ANIMAL SUFFERING AND TREATMENT OF WOMEN IN RUTH OZEKI S MY YEAR OF MEATS
Journal of International Social Research
My Year of Meats (1998), Japanese-American novelist Ruth Ozeki's first novel, follows the parallel but converging storylines of two ethnic Japanese women: Jane Takaki Little, an American television producer, and Akiko Ueno, an ordinary Japanese housewife. Through the intricate description of their experiences and psychological changes, Ozeki discusses the broader situation facing not only women but also non-human animals in meat-eating societies. Ozeki greatly criticizes from the standpoint of
... er strong feminist consciousness and ecological awareness the similar oppression of women and animals. In this respect, this paper analyzes the victimization of the bodies of both animals and women in Ozeki's novel. Use of hormones and unqualified feed in husbandry have greatly damaged animals' health, while the severe living environment and the assembly-line slaughtering process aggravate their conditions. Meanwhile, women suffer the threats to their health of dangerous hormone treatments under fertility pressure and domestic violence from the husbands who are their ostensible patriarchal. This article adopts a vegetarian ecofeminist reading of the novel to show how Ozeki portrayes both women and animals as victims of patriarchal abusive in a meat-eating society. on the story of one of two women: one is a Japanese-American TV show producer, Jane Takaki Little, and the other is an ordinary Japanese housewife, Akiko Ueno. The TV show My American Wife, produced by Jane Tanaki, links the two women together. Through directing the show, Jane gradually recognizes the dark side of the American meat production industry and also gets a better understanding of herself. Meanwhile, Akiko finally gains the courage to leave her violent husband. At the end of the novel, both women start a new life and a brighter future that they had never imagined before. At first, Jane, an unemployed, is offered a job by her former boss, now living in Tokyo, to produce a TV show for a beef exporting company, BEEF-EX. "Because Jane needs money, she accepts a job as coordinator and location scout for a nameless Japanese TV production company commissioned to create a commercial program for promoting American meats in the Asian market" (Kalejahi, 2002, 84). Since Japan is an island country, seafood is preferred. In order to open up the Japanese market, BEEF-EX launches a campaign to increase beef's popularity among Japanese housewives. Jane is required to invite one middleclass American wife each week as guest and record how she cooks delicious beef, promoting beef exports to Japan and profits for the company. She accepts this job gladly at first, but after several episodes, she begins to deviate from the pre-planned course and wants to invite some other housewives: non-traditional Asst. Prof. Dr.