Episode 139 - Of Meat and Men: How Beef Became Synonymous with Settler-Colonial Domination

1:20:18
 
Share
 

Manage episode 296312796 series 1500148
By Citations Needed, Nima Shirazi, and Adam Johnson. Discovered by Player FM and our community — copyright is owned by the publisher, not Player FM, and audio is streamed directly from their servers. Hit the Subscribe button to track updates in Player FM, or paste the feed URL into other podcast apps.
"Beef. It’s what’s for dinner," the baritone voices of actors Robert Mitchum and Sam Elliott told us in the 1990s. "We’re not gonna let Joe Biden and Kamala Harris cut America’s meat!" cried Mike Pence during a speech in Iowa last year. "To meet the Biden Green New Deal targets, America has to, get this, America has to stop eating meat," lamented Donald Trump adviser Larry Kudlow on Fox Business. Repeatedly, we’re reminded that red meat is the lifeblood of American culture, a hallmark of masculine power. This association has lingered for well over a century. Starting in the late 1800s, as white settlers expropriated Indigenous land killing Native people and wildlife in pursuit of westward expansion across North America, the development and promotion of cattle ranching — and its product: meat — was purposefully imbued with the symbolism of dominance, aggression, and of course, manliness. There’s an associated animating force behind this messaging as well: the perception of waning masculinity in our settler-colonial society. Whether a reaction to the closure of the American West as a tameable frontier in the late 19th century or to the contemporary Right's imagined threats of "soy boys" and a U.S. military that has supposedly gone soft under liberal command, the need to affirm a cowboy sense of manliness, defined and expressed through violence and domination, continues to take the form of consuming meat. On this episode, we study the origins of the cultural link between meat eating and masculinity in settler-colonial North America; how this has persisted into the present day via right-wing charlatans like Jordan Peterson, Josh Hawley and Tucker Carlson who panic over the decline of masculinity; and the social and political costs of the maintenance and preservation of Western notions of manliness. Our guest is history professor and author Kristin Hoganson.

215 episodes