statistic. Unfortunately, I'm unaware of the statistics on how many people are raped multiple times (who would think that lightening could strike the same person twice, or three times, and each time in a different place) over the course of their life, but I've witnessed how it affects the people I know who have had that misfortune befall them and I would certainly describe it as 'self-destroying'. A body survives but the person that comes after isn't the same person and they carry that with them through the world. If we treat animals so badly already I doubt we'd do any better when it comes to having sex with them so yah I really have no interest in legislation that makes vulnerable populations more vulnerable.


I can absolutely take 'hot issues' (please spare me your condescension, these are not just hot button issues and its pretty disgusting how you phrased it like that) from the 'world of' persons and apply them to situations in which personhood/agency is a relevant concept, which I have demonstrated that it is in this case. the burden of proof is for you to show why it is irrelevant here, then. It's really not hard to figure out, if you can't ask them or they can't answer or there is relevant power imbalance, they can't consent.

you can say you're 'playing devils advocate', but idc. i call people who affirm shitty actions "shitty" regardless of the intentions they claim. speaking out about these things in this way is shitty of you, and ignorance (which is all that you demonstrate by playing devil's advocate) is not really much of an excuse, because if you actually cared you wouldn't post and then defend an unconscionable OP and would instead maybe do some research for yourself about these things instead of spreading nonsensical garbage around before you've taken the time to say anything worthwhile for yourself). it sucks to suck.

An animal is incapable of providing informed consent. To this extent, having sex with animals is no different than having sex with children, as they are not capable of communicating about sex.

I don't know why you don't think there's no ethical or moral issue, since you're basically raping life. I'd argue that consumption is at least necessary and spares the dignity of the animal.
/thread
 
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MikeDawg

Banned deucer.
I have been a vegetarian since I was 10, can't afford fur anyway, and I never argued that what 'we' (obviously you didn't read the article i linked by vinciane despret in which the first part is abotu how there is no 'we', if you're a shitty person, vis-a-vis your ethical beliefs, thats on you sorry) do to animals is fine, and it's entirely irrelevant to the implicit claim that rape is a lesser moral transgression than murder, which is absolutely unfounded and I am confident that rape is at a minimum equally as wrong as murder. Further, rape was (up until recently) and is a capital crime in many places, just like criminal murder. Further, murderers are/have been ethically justified in a literally uncountable number of instances (historically and practically speaking) where as it would be hard to point to any case, ever, of rapist that was ethically justified. It is also unclear that you understand what rape does to the survivor psychologically, maybe the statistics that 1/3 women are or will be rape survivors only resonates as a statistic. Unfortunately, I'm unaware of the statistics on how many people are raped multiple times (who would think that lightening could strike the same person twice, or three times, and each time in a different place) over the course of their life, but I've how it affects the people I know who have had that misfortune befall them and I would certainly describe it as 'self-destroying'. A body survives but the person that comes after isn't the same person and they carry that with them through the world.


I can absolutely take 'hot button issues' (please spare me your condescension, these are not just hot button issues and its pretty disgusting how you phrased it like that) from the 'world of' persons and apply them to situations in which personhood/agency is a relevant condition, which I have demonstrated that it is in this case.

you can say you're 'playing devils advocate', but idc. i call people who affirm shitty actions "shitty" regardless of the intentions they claim. speaking out about these things in unethical ways makes you a shitty person, and ignorance (which is all that you demonstrate by playing devil's advocate) is not excuse, because if you actually cared you wouldn't post and then defend an unconscionable OP and would instead maybe do some research for yourself about these things instead of spreading shit around before you've taken the time to say anything worthwhile). yah you suck, sorry.


/thread
Preface: I did not mean to seem condescending anywhere in the post. I was posting from my phone in the car, and 'hot issues', for example, was a 'for lack of a better phrase' moment. I'm sorry if it came across as otherwise!

Also, I do believe that bestiality should be legal (to an extent); I am not just playing devil's advocate (though I don't agree with most of the OP).

Regarding you being pro-animal: a sincere good for you! I concede that generalizing like that wasn't great logic. However, my reason for doing so to begin with is that the majority of the people who have offered their input to me about the matter had no interest in animal rights whatsoever, and they actively supported unethical industries, but they were for some reason stuck on two points: "ew, gross" and "it's non consensual". That was directed at that group.

Where I really struggle is your rape spheal. I'm fully aware that rape is very bad. I'm fully aware of everything that you mentioned. I'm entirely a feminist/whatever the term is now (though I'm not entirely sure how this topic managed to veer off into feminism to begin with).

But you can't seriously think that all of that applies to dogs and horses, can you? Sure, I don't know exactly how rape affects the emotional state of a dog, but I can say with confidence that it is far more likely that the effect is negligible as opposed to being as taxing as it is on humans. Thinking that a dog being potentially subjected to 'non-consensual' sex is "self-destroying" (especially relative to humans) is outright dumb.

In fact, rape is incredibly common in the animal world, but it isn't called rape, because it lacks the entire 'rape-y' aspect of it (with rape-y referring to emotional consequences and the like). Multiple species (like dolphins!) engage in sexual activity for fun. Their 'signals' can indeed be read as consenting. Many species engage in sexual activity (non-consensual and usually homosexual) to prove dominance. Do they conclude that the literal top dog is now the figurative top dog? Yes. Is the literal bottom dog now scarred for life? Absolutely not... it's part of their natural lifestyle, and it has been forever.

So please, tell me how "A body survives but the person that comes after isn't the same person and they carry that with them through the world" can be applied to a dog and how I'm such a shitty individual for thinking otherwise. Do you sincerely believe that? From what I gather, science doesn't. Non-consensual sex may as well be a hot-button topic given that the mention of it elicits an immediate "RAPE IS BAD YOU ARE SHIT" reaction with no thought or consideration of context. I mean, come on... you just wrote me an entire unprovoked paragraph about human women being raped.


Also, I did indeed skip your tl;dr senior thesis, because it is completely irrelevant to getting fucked by a dog lol
 
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Myzozoa

to find better ways to say what nobody says
is a Top Tiering Contributor Alumnusis a Past WCoP Champion
Science doesn't because science doesn't aim to treat animals as subjects, i.e persons, but I maintain that animals can be as persons in certain conditions, just as humans are only as persons in certain conditions (this is why there is the term depersonalization, related to dehumanization which is the normative concept). Indeed, I cannot remember any study of the psychological effects of rape on animals. This is because if anyone tried to study this you would accuse them of being unscientific or anthropocentric (as was, again, pointed out in the link you didn't read). Consent is not consent if it is derived under conditions that are coercive, thus there is indeed rape in the animal world and it is rape and it is still wrong, so I still don't see what your point is. In addition all the arguments for legislation that have been brought up have been destroyed (because they make literally no sense, i.e, legislating on this seems like it produces zero positive outcomes, because there is actually a positive and good reason to punish people for having sex with animals in MANY instances and there is no causal mechanism by which legislation provides the benefits you claim that it would) so unless you have a fresh perspective on that all you're doing for me is grossing me out.

If isn't obvious, ive been cutting of biological/evolutionary arguments from the very beginning of my replies.
 
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MikeDawg

Banned deucer.
Science doesn't because science doesn't aim to treat animals as subjects, i.e persons, but I maintain that animals can be as persons in certain conditions, just as humans are only as persons in certain conditions (this is why there is the term depersonalization, related to dehumanization which is the normative concept). Indeed, I cannot remember any study of the psychological effects of rape on animals. This is because if anyone tried to study this you would accuse them of being unscientific or anthropocentric (as was again, pointed out in the link you didn't read) Consent is not consent if it is derived under conditions that are coercive, thus there is indeed rape in the animal world and it is rape and it is still wrong, so I still don't see what your point is. In addition all the arguments for legislation that have been brought up have been destroyed (because they make literally no sense, i.e, legislating on this seems like it produces zero positive outcomes, because there is actually a positive and good reason to punish people for having sex with animals in MANY instances and there is no causal mechanism by which legislation provides the benefits you claim that it would) so unless you have a fresh perspective on that all you're doing for me is grossing me out.
Science doesn't, as in science acknowledges that non-consensual sex exists literally everywhere in the animal world, and it isn't rape. Are you really about to outright preach that, ideally, every species of animal should enact some way to abolish non-consensual sex. Seriously? If that is the case, then I assume the same should be done for cannibalism. Murder as well.

