Show us your tits! (For the animals, of course.) [Believe it or not, this isn’t another post about PETA. Not directly, anyhow.]

June 30th, 2010 10:32 pm by Kelly Garbato

Update, 8/3/10: http://www.schlongs4seals.com is live! I’m still working on the interactive photo gallery and discussion features, but the blog is functional (and has already logged more posts in August than I was able to write here in all of July) and all of the other pages are done. Also, I’ve uploaded all my schlong-related artwork to a set of photo pages as a temporary solution whilst I hunt the internets for a shiny piece of WP-compatible photo gallery software.

Leads for said software would be both awesome and appreciated!

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Update, 7/14/10: www.schlongs4seals.com is now mine. Muahahahaha! (At the time of this writing, the domain just redirects back to this post, but still: Muahahahaha!) Stay tuned for details!

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Update, 7/13/10: I just received a notice that Facebook deleted my SCHLONGS4SEALS page because:

You created a Page that has violated our Terms of Use. A Facebook Page is a distinct presence used solely for business or promotional purposes. Among other things, Pages that are hateful, threatening, or obscene are not allowed. We also take down Pages that attack an individual or group, or that are set up by an unauthorized individual. If your Page was removed for any of the above reasons, it will not be reinstated. Continued misuse of Facebook’s features could result in the permanent loss of your account.

So, just to recap: serious requests for women to send in their tit shots “for the animals” = a-okay; satirical requests for men to send in their crotch shots “for the animals” = hateful, threatening and/or obscene. Facebook, I do believe you hate women!

Anyhow, I’m currently weighing my options, which look rather slim at the moment. I could try setting up a similar page, but then I risk having my account disabled – a hassle which just isn’t worth it. Flickr might prove more welcoming to a SCHLONGS4SEALS group – I mean, hey, it’s home to entire groups dedicated to sexually harassing upskirt photos (!) – and indeed, the faux PSAs I created are all safe and sound in their own lil’ Flickr collection. But, you know, different social media sites, yada yada yada. My final and grandest idea is to go Thatchers out and launch an entire SCHLONGS4SEALS spoof website. Which sounds great, but OMG I so do not have the free time!

So, we shall see. In the meantime, if you’re on FB and find this whole affair as despicable as do I, why not hop on over to that *other* page and report it for similarly violating FB’s TOS? Seeing as most of us are either women or have friends who are women, might I suggest choosing “targets me or a friend” from the drop-down menu, as this continued objectification of women most certainly constitutes “an attack on an individual or group.” Please and thank you.

Support the Seals, Show Us Your Tits (Screenshot 05)

A screenshot, taken on 6/26/10, of the “Support For The Seals!” Facebook page. The image shows a fan photo – which has since been deleted – submitted to the page by Petra Simkova, in which the wearer of a pair of white undies (men’s briefs?) is flashing what JK Rowling would oh-so-demurely call a “rude gesture” at the camera. In other words, what we have here is an exaggerated crotch shot and a middle finger – all in all, an adequate summary of my feelings towards Facebook and Michael McDade (aka SeaL Shepherd).
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Update, 7/3/10: If you’d like to participate, but don’t have a Facebook account, not to worry! Just send me your package @ easyvegan [at] gmail.com and I’ll upload it as an admin. You can choose to remain anonymous OR be credited (with a link back to your blog or site), whichever you prefer!

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A bottom-less Pamela Anderson strikes a flirty pose as she models PETA’s ‘Save the Seals’ tee. The shirt is all-white save for a black sketch of a fuzzy-wuzzy seal on its front. The ad’s copy reads, “What do I have in common with Barack Obama, Vladmir Putin and the Dalai Lama? We all oppose the massacre of baby seals. It’s time to end Canada’s shameful slaughter.” And, in red and gray text: “Pamela Anderson for PeTA” and “SAVETHESEALS / END CANADA’S SEAL SLAUGHTER.”
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Over the weekend, I was browsing a few friends’ Facebook feeds when I happened upon Support For The Seals!. Purportedly, the page aims to “raise awareness” about seal hunting in Newfoundland – by (wait for it!) encouraging female fans to post photos of their tits:

Boobs for seals…did he just write that? Yes he did. Show your “support” for the seals!

