Mayhem!

Tuesday, May 1st, 2012

Normally I adore Allstate’s “Mayhem” commercials – my (as of now not-so-) secret crush on Dean Winters* being reason numero uno – but I loathe their latest edition, “Guard Dog.” Seriously, I start shouting at the tv / my husband / the dogs whenever it comes on. And yet, Dean Winters! I am unable to look away.

Guard Dog Mahem, how do I hate thee? Let me count the ways:

  1. If my house were ever burglarized while I was away, I’d want my dogs – all seven of ’em – to run and hide: under the bed, in a closet, behind the couch, whatever, wherever. Make themselves scarce. Disappear without a peep. Stay safe. What I wouldn’t want is for them to be injured or killed while protecting my property.

    Computers and tv sets can be replaced; my family members cannot.

  2. You hook your dog up to instruments of torture (i.e., “shock collars”) and expect him to be loyal, loving, and obedient, to the point of risking his life to “guard” your home? Fuck that noise!
  3. In this scenario, the dog is mayhem? How about the burglars? Feh, such bullshit.

Also, there are what – four thieves? One dog vs. four humans? Doggie Dean Winters would get his ribs broken and his ass handed to him. You bet he’s choosing the bone over a fight.

* Law & Order: SVU! Terminator: The Sarah Connor Chronicles! 30 Rock! (In chronological order, not order of awesomeness!)

Consuming Women, No. 6: blender? He hardly knew her!*

Monday, March 14th, 2011

Trigger warning for violent imagery, some of which involves female nudity, under the jump.**

A subsidiary of the department store Beymen, blender bills itself as a “concept store.” (Caution: meat-loving hipsters ahead!) The “concept” (scare quotes because the whole concept of a concept store is way too fucking pretentious for this thrift store shopper to stand), as you may have already surmised, involves the pairing of fashion with misogyny, the conflation of sex and violence, and the linkage of women and nonhuman animals: consumable objects, unite!

With several locations in Istanbul and Ankara, Turkey, blender doesn’t just sell clothing and assorted shiny baubles; oh no! Nor are body dysmorphia and low self-esteem its only wares. Ever the hipster-catering douchebags, each blender store is also home to a butcher shop! Because nothing accents a $500 white angora scarf quite like ghastly blood smear stain. (No, really!)

Curiously, blender attempts to sell its audience on this concept by treating at least half of them like pieces of meat, too!

(More below the fold…)

Intersectionality ‘Round the Interwebs, No. 25: Vegan nomz & Bowl-a-thons!

Sunday, March 6th, 2011

Vegan cookies are distributed

Vegan cookies are distributed at a Prop 8 rally in Riverside, CA, circa 2008.
CC image via Flickr user lierne.

For this edition of Intersectionality ‘Round the Interwebs, let’s start with some shiny happy news for a change, shall we? Namely, cross-movement bridge-building with vegan nomz and bowl-a-thons!

(Take note, carnists and defensive omnivores: vegans are not, in point o’ facts, all single-minded activists who prioritize nonhuman over human animals. Also: we are quite capable of multitasking, thankyouverymuch.)

Vegan Protest Fuel: Feeding the protesters in Madison, WI

Vegan Protest Fuel is the first of two projects I’d like to share with y’all (and, if you happen to have a little extra scratch laying around, encourage you to contribute to). Started just last week in response to the ongoing protests in Wisconsin, the good folks at Vegan Protest Fuel deliver vegan food to peaceful protesters defending their rights – because “Everyone Needs to Eat.” Naturally, their first campaign is feeding “the tenacious heroes in Madison, WI, who are fighting to preserve their precious collective bargaining rights and for economic justice in their state against a radical conservative governor and assembly.” Over time, they hope to expand their program throughout the United States and, possibly, the world.

Powered by tofu: it’s not just a slogan on a tee, yo.

See also: Food Not Bombs, