ARA PSAs: Attack of the Killer Cosmetics

January 5th, 2009 9:54 pm by Kelly Garbato

I love this series of anti-vivisection ads from the Australian animal rights organization Animal Liberation:

Animal Liberation - Lipstick

Animal Liberation - Mascara

Animal Liberation - Compact

Each photo depicts a cosmetic product – lipstick, mascara and powder foundation (or is that blush?) – designed to resemble various torture devices – a bullet, a syringe and a leghold trap. The text reads, “Every year 6 million animals are killed from cosmetic testing. Please boycott animal-tested products. www.animal-lib.org.au

I do have one quibble with PSAs that tout cruelty-free cosmetics – not with any one ad, but in a general sense – as they tend to feature images of cosmetics and hygiene products typically used by women: lipstick, eyeshadow, blush, mascara, eye liner, etc., or target women in other ways. (See, for example, here, here and here.) Looking at these ads, you’d think that women alone are responsible for torturing helpless fuzzy-wuzzies in the name of fashion and vanity. And yet, shampoo, conditioner, lotions, deodorant, soap, shaving cream, and other gender-neutral or “male” products are tested on animals as well. I can’t remember the last time I’ve seen a dude in a cruelty free cosmetics PSA, however. Guess they’re all booked up with PETA’s manly “Ink, Not Mink” campaign.

Here, a clarification might be helpful. Dictionary.com defines “cosmetics” as

a powder, lotion, lipstick, rouge, or other preparation for beautifying the face, skin, hair, nails, etc.

“Cosmetics,” then, are more than just makeup. Indeed, some of the cruelty free ads also feature items such as lotion, but again, if a human consumer is shown in the advertisement, chances are she’s a woman. Google “cruelty free cosmetics,” and the very first link is to CaringConsumer.com – which allows you to search for cosmetics and hygiene products, including those for men, children, babies and companion animals. “Cosmetics,” then, is a term which seems to encompass cosmetics/makeup as well as other hygiene products, at least when used in this context. So I don’t think it’s unreasonable to expect that men be chastised in these ads, too.

Perhaps animal rights groups target women in this arena because women are more likely to be receptive to their anti-vivisection message. (Women are overrepresented in the animal liberation movement, after all.) Or maybe they’re just operating under the outdated assumption that women do all the grocery shopping, and their husbands use whatever crap finds its way to the bathroom vanity. And that all men are involved in heterosexual relationships, natch.

Either way, if you’re XX, XY or none of the above, please buy cruelty-free cosmetics and hygiene products. Go to CaringConsumer.com to search for products that have not been tested on animals (and companies which do not conduct animal tests).

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3 Responses to “ARA PSAs: Attack of the Killer Cosmetics”

  1. easyVegan.info » Blog Archive » ARA PSAs: Women, Men and Fur Says:

    […] said, anti-fur ads such as those above still irk me. As with the cruelty-free cosmetic campaigns I discussed earlier this year, anti-fur ads (whether produced by PETA or another animal advocacy […]

  2. Ask not “Are Animal Lovers Sexist?,” but “Can Animal Lovers Be Sexist?” (Answer: duh.) » V for Vegan: easyVegan.info Says:

    […] from change.org. (Also related, and referenced in passing below: ARA PSAs: Women, Men and Fur and ARA PSAs: Attack of the Killer Cosmetics.) […]

  3. Emma Says:

    These images/the campaign as a whole is amazing, one of the most well thought out I have ever seen, I wish it could get some TV coverage in the US, it really makes you think.

    Regardless of the “precautions” (animal suffering) that goes into the production of these cosmetics there are still significant dangers that exist with a substantial amount of ingredients used in many products. There is some useful information on what to look out for here:

    http://mitocw.net/well-there-are-dangers-in-the-powder-puff

    I hope you dont mind me sharing

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