1) Suggest to 100 friends! (link above)

2) More friends = more boobs = more support for the seals!

Much thanks to these brave ladies! Get your mammos!

Now, if I wasn’t already suffering from blog fatigue, I might offer a coherent vegan/feminist critique of this so-called “campaign” (scare quotes because it reads more like a Girls Gone Wild casting/sexploitation call); and, knowing me, this essay would clock in at no less than 2,000 words. Probably it would contain a good deal of salty language, and not a few references to “the kyriarchy” and “intersectionality.”

For example, I might begin my rant with a brief analysis of the “post your bra color for breast cancer” Facebook campaign on which Support For The Seals! is based, arguing that it:

1) trivialized breast cancer by making it all about the boobies (instead of, you know, life or fucking death);

2) excluded some actual breast cancer survivors from participating (i.e., those who have undergone double mastectomies have little need for bras; insensitive much?);

3) played into cultural memes which reduce women to body parts (What, no “boxers or briefs” campaign for testicular cancer? No, that would be silly!); and

4) did little to actually raise awareness of the issues surrounding breast cancer (Dietary and environmental risk factors, anyone? Time to drop the I word, methinks!), thus transforming the well-intentioned but misguided effort into a day of titillation for Facebook’s (heterosexual, sexist) male members.

I might also argue that Support For The Seals! is infinitely worse than the aforementioned breast cancer campaign, as a) it involves actual photos of actual women’s actual breasts, whereas b) the link between the objectified body part and the cause it’s supposed to further is much, much more tenuous (nonexistent, you might say).

I might point out that, practically speaking, this page does little more than provide a bunch of internet pervs with additional wanking material (as if they’ve a need for more, amiright ladies?); certainly, it does nothing to actually “raise awareness” about Canadian seals and the many threats they face, nor does it provide concrete assistance (material support, monetary donations, volunteer pledges, etc.) to those working to end seal hunting.


 

VAPETA PSA - SCHLONGS4SEALS 01

The first in a series of (faux) VAPETA PSAs I made using Photoshop. A group of four young, skinny, white men (underwear models, presumably) strike a pose wearing nothing but their tighty whities – which are oh-so-tastefully decorated with sketches of cute, fuzzy wuzzy seals. The ad’s copy reads, “FOUR RANDOM DUDES FOR VAPeTA” and “SCHLONGS4 SEALS / END PETA’S MISOGYNY / LIVE VEGAN” in bold red, black and white text.
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I might further note that, nowhere on the page’s long list of “sister” groups can a similar group for males who wish to show their Support For The Seals! be found. Nor are photos of men’s sex organs welcome on Support For The Seals! (Two photos of seemingly male crotches were posted and subsequently deleted between Saturday and Monday, as were comments critical of the page.)

Finally, in order to preempt claims that I’m just humorless prude in need of a good lay, I might also reveal that I myself have participated in a “show us your [insert body part here]” campaign in the past. The ReBellyon was a fan protest of Roadrunner Records’ decision to cut several clips of a bare-bellied Amanda Palmer from her music video for the song “Leeds United,” reportedly saying that the footage was axed because label execs thought the musician looked “too fat” to be showing her midriff in public. (Holy run-on sentence, Catwoman!) In response to RR’s sexism and sizeism, fans and supporters took photos of their own bellies, submitted them to http://www.therebellyon.com, and mailed them to RR with letters of dissent. At first glance, the ReBellyon might seem similar to Support For The Seals!; however, unlike the latter, the former: a) was a direct, relevant response to a specific issue; b) had a concrete, measurable goal; c) welcomed fans of all sizes, shapes, colors, ages and genders as participants; and d) ultimately demonstrated that beauty is not specific to a certain gonosomal makeup or dress size. Most “show us your…” campaigns fail on all counts; this doesn’t mean that I’m blanket opposed to all such efforts.

But sometimes words only seem to carry you so far; where reasoned argument and impassioned prose fail, a visual demonstration may be in order. Plus, yada yada, blog fatigue.

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Instead, I decided to re-imagine Support For The Seals! with men as the objects of (s)exploitation, implored to bare their manly parts “for the animals,” treated as if their penises are the most (only?) worthy of contributions they can make to “the movement.” The way women so often are.

