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Meat Market: Female Flesh Under Capitalism [Paperback]

Laurie Penny
2.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (21 customer reviews)
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Book Description

29 April 2011
Modern culture is obsessed with controlling women's bodies. Our societies are saturated with images of unreal, idealised female beauty whilst real female bodies and the women who inhabit them are alienated from their own personal and political potential. Under modern capitalism, women are both consumers and consumed: Meat Market offers strategies for resisting this gory cycle of consumption, exposing how the trade in female flesh extends into every part of women's political selfhood. Touching on sexuality, prostitution, hunger, consumption, eating disorders, housework, transsexualism and the global trade in the signs and signifiers of femininity, Meat Market is a thin, bloody sliver of feminist dialectic, dissecting women's bodies as the fleshy fulcrum of capitalist cannibalism.

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Product details

  • Paperback: 79 pages
  • Publisher: Zero Books (29 April 2011)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1846945216
  • ISBN-13: 978-1846945212
  • Product Dimensions: 21.1 x 14 x 0.8 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 2.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (21 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 58,101 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Product Description


Laurie Penny hones her every phrase to a razor's edge. She is absolutely surgical in her anatomising of a mad world. MEAT MARKET is the kind of cut you learn from. --(Warren Ellis, author of TRANSMETROPOLITAN, CROOKED LITTLE VEIN, RED)

About the Author

Laurie Penny is a 23-year old journalist, blogger, feminist activist and reprobate from London with a deep loathing for unexamined orthodoxies. She writes the popular blog Penny Red and lives in London UK.

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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
177 of 211 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars Confused dilettantish nonsense 19 Aug 2011
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
Laurie Penny has been a near ubiquitous figure over the last year. Her status as the "voice of a generation" has seen her career blossom as she is consistently pulled in by the BBC and others to give opinion on everything from the situation in the Middle East to student politics; all this while others of her age group (she's in her mid 20s by the way) have been losing their jobs. Here she attempts to capitalize on her popular credentials by chancing her hand at some feminist theory on the DIY publishing imprint Zero Books.

In short, this is possibly the worst piece of attempted theory I have ever read, and its faults, contradictions, and sheer dilettantish gall are to such an extent that to cover it all would require a text the length of which would justify a book of its own. I will address only the main points which will help illustrate not only that Laurie Penny has no idea what she is writing about, but that her faults stem from the fact that she is ultimately a middle class opportunist flirting with the most superficial and bankrupt autonomist thought.

It's also worth noting that her trite blogger/journalist prose makes this a very painful read. Lines like "The ooze and tickle of realtime sex, which can neither be controlled nor mass-produced and sold back to us, threatens both capital and censorship"(pg16) might get Twitter buzzing, but in a monologue it just looks like nonsense. Her bizarre fixation on descriptives for bodily functions also offer up such pearls as "the eroto-capitalist horror of human flesh", "the panting border between dream and secretion", the "dirt and ooze of female power" and "the meat and stink of my body". Perhaps all this is meant to be arousing, but all she succeeds in doing is make sex appear like a scene from a Hammer horror film.
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18 of 23 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars Disappointing 31 Aug 2013
I am a keen reader of feminist literature and when I spotted this book in a charity shop, I thought it would be worth a read. The link between exploitation of women and capitalism is a very interesting premise, but unfortunately much of the book suffered from a lack of depth of analysis. Too many straw men being set up, and a selective citing of facts that ignore the bigger picture caused this book to be essentially an exposition of the authors preexisting ideas and prejudices, without a willingness to acknowledge the complexities of situation. Disappointing at best, trite at its worst.
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7 of 9 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars A disappointment 29 Jun 2014
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
Whilst I echo the sentiments within the book, and admire some of Laurie Perry's other musings, this book was not well-written (containing a myriad of grammatical errors and containing poorly structured sentences) and it was tiny; more of a pamphlet than a book.
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1.0 out of 5 stars dont feed the capitalists - avoid this book 21 Sep 2014
Who knew solving a big problem, such as the subjugation of woman via the division of labour, was so simple?
Sort out who washes the dishes, or better still: hire a working-class woman, or any woman really; doesn't matter as long as it's not you - hey, those OTHER women will take care of it and be grateful for the job thankyouverymuch. So yeah. There you go Feminists, just do that and everything will be ok.
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3 of 4 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars One Star 4 Sep 2014
Exactly what you would expect, bitter, pretentious drivel.
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7 of 11 people found the following review helpful
By Simon
First things first. I'm a man who's fairly sympathetic to the feminist cause. There are a few polemics in the genre which I wouldn't hesitate to give rave reviews to. This isn't one of them though.

