Correction: Oct. 25, 2020
6 hours ago
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Milk is one of the most ubiquitous and heavily regulated substances on the planet – and perhaps one of the most contested. It is tied closely to notions of purity, health, and femininity, and is seen as so central to human civilization that our own galaxy – the Milky Way – is named after it. But despite its wholesome reputation, milk has long had a sinister side, being bound up with the exploitation of the (human and nonhuman) bodies it comes from and being a symbol of and tool for white dominance and superiority. The word itself, in verb form, means “to exploit.” It is also a word at the center of a decades-old, multinational battle taking place in courthouses, the halls of congress, on social media, and in the streets.The crux of arguably the dumbest research paper that Breitbart News has covered is Gambert’s argument in favor of a widespread adoption of “mylk,” a plant milk replacement that she argues has the potential to cure society’s issues with bigotry and exploitation of animals.
“Speak to your cow as you would a lady.” So went a popular motto among Wisconsin dairy farmers in the late 19th and early 20th centuries. While seemingly benign at first glance, this motto is revealing for the ways in which the male-dominated dairy industry viewed both cows and human women: as fragile creatures requiring a particular way of being spoken to.
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