So instead of a lengthy rant (syke!), I bring you SCHLONGS4SEALS, a Facebook page that encourages men to post their “junk shots” in order to “raise awareness” for seals and, um, other stuff. Rather than rehash what I already wrote (and also because I half expect FB to shut it down), here’s an excerpt from the group’s info. (Keep in mind that the phrasing and tone are lifted directly from Support for The Seals!.)

Overview

One year ago, a well-intentioned but self-loathing Facebook user put a group together for breast cancer. “Show your bra for breast cancer support,” she wrote. This movement to foster breast cancer “awareness” did little more than provide a bunch of internet pervs with wanking material. (As if there’s a shortage of objectified female body parts both online and ITRW, amiright ladies?)

Well, this “bras for breast cancer” group highlighted another kind of cancer that’s infecting our culture, my friends. A cancer of the metaphorical kind. It’s called sexism, you see, and it involves the sexualization, dehumanization and objectification of girls and women. This cancer manifests in myriad ways: rape apologism and rape culture; the policing of women’s bodies and conduct; a denial of women’s reproductive rights; and the use of women’s sex(uality) to sell anything and everything under the sun, including social justice movements – to name but a few examples. This cancer has been metastasizing for millennia – since the dawn of the kyriarchy – and has claimed the souls of billions of females the world over.

As a vegan and a feminist, I’m sad to say that many of my animal-hugging brothers (and not a few sisters) have yet to acknowledge the existence and power of the kyriarchy. Worse still, many of them happily act as its foot soldiers, enforcing and reinforcing its oppressive memes: sexism and misogyny (natch), as well as racism, homophobia, transphobia, colonialism, xenophobia, ableism, sizeism, lookism – and even, at times, speciesism. Just this morning, I was browsing my friends’ Facebook feeds when I came across a group called “Support For The Seals!,” which purports to help seals by encouraging women to send in pictures of their “boobies.” Um, say what now?

Rather than rant and bitch and blame the kyriarchy, as I so often do, I decided to create “Schlongs For The Seals!,” as a sort of “sister” page to “Support For The Seals!” By applying the “sex sells” principle to men’s bodies (omg cocks!), I hope to turn campaigns which rely on the objectification of women’s bodies (omg boobies!) on their heads (tee hee, she said “heads”!), thus demonstrating how truly ridiculous these ads really are.

Mission

Men, please show us your “junk shots”! Show your support for the seals (and cows and pigs and cats and rats, etc.) – and your vegan sisters – with some cock cleavage. The more over-the-top, the better! Enhance your pants with some extra padding, turning that size small jock strap into a double-XL.

Ladies, don’t feel left out! Don a pair of men’s undies, stuff ‘em with socks or a Not Dog! or whatnot, and snap away.

No nudity, please; simple tighty whities or boxer briefs will do.

And everyone: please stand against oppression, wherever you find it. Sexism = racism = speciesism. Live vegan, always and in every way.

Of course, this is all rather tongue-in-cheek. Thus far, the only “junk shots” uploaded to the page are fake ones I created using underwear advertisements, television and movie stills, and the like. I also created a few faux PSAs, “sponsored” by the shadow group VAPETA (borrowed from the always-awesome blog Vegans Against PETA), as well as some humorous promotional materials. Fans are welcome to post their own campy crotch shots as well.
 

VAPETA PSA - SCHLONGS4SEALS 05

Image #5 in the SCHLONGS4SEALS series. Starring Gubernator Arnold Schwarzenegger as Conan the Barbarian (from the 1982 film of the same name), our VAPETA spokesman appears decked out in a Hyborian Age getup of a leather and fur loincloth, complete with matching head and arm bands. Sword at his side, Conan implores the viewer to “PUNCH CAMELS, NOT SEALS.” A seal pokes her head up from the bottom left-hand side of the screen to snark: “He must be one of those single-issue celebs.”
(The punchline, for puzzled readers: in the movie, a drunken Conan stumbles into a camel, whereupon he punches her in the face for the “infraction.” It’s a semi-famous scene, even spawning its own misogynist slang.)
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While this effort was most definitely inspired by Support For The Seals!, the page is really just a symptom of a larger problem – namely, sexism and misogyny (and every other “ism” under the sun) that permeate the animal advocacy community. (As a ringleader on this front, this would be where PETA indirectly comes into play.) [1] Thus, while “boobies/schlongs for seals” is the primary focus of the page, some of the ancillary materials address related issues (for example, PETA’s willingness to partner with leather-wearing celebrities in protest of fur).

