I finally watched Earthlings tonight. It was absolutely terrifying, horrifying, and sickening. In fact, those words don’t even come close to the absolutely devastated state in which this movie left me.
People ask, “Ashley, you’re a vegan, you already know that stuff. You’ve seen tons of these movies. Why would you watch something you know is going to be horrifying to you?” Because it’s my privilege not to. Privilege allows me to sit in comfort ignoring the institutionalized violence that I know is taking place. I have to watch this stuff because it’s real. IT’S REAL. Many of you ask me why I’m vegan, why I’m so staunchly anti-violence in all realms of life. Here’s why:
THIS IS REAL. I know from talking to many of you that you too know it’s real. How can we let it continue? We know this happens and we choose to ignore it because ignoring it relieves our cognitive dissonance and allows us to continue on in comfort. This isn’t a problem of awareness. We’re aware. So why is it that we still choose behaviors that cause the suffering of so many? Why are we complicit in the pain and suffering of so many others? Why are we okay with the violence?
We have to connect the dots. We have to see how violence in each realm of life manifests, supports, and allows violence in all realms of life. We know that extreme violence continues and has been institutionalized in the industries that produce our food, fashion, science, entertainment, and more. Yet we choose to behave in ways that feed it. We choose to throw our money into it. And we look the other way. Why?
As a professional, I work to eliminate the conditions that allow violence against women to occur. I consider what we do to nonhuman animals, everyday, thousands and thousands of times each day, as not only a manifestation of those conditions, but as the normalization of violence and lack of body autonomy in our culture that leads directly to sexual assault. The fact that I’m afraid to say that publicly means a lot.
You ask me why I am the way I am. This is why.
Watch Earthlings and understand me.
“Three primary life forces exist on this Earth: nature, animals, and humankind. We are the Earthlings. Make the connection.”