Brien, DL & Wessell, A 2010, 'Pig: a scholarly view', M/C Journal, vol. 13, no. 5.
The publisher's version of this article is available at http://journal.media-culture.org.au/index.php/mcjournal/issue/view/pig
In George Orwell’s Animal Farm, the pigs infamously changed the law to read: “some animals are more equal than others” (108). From Charlotte’s Web to Babe, there are a plethora of contemporary cultural references, as well as expressions of their intelligence and worth, which would seem to support the pigs’ cause. However, simultaneously, the term “pig” is also synonymous with negative attributes—greed, dirtiness, disarray, brutality and chauvinism. Pigs are also used to name those out of favour, including police officers, the obese, capitalists and male chauvinists. Yet, the animal’s name is also used to express the most extraordinary and unlikely events as in “pigs might fly”. On the one hand, pigs are praised and represented as intelligent and useful, but then they are derided as unclean and slovenly. We are similarly paradoxical in our relationship with then, ranging from using them as a food source to keeping them as pets, and from seeing them as a valuable farm animal/resource or dangerous feral pest depending on which side of the farm gate they are on. Pigs also give a voice to many aspects of popular culture and feature in novels, fairytales, cartoons, comics and movies.