But what about the objectification of men?

A valid concern, and one I anticipated and considered before creating the page. The whole is turnabout fair play, if used to facilitate an a-ha! moment?” question is one I’ve been mulling over for several years now – ever since I saw this representation of like objectification of male and female superheroes. The debate over whether the comic (and gaming) industry’s trend towards impossibly huge-breasted and scantily-clad heroines is sexist usually devolves into some inanity about the unrealistic musculature of Superman & Co. Attempts to explain, with words, how this objectification – if you can call it that – is not at all comparable usually fall on deaf ears. These three crudely rendered visuals, on the other hand? Priceless. (If I had a whit of artistic ability, I’d “translate” a comic book for every male superhero, I tell you what.)

But do such images necessarily objectify men, thus becoming similarly oppressive in nature? I don’t think so, for three reasons:

1) Context matters. In a vacuum, SCHLONGS4SEALS might appear the male equivalent to Support For the Seals! – i.e., just as objectifying to men as the latter is to women. However, we don’t live in a vacuum; context matters. And the context with which we’re dealing is a sexist and misogynist culture in which women are routinely sexualized, bestialized, objectified and otherwise exploited. While the kyriarchy is not kind to most men, as a whole (and other group memberships being equal) this group fares better than its female counterpart. Certainly, men’s bodies and their disembodied parts – particularly those which are deemed “sexual” [3] – are not routinely used to sell everything from jeans to cars to car insurance to social justice movements (the occasional humorous Diet Coke exception aside). [4]

Given this context, I’d argue that the bar for male objectification is set much, much higher than that for female objectification – because, in mainstream culture, we simply aren’t socialized to view men that way. My one lone Facebook page isn’t going to change this; hell, a million Facebook pages won’t change it. Thus, this inversion of objectification ultimately reads as more ridiculous or humorous than it does objectifying. [5]

VAPETA PSA - SCHLONGS4SEALS 06

The source photo for this sixth image in the VAPETA SCHLONGS4SEALS series is a screenshot of an old Seinfeld episode. In “The Pick” (Season 4, Episode 13), Cosmo Kramer (aka Michael Richards) auditions to become a Calvin Klein underwear model. The still above shows Kramer entering the CK office dressed in nothing but a pair of tighty whities, white athletic socks, and black (leather?) dress shoes. The ad’s copy reads, “MICHAEL RICHARDS FOR VAPeTA” and “SCHLONGS4(WHITECOAT)SEALS / ‘I’ve got a Benetton heart and a fuckin’ David Duke cock.'” in purple and white text. A seal pokes her head from the bottom of the frame, whispering to the audience: “Pssst! I thought John Mayer was the douchenozzle with a ‘white supremacist dick’?” (You know, just in case the joke wasn’t readily apparent.)
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IMHO, this is also the dynamic from which such images draw their power: when women are reduced to tits and ass, we barely notice, as disembodied tits and asses can be found everywhere. Female objectification is just so blasé. But when men are subjected to likewise objectification, the result is…unusual. Absurd. Shocking, even. Viewers take note of the incongruity between the images on the screen and the cultural milieu in which they exist.

And hopefully, when presented with a little social commentary, such images – and the reactions they evoke – will help to illustrate how this objectification, when visited upon female bodies, is equally ridiculous.

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2) SCHLONGS4SEALS is deliberately outrageous and over-the-top. Starting with the title (Does there exist a more juvenile slang term for “penis” than “schlong”? I think not!), I tried to make the page as obviously silly as possible. I don’t intend for viewers to take this male objectification literally or seriously, but rather to understand it as a piece of satire (and an educational tool to boot). Hence the cute, fluffy seals peppering the “junk shots,” the liberal use of ridiculous slang, and the faux “offshoot groups” – not to mention, the photos of cartoon characters in their tighty whities, the still of a diapered toddler snagged from the latest Huggies commercial (which I so love for its weirdness and borderline perversity!), and additional stills of “famous” on-screen moments in men’s underwear (most of them played for comedic effect, naturally – and in direct opposition to how such moments unfold when it’s women wearing the lingerie).

