Case Study: Feministe Blog & Crush Video Discussion

My mother-in-law sent me a link about crush videos, small animal snuff films fetishized for sexual pleasure. I forwarded the link to Jill at Feministe, hoping the legal issues and pornography aspect would pique her interests (she's a feminist lawyer, after all). Sure enough, she posted about it.

I refrained from commenting much, given that my reputation (amongst meat-eaters) is in the toilet and people (who like to eat dead animals) tend to disregard what I have to say. So I left only one comment. Luckily, others picked up the slack and made the connections. For example:

preying mantis wrote: "On top of that, the few cases where the producers have been found, investigated, and reported on involved the women in the videos having been coerced into it, so you have that on top of the animal cruelty."

Alderson Warm-Fork says, " if your issue is the slow crushing of small animals - when egg-laying hens reproduce, half their young are male. these males are ‘useless’ for profit. thus, less than a day old, they are disposed of, often by ‘crushing’. "

Jessica says, "Where consent cannot be obtained, a fetish should not be indulged. Simple as that. An animal cannot consent to this and to do it anyway is a kind of rape/murder. These are snuff films, no doubt about it."

puerdixit hit the nail on the head with THE BEST (in my opinion) analysis of all:

"I’m certainly against humans harming other beings for pleasure–sexual, gustatory, aesthetic or other. However, as a queer person, I’m unnerved by sex panics. I personally don’t see crush porn as ethically far from leather fetish (as much as I appreciate leatherqueers as part of my culture) or, heck, even the whole 'fuck-me boots' thing when those boots are made of dead animals. So I’m intrigued by how people think and talk about crush fetish, and what these responses say about larger attitudes towards non-humans, sexuality, and gender."

My conclusions:

  • People are often shocked and angered by cruel uses of animals that do not result in their own personal pleasure. The more someone can 'other' the animal abuser, the easier it is for them to condemn the cruelty. But unfortunately, the more 'different' the cruelty, the easier it is for them to overlook their own complicity in similar forms of animal cruelty.
  • Opening up a discussion of animal cruelty, in circles of people concerned about justice, will often result in at least some discussion about the cruelty inherent in factory farming. For that reason alone, it's worthwhile to attempt to ignite these kinds of discussions in these kinds of groups.
  • In discussions of pornography, the notion of consent is virtually always present. It's crucial in feminist theory and also crucial in animal rights theory. Animals can not and do not consent to much of what humans do to them. Thus, when the door is opened to discussions of animals, consent becomes a topic. Animal righters ought to learn how to talk about consent to people who don't want to consider animal's interests.
  • Animal cruelty associated with sex (crushing) or violence (dog-fighting, bull-fighting) seems to be more interesting to media producers (of all kinds, bloggers included) than the more routine forms of animal cruelty, like factory farming. Because of this, these kinds of animal cruelty discussions can be gateways to discussions of other forms of animal cruelty. But those discussions must be shaped carefully by animal advocates, otherwise, they will devolve into hatred of the 'othered'.

(crossposted at

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