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Animaladies : Gender, Animals, and Madness
Bloomsbury Academic

Animaladies : Gender, Animals, and Madness

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Do depictions of crazy cat ladies obscure more sinister structural violence against animals hoarded in factory farms?

Highlighting the frequent pathologization of animal lovers and animal rights activists, this book examines how the “madness” of our relationships with animals intersects with the “madness” of taking animals seriously. The essays collected in this volume argue that “animaladies” are expressive of political and psychological discontent, and the characterization of animal advocacy as mad or “crazy” distracts attention from broader social unease regarding human exploitation of animal life.

While allusions to madness are both subtle and overt, they are also very often gendered, thought to be overly sentimental with an added sense that emotions are being directed at the wrong species. Animaladies are obstacles for the political uptake of interest in animal issues-as the intersections between this volume and established feminist scholarship show, the fear of being labeled unreasonable or mad still has political currency.


Animaladies is a provocative, interdisciplinary volume linking the ways gender and animal rights activism are associated with sentiment and, often, insanity as a way of undermining its political aims. Sections address the affective labor of feminist animal rights, the linkages between disability and animal rights via understanding of ‘madness,’ and finally the entwined politics of resistance to exploitation and violence based on gender and species hierarchy. The opening essay from the editors provides a concise argument for the ways concern for the treatment of animals is pathologized through its linkage with ‘mad women’ and feminine emotional excess. At its strongest, the volume includes engaging discussions of the debates within disability studies about problematic attempts to inject ‘reason’ into animal rights through stigmatizing disability, rather than exploring the ways in which disability activism, feminism, and animal rights activism have all challenged the disembodied, reasoning subject … The breadth and novelty of the scholarship is worth engaging for feminist, animality studies, and disability studies scholars. Summing Up: Recommended.” —CHOICE

“Women who are thought mad because they love animals, live with (too many) animals, won't eat animals, or object to the abuse of animals; women who are mad, or have gone mad, from witnessing the relentless abuse of animals. These are just some of the intersections of gender, animality, and disability explored by the artists, activists and scholars who have contributed essays to this important interdisciplinary volume. Animaladies is a groundbreaking work and should be read by feminist, animal studies, and disability studies scholars and activists, and all those working at the intersections of these fields.” —Chloë Taylor, Associate Professor, Department of Women's and Gender Studies, University of Alberta, Canada

Animaladies marks a pivotal moment in intersectional Animal Studies: this volume urges us to confront myriad forms of oppression and marginalization that arise from prejudices about women, animals, and 'madness'--a trio of underdogs if ever there was one. Gruen and Probyn-Rapsey bring together work by an impressive list of international scholars to ensure that, like its title, Animaladies is fresh, provocative and defiant. As a former mental health professional, an academic with a background in feminist psychology and a proud 'crazy cat lady,' I have found no other volume in Feminist Animal Studies that has moved me as much emotionally, or galvanized me more to activism. This book will be a crucial new reading for students in my classes on gender and sexuality, human-animal relations, medicalization and disability studies.” —Annie Potts, Head of Cultural Studies and Director of the New Zealand Centre for Human-Animal Studies, Te Whare Wananga o Waitaha/University of Canterbury, New Zealand

“Reclaiming the 'crazy' is a central aim of this brilliant and provocative book. Original and unsettling, it offers a completely new perspective on human-animal relationships. Animaladies explores how animal advocates (mainly women) are pathologized as 'crazy' by societies who themselves live in states of contradiction, denying their own acts of cruelty towards non-human animals while at the same time pretending to value life. It casts a probing light on the dysfunction of societies that continue to exploit, torture and murder countless animals on a daily basis, the justifications they use and their intolerance towards those who care. This rich collection of inspirational essays, explores the complex connections between ideas of gender, madness and animality. It speaks to all those concerned about the maladies of the present age, our distrust of emotions, our damaged relationships with animals, the future of the planet and what it means to be human and animal in the twenty-first century.” —Barbara Creed, Redmond Barry Distinguished Professor, Screen Studies, University of Melbourne, Australia, and author of Stray: Human-Animal Ethics in the Anthropocene (2017)

ISBN:  9781501342158