3) Though the page’s copy might not stress this point enough, I do not expect (m)any actual men to post photos of their actual crotches (at least, not in their natural states). For starters, I don’t anticipate overwhelming audience participation here – which is why I created a bunch of my own “junk shots.” Granted, a number of these photos are of conventionally attractive underwear models, with a decided emphasis on the crotch region – but as I argue in #1 above, I don’t think that these images are inherently objectifying. (If women only appeared naked and disembodied in underwear ads, I’d be quite the happy camper.) Also noted above, I made sure to include a variety of men, of different shapes and sizes – including the fictional and the animated.

When and if “real” men do submit their own photos, I encourage absurdity. Since conventional Western female beauty standards idealize large (cosmetically enhanced) breasts, I likewise urge anyone who wishes to participate to send in photos of themselves wearing men’s underwear that has been enhanced with, um, “outside” materials – socks, Not Dogs!, vibrators, stuffed animals, whatever. The bigger and campier, the better.

Nor do I limit audience participation to men; women are welcome to send in their own flamboyantly embellished “junk shots” as a sort of feminist “fuck you” to that other page. Probably I’ll also slap on a pair of men’s briefs and photograph my own bad self when I get the chance, too.

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Update, 7/5/10: Done and done!
Image: A stuffed gray seal emerges from the fly of my men’s BLAH BLAH BLAH brand boxer briefs.
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If anyone does happen to submit a photo that I find genuinely objectifying, either in intent or practice (Such as, say, an upskirt photo of an unwitting man; but does a male equivalent of the upskirt photo even exist?), I will remove it from the page.

Anyhow, that’s what I was up to last weekend. If you’re intrigued and/or on Facebook, feel free to “like” and share the page (or not), post your own photos and – most importantly – bookmark it for future use. For example, the next time someone responds to your carefully crafted, 2,000 word essay with the oh-so-thoughtful retort, “But PETA [or whomever] objectifies men, too!”
 

VAPETA PSA - SCHLONGS4SEALS 02

In this VAPETA PSA, a (young, white, ripped) naked man (naughty bits discretely covered with a pair of undies) and seal lounge together on the beach. The man – his eyes closed, a faraway look on his face – seems lost in rapturous thought. In sharp contrast, the seal exists in the here and now: flippers clasped to his side, a look of hilarity on his face, the seal appears to be rolling in the sand with laughter. The ad’s copy reads, “SCHLONGS4 SEALS / BEAT OFF, NOT SEALS” and “SOME HORNY GUY FOR VAPeTA.” A thought bubble emanating from the seal’s head reveals his opinion re: this “campaign”: “Oh, PETA. $34 million & this is the best you can do? Fuck me. No, ryl.”
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Footnotes

[1] According to the page’s info, Seal Shepherd is the mastermind behind Support For The Seals! As far as I can tell, SS is not related to PETA, though it/he does base its/his campaign on PETA’s own Save the Seals celebrity tee dealio (and it/he also hawks PETA’s t-shirts accordingly on its FB page). There are some other shenanigans going on with SS – to which I was tipped off after launching the page – but that’s a morass I’ve zero desire to get sucked up into.

Interestingly, Save the Seals is one of handful of celebrity-studded PETA campaigns that is (relatively) gender-neutral and nudity-free (save for Pamela Anderson’s contribution, seen above – and on Support For The Seals!, natch). [2] Thus, Seal Shepherd has managed to take a campaign to which I was somewhat indifferent, and make me loathe it with the heat of a thousand suns. Well done, SS! Thus is the transitive power of PETA’s misogyny – from PETA to SS and back to PETA again.

[2] Though still arguably problematic from a single-issue perspective.

[3] And here it’s worth noting that men possess fewer sexualized body parts than do women; less of men’s real estate is considered eye candy for the female gaze than is women’s for the male gaze.

