Women deserve better (and so do the animals).

August 14th, 2009 3:07 pm by Kelly Garbato


While I have a few misgivings about this latest Onion spoof – which takes PETA to task for its misogyny – overall, I think it’s spot on.

First the cons. The Onion definitely loses points for suggesting that PETA promotes veganism, when its campaigns usually just toe the vegetarian line. There’s a world of difference; the former implies that PETA is an animal rights organization, rather than the welfare group it really is. PETA being the “mouthpiece” of the animal rights movement is an all too common misconception, and it’s disappointing to see The Onion perpetuating it.

Also, while I think The Onion nails it re: PETA’s forthcoming campaign – “I’d Rather Be Raped By An Animal Than Wear Its Fur” – “It”? For serious? I don’t think I’ve ever seen PETA use the speciesist pronoun “it” in their ad materials. Nor is “it” a very AR thing to say. I live to be corrected, though.

Most importantly, I’m uncomfortable with how The Onion so smugly dismisses PETA’s nude models and protesters – women, them all – as pathetically “clueless” vis-à-vis their exploitation. Just because a woman disagrees with me re: the ethics and efficacy of nude activism, doesn’t make her a stupid waif, at once deserving of scorn and in need of rescue. That’s, um, sexist.

On the other hand, many of PETA’s supporters are frustratingly myopic and dense. Take, for example, the response to PETA’s recent “Save the Whales” campaign, in which the “whales” are actually – wait for it – fat omnivores. The concept involves a hefty dose (pun most certainly not intended) of fat-shaming and sizeism, with little regard for how this might hurt marginalized humans – vegans, vegetarians and omnivores alike. (Note to PETA: animal advocates come in all shapes and sizes. Just saying.)

PETA’s / PETA supporters’ defenses of nude campaigns usually – but not always – involve a similar lack of awareness: of feminist theory, of intersectionality, of the interrelatedness of dominance and oppression, and of the value of human diversity and dignity. For a cogent example of this, one need look no further than PETA President Ingrid Newkirk, who claimed that she could not possibly be sexist because she’s a woman (!). Said with a straight face, while waving her feminist card in the air, natch. (Perhaps The Onion isn’t that far off, after all.)

The Onion’s faux feminist is right when she says that women deserve better. So, too, do nonhuman animals. From all corners.

—————-

Videos in this post:

The Onion – Advocacy Group Decries PETA’s Inhumane Treatment Of Women (2:10)

—————-

Tagged:

Be Sociable, Share!

Filed under , , , , , , , , ,

4 Responses to “Women deserve better (and so do the animals).”

  1. ARPhilo Says:

    I took the treatment of the female protesters in this spoof as a reference to what reporters and people always say about other animals when cruelty is in the news. I thought it was a positive, because everyone knows these women are not mentally handicapped or anything. So I actually liked that part the most bc it reminded me of all of the times people would say “Yes, it looks cruel, but the animals might not even understand what’s happening to them (when they are being beaten, tortured, imprisoned, etc)”.

    I liked this onion ad bc I think it was smart in that it bashed sexism without bashing animal rights but maybe not everyone will get that- especially the people who loooooove to hate peta.

  2. Shannon Says:

    Just came over from animalrights.change.org–thanks so much for embedding this video! I do appreciate where the Onion was going with it, even though I think you’re right re: their dismissiveness of women (then again, PETA is often equally dismissive in their treatment of women as mere sex objects, good only for promoting AR). I wrote a post responding to their “Save the Whales” campaign and decided I was done with PETA for good. Thanks for your hard work!

  3. Kelly G. Says:

    Thanks, Shannon! I just found you via Stephanie’s link roundup @ change.org as well – loved your piece on PETA. I feel the same way – I don’t think “Save the Whales” is the most offensive campaign PETA’s ever devised, but for some reason, it’s just the final straw. Maybe because the fat hatred is so blatant this time around? Even grade schoolers know that to liken a person to a “whale” is insulting, so it’s not as though they can claim ignorance or offer another interpretation. It’s just so obviously wrong.

  4. Sharayah Says:

    PETA encourages people to try vegetarianism but ultimately wants EVERYBODY to become a vegan.

Leave a Reply