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The Unwitting Hypocrisy of Sportscaster Erin Andrews

American sportscaster and television personality Erin Andrews has leveraged her celebrity into an Uber Eats advertisement where she encourages people to eat “double bacon burgers”, as she interacts with an obese football player. And nobody blinks an eye. Are things that tough for Erin Andrews that she needs to endorse a food product that causes the immense suffering of animals, chronic disease, and vast injury to our only planet? Really? A quick Google search reveals that Ms. Andrews’ net worth is at least $30 million, and that her celebrity endorsement deal with Uber Eats pays at least $1 million as well (she also has a $2 million per year salary with Fox Sports). Her endorsement of a double bacon burger, means that a cow, and pig would have to die in order for her to obtain the flavor that she apparently desires (greasy & fatty). And to make matters worse, she is telling millions of her fans to do the same. Yikes. 

But that is only part of the story. Erin Andrews was also a victim of sexual harrassment and won a settlement of $27 million against a Marriot hotel owner, after a man was able to record nude videos of Ms. Andrews while she was staying in the hotel. According to a recent survey, 81% of women living in the United States have experienced sexual harrassment. Erin Andrews seems like an otherwise lovely person, and I am sure if she had read Carol J. Adams’ book “The Sexual Politics of Meat”, she would certainly not have agreed to be a shill for the meat industry. The Sexual Politics of Meat shows how male dominance and animals’ oppression are linked by the way that both women and animals function as “absent referents” in meat eating and dairy production. What is an absent referent? According to Ms. Adams, “The absent referent is the literal being who disappears in the eating of dead bodies. There are three ways I see the absent referent functioning. (1) Literally, an animal is killed to become food or “meat”. (2) Physically, the animal is dismembered – cut up, generally – sold off as body parts. So the reminder that the animal was a full being, living a life, disappears. Then the third way is metaphorically. Their oppression, someone else’s oppression, becomes a metaphor for another group’s oppression. Where being treated “like a piece of meat” is, would be an example of the metaphor of the absent referent…The Sexual Politics of Meat shows how a process of objectification, fragmentation, and consumption enables the oppression of animals so that animals are rendered being-less through technology, language, and cultural representation. Objectification permits an oppressor to view another being as an object. Once objectified, a being can be fragmented. Once fragmented, consumption happens. The consumption of a being, and the consumption of the meaning of that being’s death, so that the referent point of meat changes.”

How Language Masks Violence: 
Him: I can’t go to Italian restaurants with you anymore because I can’t order my favorite meal: veal parmesan.
Her: Would you order it if it were called pieces of butchered, anemic baby calves?

Ms. Adams uses the idea of the “absent referent” to explain her theory that animals are the absent referent in the act of meat eating, and that they also become the absent referent in images of women being sexualized, and consumable. While the killing of the animal cannot be seen on a meat eater’s plate, women are often reduced to little more than “a piece of meat”, and are subsequently treated as such too. “The woman, animalised; the animal, sexualised. That’s the sexual politics of meat,” Adams writes. Wow.

If you are curious to learn more about the misery that cows, pigs and other animals endure in animal factories, please check out the heartbreaking documentary called “Dominion.” If you happen to know Erin Andrews, please share this information with her if you can. I know that she is not alone, and that hundreds of other celebrities are pitching harmful products for a buck too, but her decision to be a saleswoman for the meat industry is just shameful. There really is no way around it. And shame on Uber Eats as well. 

Click here to learn more about Carol J. Adams’ excellent book “The Sexual Politics of Meat”.
Click here to learn more about the many examples of sexism in meat marketing.
Click here to learn more about how meat-eating and sexual harrassment and violence towards women are interconnected.
Click here to learn more about the masculinity of meat.
Click here to learn more about the sexual harassment of women.
Click here for the educational (and intense) documentary called “Dominion”.
Click here for the Uber Eats commercial with Erin Andrews.
Click here to learn more about the Erin Andrews court case. 
Click here to learn more about the connections between human rights and animal rights.
Click here to learn more about celebrities who pitch harmful products.
Click here to learn more about Carol J. Adams’ work and how language masks violence. 
Click here for one of the many sexist commercials from Carl’s Jr.’s restaurants called “bacon 3 way burger fantasty”.

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