[4] Should you disagree with me on this most fundamental of points, might I direct you to PETA’s own oeuvre? I don’t mean to pick on them, it’s just…the picking’s easy, you know?

[5] Again considering context, I should also point out that some groups of men (and women) are more readily objectified than others. Men of color, for example, are oftentimes stereotyped as base, animalistic, hyper-sexual beings – predators, even – thus rendering their sexual objectification that much easier. The bar for objectification depends not just on gender, but also race, ethnicity, nationality, sexuality, gender identity, class and religion (to name but a few), as well as the power differential(s) between all parties involved.
 

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9 Responses to “Show us your tits! (For the animals, of course.) [Believe it or not, this isn’t another post about PETA. Not directly, anyhow.]”

  1. Shannon (Vegan Burnout) Says:

    I love you. I love this. I just may shimmy into a pair of the husband’s boxers and upload a photo!

    Also, I am filled with envy at your Photoshop skillz. I can barely fix redeye.

    Keep smashing the kyriarchy!

  2. Jennie Says:

    Amazing. I wonder if we can get the feminist studies major who lives in my house and has a penis to participate.. he does love roaming in his undies.

    PS, Your Photoshop skills pwn. That first graphic is awesome x100.

  3. Corvus Says:

    I almost died with “Punch Camels not Seals” and “Beat off, Not Seals”. Thanks for putting a smile on my face today. Oh, and I joined your group andwill be posting a hard-packed crotch shot.

  4. Kelly Garbato Says:

    Here’s my contribution: http://www.easyvegan.info/img/seal-schlong-01.jpg

    I’m still working on the husband, but will probably have to settle for dressing the dogs in some old kid’s Scooby Doo underoos I have saved. (Errr, wait, that sounded creepier than I meant for it to. They belonged to my younger brother. Wait, that sounds worse. I’ll stop now.)

    @ Corvus – you must be Corvid Irata on FB, right? Well done! (And you even, um, beat me to the punch! Nyuck, nyuck, nyuck.)

  5. nikki craft Says:

    Don’t forget

    Pricks for Seals
    Pricks for Pinnipeds
    Dongs for Dugongs and Dolphins
    http://www.facebook.com/note.php?note_id=402063768181

    All animals need our support by flashing our boobs and pricks. They need us all.

    We owe much to seaL (that L stands for Loser) shepherd aka Michael McDade/Paul McVay/Sacha Cohen and of course PeTA who started the “Boobs for Seals” group on Facebook. Without them we would not be having nearly this much fun.

  6. Intersectionality ‘Round the Interwebs, No. 23: lolz the douche away. » V for Vegan: easyVegan.info Says:

    […] [Schlong4Seals! OMG, just reflecting on all the man-sausages and dick jokes waiting in the wings is enough to bring a smile to my normally frowny face. (I almost always look annoyed, even when I'm not; it's must be the humorless feminist in me, I guess.) I was a little incensed when the Fraternal Order of Facebook killed my SCHLONGS4SEALS group, but in retrospect, I think they did me a solid. A solid I shall return by plastering FB with links to all my super-awesome crotch shots and "seven ways to save the seals using only your cock" posts! Oh, I cannot wait. *Channeling the spirit of Will Ferrell*] […]

  7. assless chaps for peace – Schlongs4Seals Says:

    […] Well, wonder no more! Inspired by the…creative? artistic? sexist? yeah, that’s it!…Inspired by the sexist “Support For The Seals!” Facebook page, this vegan feminist is proud to bring you Schlongs4Seals! Here at Schlongs4Seals, our motto is simple (and scantily clad): Show us your pricks! (For the animals, of course.) […]

  8. randomness: dicks, books, girls, lemons, pigs and pizzas! » V for Vegan: easyVegan.info Says:

    […] note for the newbies and occasional readers: if all this cock talk has you flummoxed, go here for some […]

  9. facebook, consider this your courtesy hello. – Schlongs4Seals Says:

    […] dicks, books, girls, lemons, pigs and pizzas! » V for Vegan: easyVegan.info on PhotosShow us your tits! (For the animals, of course.) [Believe it or not, this isn't another post ab… on […]

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