By Alain Brossat
From the viewpoint of a radical animal feminism (which The Invisible Armada eagerly supports), the naming of the coming year as Year of the Ox, also represented as the Taiwanese buffalo, appears to be outrageously gendered and, as such, deeply unfair and revolting.
Besides, it obviously falls into the trap of the most conventional orientalist exoticism.
In Chinese, this is the year of the gender-neutral 牛, which is invariably translated in English as the male Ox – instead of the female cow – while mostly represented in the Chinese New Year imagery as a macho bovine – be it ox, buffalo, bull, or any other type of bovine with large horns and no udders. In a feminist animal perspective, the ox-buffalo is the perfect cliché of male supremacism. As a typical representative of male presumptuousness, this male bovine is the tree that prevents the public from seeing the forest of the real figure, character, hero of the coming year – the Cow.
There are still a few dozens of elderly and sickly buffalos who drag laboriously their ploughs in some remote rice fields of South Taiwan and there are billions of cows that suffer under the appalling conditions of their permanent keeping in sheds, real concentration camps, and are put to death in the most abominable way in industrial slaughterhouses.
The cows are the plebs of the bovine species and it is outrageous for them to see how at the dawn of this New Year that is supposed to be theirs, only kitsch and ornamental pictures of shoddy buffalos (a sub-species doomed to extinction) are displayed all around the place where Chinese New Year is celebrated.
We cows of the world, claim for justice, dignity and fairness. The coming year is ours, not the buffalo’s – the old male impostor and usurper. We claim that our sacred rights and prerogatives should be fully restored and this year be called everywhere in the Chinese world Year of the Cow. This should be, among other things, a tribute to our female constitution and the right way to expose, at last, the Buffalo male chauvinist pig.
Cows of all countries, unite!
This is the Year of the Cow, not of the Buffalo!