Animals aren't people. We are different because of our brains. Rape, murder... these are ONLY bad things in the human world because of the fact that we are more evolved. Sure, every dog is a special snowflake individual, but that still has nothing to do with bestiality lol We aren't talking an animal sex-trade here.

Also, given that you don't know me in the slightest, "you would accuse them of being unscientific or anthropocentric" is uncalled for. If a study came out saying that sex with animals is bad, then I would fully concede my argument. However, I would think that it is universally far more realistic to believe that animals raping animals has negligible emotional effects.

Consent is not consent if it is derived under conditions that are coercive, thus there is indeed rape in the animal world and it is rape and it is still wrong, so I still don't see what your point is
At no point ever did I say that the animal sex was consenting (aside from dolphins which was far more an obvious sidenote than anything else. in fact, i used the word rape a few times). So this is irrelevant to begin with.

Again, you went:

Nonconsensual sex -> rape -> bad -> wrong -> Bad -> BAD -> UR SHIT

without any consideration of... anything (particularly context and reasoning). Again, you're making rape into a buzz word.

I never claimed anything about legislation (as per the bolded "not my views" at the top of the post. may as well rewrite the op anyway). And you are forgetting the positive outcome of letting people do what they please. What does legislating sodomy do for the world? Hm... If there was no positive outcome to NOT legislating, then we could have a much less free country with no complaint.


All you have done is talk about 1) human feminism 2) how I'm <insert insult> and 3) how the entire animal world is crumbling to rape and mysogony.
 
Preface: I have no interest in beastiality. I do, however, wonder why it isn't legal (or rather, why it comes with such an 'ew gross why would that ever be legal' reaction).
  1. Non-consensual sex is everywhere in the animal world. It exists in almost every specie. Why is it suddenly 'rape' now?
  2. Why is beastiality so immoral when we are skinning animals alive, testing chemicals on them, and eating them? Their living conditions aren't particularly top-notch to begin with.
  3. Why does the government get to regulate this but not other sex-related things? Sodomy? Legalities of revealing STDs?
  4. Can we really say that there is no way to tell consent? Lots of species engage in sex for fun. If you dog is literally humping you, dick out, is that not consenting enough?
  5. To what extent is legalization reasonable?
1. Animals don't have conscious and morals and all that extra stuff higher intelligence and cumulative understanding over thousands of years have given us. So yeah the no consent thing still applies unless you want to drag us down to their level in which case we ought to be legalizing species to species rape and sexulization of young ones first.

2. Two wrongs doesn't make a right. You have ppl who skin animals alive, heck boil them alive throw their assess into jail.

3. Well it really is about which government we are talking about here, there are different laws and different regulations in about every country, heck every state if you want.

4. Consent to what? The dog and the rest of the animal kingdom operate on pure instincts, he's humping you because he has this sudden sexual urge that he wants out, he didn't target your leg, it just happened to be there, and once that urge is out he's back to pursuing another instinct. What is he consenting when he humps you when you conveniently happen to be nearby? Is he giving he permission to tap that ass? Mutual masturbation? Anything?

5. Non. Shoot at first sight.
 

MikeDawg

Banned deucer.
I'm tempted to believe that animals can indeed say no (quite violently, usually). They are simple. If they like something then they will do it. If they don't, they will not. As such, using force after being told no makes it actually non-consensual (very similar to humans. No means no. It's not a crime to ask for sex. It is to use force to get it after being told no. Realistically, a 100 pound woman has just as much 'say' in diverting a significantly stronger rapist as an animal does. The harm, perhaps, is that an animal can't reach out for help). Is the fact that we have some dirty little secret (that we are getting sexual pleasure) that they don't know about even relevant? Would they realistically care? What is such a meaningful thing to us may not even matter in the realm of 'breathe, sex, eat, reproduce', mostly because the concept of non-consensual sex is legitimately complicated (else we wouldn't be the only ones to condemn it).
 
I just like how two of your "arguments" (and I'm using that term as loosely as I can) are basically:

"Hey, we already treat animals badly, so lets treat them even worse by fucking them!"

and

"Oh man, this dog just started humping my leg, he totally wants me to fuck him in the ass!"

Yeah, I'm not going to give this topic a serious thought because it doesn't deserve a serious thought. Bestiality is wrong, plain and simple.
 

tehy

Banned deucer.
I just like how two of your "arguments" (and I'm using that term as loosely as I can) are basically:

"Hey, we already treat animals badly, so lets treat them even worse by fucking them!"

and

"Oh man, this dog just started humping my leg, he totally wants me to fuck him in the ass!"

Yeah, I'm not going to give this topic a serious thought because it doesn't deserve a serious thought. Bestiality is wrong, plain and simple.
i just like how you got both arguments wrong and then said you wouldn't take the topic seriously...then fuck off back to where you came from, please, we don't need strawmen here

Dracoyoshi:

point number 2 is massively relevant. You can already do worse things to animals, arguably for less reason. So why can you kill, but not rape ?

if anything the best justification is animal cruelty laws, but even those are kind of inconsistent as compared to, say, hunting for sport, which is still ok
 

TheValkyries

proudly reppin' 2 superbowl wins since DEFLATEGATE
Solidarity to Myzozoa who is putting up with this bullshit out of what has to be boredom or an immense need to be masochistic.
 
It should be noted that animals are used as subjects to avoid dangers to humans. While it seems arbitrary to endorse testing but not bestiality, I believe that there's a substantial difference in testing in the interests of damage control, and straight up putting your pleasure over the dignity of life.

Anthropocentrism doesn't necessarily mean humans should just do whatever the fuck they want. Rather, I see it as prioritizing the interests of our species as a collective over that of other species. Just thought I'd also put that out there.

Edit: there isn't any reason to suggest that we can survive without the consumption of meat. While I recognize our capability to synthesize certain B vitamins that aren't found in vegetarian diets, that isn't always feasible for the impoverished. Meat had a very handy collection of protein, fats, vitamins, and nutrients in one package. Compare that to spreading it over multiple grains/ vegetables/ fruits and you're going to be paying a lot more.
 
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tehy

Banned deucer.
It should be noted that animals are used as subjects to avoid dangers to humans. While it seems arbitrary to endorse testing but not bestiality, I believe that there's a substantial difference in testing in the interests of damage control, and straight up putting your pleasure over the dignity of life.

Anthropocentrism doesn't necessarily mean humans should just do whatever the fuck they want. Rather, I see it as prioritizing the interests of our species as a collective over that of other species. Just thought I'd also put that out there.

Edit: there isn't any reason to suggest that we can survive without the consumption of meat. While I recognize our capability to synthesize certain B vitamins that aren't found in vegetarian diets, that isn't always feasible for the impoverished. Meat had a very handy collection of protein, fats, vitamins, and nutrients in one package. Compare that to spreading it over multiple grains/ vegetables/ fruits and you're going to be paying a lot more.
good thing we have strict laws in our society preventing people above a certain income line from eating meat

otherwise your point would be invalid

solidarity to mikedawg for putting up with posts like valk's
 

MikeDawg

Banned deucer.
A few things:

We define 'cunt' as a vagina. Does that hold the same connotation in America vs somewhere like the UK? Absolutely not, because those are two different cultures. Why does rape have to have the same connotation in the animal world as it does in the human world? It's naive to make that generalization.


I feel like a lot of these 'arguments' (lulz bestiality is gross /endthread) have been historically applied to lots of things... Interracial sex, gay marriage, showing your ankles in public, anal sex. Impulse seems to take the place of reason when dealing with topics outside of the comfort zone. Just an observation.

Again, non-consensual sex is nothing but a buzzword at this point. Perhaps open your mind (just a little lol. It's pretty much shut) to the fact that other cultures exist. This is true about humans, and it is most definitely true about different species.

Perhaps inform yourselves as well? Bestiality isn't about using animals as sex toys. It's about having a legitimate intimacy with one.
 
Again, non-consensual sex is nothing but a buzzword at this point. Perhaps open your mind (just a little lol. It's pretty much shut) to the fact that other cultures exist. This is true about humans, and it is most definitely true about different species.

Perhaps inform yourselves as well? Bestiality isn't about using animals as sex toys. It's about having a legitimate intimacy with one.
do you realize how awful it is to resist making this my signature?

edit: fuck it

good thing we have strict laws in our society preventing people above a certain income line from eating meat

otherwise your point would be invalid
that's amazing reasoning.
 
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