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My Year of Meats ?3

April 24, 2007

Is there a particular topic you would like to discuss about My Year of Meats? If so, just e-mail at and I will post it. – Stephanie

Think about some of the male characters in My Year of Meats. There is Suzuki, who has a “passion for Jack Daniel’s, Wal-Mart, and American hard-core pornography”; Oh, who is Suzuki’s drinking companion; and Joichi Ueno, Akiko’s violent husband with a fondness for Texas strippers. Do these characters’ affinity for pornography reflect the way that they relate to women?

8 Comments leave one →
  1. April 24, 2007 11:29 am

    I definitely thought that the characters’ affinity for pornography was telling of their relationships with women. It was almost like they could only relate to women as sex objects (or in predefined roles) rather than as whole people.

  2. Nicole permalink
    April 24, 2007 8:05 pm

    But, I would argue that the film crew seemed very concerned and involved with Jane at a much healthier level.

  3. April 24, 2007 9:54 pm

    I also found the men’s affinity for pornography reflected their objectification of women, seeing most women simply as ‘things’ whose purpose was to provide sexual titillation. Just as cows, pigs etc. were objects whose purpose was to be eaten. Both women and animals are there for their use. I find a parallel between the subservience of women and of factory farmed animals – perhaps this idea is better, and more fully, explicated in Carol J. Adams’ book “The Sexual Politics of Meat”. It feels to me like many of the ideas Adams presents have been mulled over, and presented fictionally by Ozeki. But Ozeki did not simply make her characters one dimensional or symbolic, she is able to present them as people, which is why, I suppose, that I didn’t end up thoroughly disliking all the men in this book by story’s end.

  4. April 24, 2007 11:37 pm

    I also think that the affinity for porn was put in there to enhance the men’s tendency towards objectificaton. But, like Nicole pointed out, there were instances where the men behaved differently, although it generally wasn’t until a woman forced the issue. Bunny forced her husband and stepson’s hand at the slaughterhouse, Christina turned around a whole town, Helen Dawes was able to subdue Ueno, if only for a moment. It would have been interesting to see Ueno’s reaction to Akiko’s leaving.

  5. April 25, 2007 11:06 am

    Melanie, interesting post. I like the parallel you’ve drawn between meat and women in the men’s eyes- I think that is right on target. That other book sounds interesting as well – I will check that one out!

  6. April 25, 2007 11:44 am

    I thought the men in the book were stereotypical portraits of japanese men. I wish Ozeki gave them a little more character flesh.

  7. Nicole permalink
    April 26, 2007 11:31 am

    Robin- good point. One could rename the book “My year with women” with women = meat.

  8. May 3, 2007 11:10 pm

    The men to me were more like caricatures than characters – too two-dimensional to reflect real people. But the focus was definitely on the women in this book, so I wasn’t bothered by that lack of characterization.

    As for the pornography and whatnot, it was certainly no accident that Ozeki made that a part of a novel that deals with the meat industry.

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