I appreciate that this book isn't intended to be the final word on the subject. I'm fine with that. There are many modest little books that are effective precisely because of their focus and directness. With all of that having been said, there's still no getting around the fact that the rhetoric in this book is consistently sloppy. Sometimes this carelessness reaches the point where even sympathetic readers will have trouble taking the author seriously.

Things don't get off to a great start when the author declares, on the very first page, that:

" in five women in Britain and America is a victim of rape"
(Penny, Laurie (2011); Meat Market: Female Flesh Under Capitalism; Zero Books; Winchester, UK and Washington, USA; P1)

I've heard this dubious (and in this case unsourced) claim before. It's been doing the rounds since at least the late 80's. It doesn't strike me as being any more credible now than it was then. My guess is that the word "rape" is being used in a particularly loose sense. I would also like to know how large the samples for this study/survey were and where they were found. I'm guessing that there's an interesting back-story to this shibboleth. Still, I will have to concede that in the absence of an actual source to look up my suspicions will have to remain precisely that. Suspicions, and nothing more.

This wouldn't be the last time that Penny set off my warning alarms though.
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5 of 9 people found the following review helpful
Format:Kindle Edition
A REAL feminist does not need to keep reminding the world she is a feminist by being angry 24/7. Just as a gay man doesn't need to mince down Old Compton Street with a copy of the gay times.

Laurie Penny has never done a real job in her life which make her views on 'capitalism' embarrassing.

She is similar to those 'true Muslims' who talk about destroying Britain while happily taking our benefits, and sitting at home all day.

The content of this book is dull, confused and repetitive. Like a precocious child telling adults about the world.

I got this book from my library and it cost me nothing - so no money for you Laurie (just like you want it?)!
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
1.0 out of 5 stars boy was I disappointed. Penny is as hot as hell
Thought this might be a book about sex, boy was I disappointed.

Penny is as hot as hell, can anyone resist her? Pity her writing is so poor. Read more
Published 2 months ago by The Sage of all
1.0 out of 5 stars Selling a book criticizing capitalism on a capitalist site.
Can you day irony?
Published 2 months ago by Matt
1.0 out of 5 stars No info about meat in book whatsoever
Expected a lot more pics. Was just some bird moaning a lot instead
Published 2 months ago by Daryl Paskell
5.0 out of 5 stars It's short and very interesting
I read this to learn more about modern feminism - it's very readable, it's quite broad but stays brief and concise on each point, and overall it's a very interesting analysis and... Read more
Published 6 months ago by Eoin Madsen
4.0 out of 5 stars good and easy to read
Excellent brief study of new forms of feminism and critiques of market capitalism. The personal story is really important but there is a lack of knowledge about previous critiques... Read more
Published 7 months ago by Miki
3.0 out of 5 stars Content is interesting but book is not very accessible
Although I found the subject very interesting and topical, it is highly derivative and uses many of Nina Power' theories without really developing them in a coherent manner. Read more
Published 13 months ago by xxy
5.0 out of 5 stars Fantastic
I thought this was fantastically well written, direct and pulled zero punches. I love Penny's direct style and full -frontal onslaught. Read more
Published 18 months ago by R Bradshaw
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