Saturday, January 06, 2007

Moosying Through Genders, Barbie's Jewish Roots, and Chicken Discrimination

I was moosying through Flickr photos today and found two things which made me smile: The first was Ricardo Martins' photos of the toilet signs in a science-fiction museum (in Seattle?): not merely symbols for men, women, and everything in-between, but a declaration that the ‘everything in-between’ are just not the ‘indescribable’ and temporary subjects in transition from male to female, as if being male and female is the desirable goal, but are states of being – recognised, stated and symbolised (and allowed to use the toilet facilities!!) – in their own right. I like it!

The second was a photo which lead to the link promoting a short-film I’ve never heard of, called the Tribe: about the history of the Jewish people and…. Barbie! Fabulous! Apparently the inventor of Barbie was a Jewish woman. I tried to see if some of the film is on YouTube, but I could only find the trailer, and you can see the trailer on the film’s homepage anyways… As possibly one of the most anti-women toys ever to have been created (… and with a woman as the creator…), could it be that it was subliminally anti-semitic too (by the same equation!!)??

(Yey! If this picture links properly then that's one new year's resolution completed already!! All that's left now is to rid the world of gender discrimination...!)


I also learnt today that sometimes being male absolutely sucks! The project hatched its first chicks at the beginning of the week: approximately 50,000 chicks! Half of them are male, and they are not needed! They do not lay eggs and only a very few are needed to fertilise the females, so… they were slaughtered! 25,000 male chicks suffocated in plastic bags! I know nothing about agriculture outside of this project, and I know nothing about animal welfare for farmyard livestock, but I’m guessing that this isn’t the practice in most developed countries…?? Poor chikidees!!

Having said that, it’s no life of riley for the female chicks either. They have reasonable time of it running fairly freely until they’re old enough to lay. Then they get rounded up and stuck in individual shoe-box size metal cages, where they lay eggs until they can lay no more… and then they get killed too! Let’s just say, these won’t be ‘free-range’ eggs these chickens are laying…!

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Armando Arabusto said...

any clue as to why they dont allow the chickens to mature and then eat them?? Seems like a waste of perfectly delicious meat.

jennifletzet said...

Hi Armando,
So I asked the 'Chicken-Guy' (I've no idea what you call a chicken 'expert'!) your question and his response involved references to weight ratio of the chickens compared to how much food they eat. But I think the basic gist of it is that these are a specific breed of chicken who produce thousands of eggs but never grow large enough to eat. So, for a development project on a budget, feeding and housing chickens that can't produce eggs, nor grow big enough to make much of a meal, is simply not cost effective and takes up a space that another female egg-laying chicken could be filling.

Armando Arabusto said...

ahhhh yes... it's a cost/benefit issue. that does make sense. Thank you for your excellent research!

Armando Arabusto said...

...and in regards to the recognition and acceptance of other forms of being, you might find this article interesting:

jennifletzet said...

Thank you for the article Armando! I've just read it now, and it's really, really interesting - I LOVE this kind of stuff! - but I want to think on it and read it again before giving a proper response...

...Also, regarding the chickens and other aspects of the livestock here, I feel, maybe unnecessarily, just for the record, that I should state that, essentially, I don't really have the flippants attitude towards what happens to them as I may come across. In some ways it's the opposite: I can see that what is happening isn't fair and, by western standards, is largely unacceptable. But it's a very difficult situation, since I'm not qualified to object without being able to suggest alternative approaches. And I'm also conscious that, in development, it's the people who have to come first, and so I have to believe that what is done is for their benefit and that sometimes this conflicts with what's beneficial to the animals.
But then again, that approach means that I have double-standards, since in the UK I would not take the same approach: I would be more likely to argue that it makes no difference whether it's beneficial or not to the human, the animal still has equal rights... Ergh! It's complicated...!!

thury said...

Ahhh - what a fresh breeze it is to read your blog Jenny! After being marinated in Black Death (yes that is the Icelandic vodka equivalent) and smoked pork for two weeks, nothing works better than a proper gender talk to get the brain started again. Thank you. And happy New Year!

jennifletzet said...

Thank you Thury! Smoked pork sounds good to me! There's been a distinct lack of tasty food around here! Happy New Year right-back-atchya, and it's been long-time-no-hear, so keep in touch, I miss you!