Vegetarian

Hello Dear,

I'd honestly rather live in your century than think about mine, but since you're so keen on bits of history, here's one you might not know: I was a vegetarian.

I suppose being murdered by your husband at 33 can give one a harsh perspective on life, the world, and certain genders that have a tendency for aggression.

Being a vegetarian was sort of unusual in my time. Perhaps it was more of a conceptual project on my part. Perhaps it fits more correctly in your time. Then again, per capita, you people eat far more meat than even the wealthiest people in my time did.

In my brief life I came to perceive the confluence of a trio of unhelpful factors:

  1. The slaughtering of animals
  2. Patriarchal culture
  3. The Military Industrial Complex

Oh, I know Dwight Eisenhower won't invent the term "Military Industrial Complex" for another 411 years, but believe me, even though we didn't have the term, we had the thing. I think in your time the cancerous tendrills have woven through all of culture in ever more complex ways, but in my time the struggle for power was never ending. My dad's German bodyguards were always there. Battles were plenty. Political and religious manipulation, endless. It's true.

How did one gender allow another to dominate art, culture, and life itself? How did we allow a world where giving birth to a female child was a disappointment, to exist? In your time ultrasound allows parents to simply abort female children. In mine you just had to be disappointed.

How does a marginalized gender claim equality? Do we fight back? Or does fighting yield not empowered equality but only a parity of violence?

What about religion? Is a solution to be found there? Ha! As someone who's had 2 popes in her family, and whose father engineered the election of several more, I can tell you that the only difference between The Pope and Berlusconi is that Berlusconi wears Armani, and The Pope wears Versace.

Is there a middle way somewhere? To be neither an aggressor, nor a slave?

I don't mean to be pollyannaish about this. I'm writing to you in the early morning hours before dawn and in the darkness outside I can hear two cats fighting. Awful sounds. Sad sounds. Aggression and violence are part of life in this world. I get that. But I do not celebrate it. Certainly cats have awareness. But we Homo sapiens sapiens are supposed to be not simply aware, but self-aware. We are defined by our thought. By our ability to think about our own thinking. Yet 450 years after me, your culture glorifies violence in every walk of life, as much, or perhaps more, than mine did.

I don't know if one gender can fight for equality. As a vegetarian I tried to step off the treadmill of violence. At least a little bit. Not to impose on anyone else, but simply to control my own life and body and to not be a part of preying on other living things.

Love,

Isabella

vegetarian princess

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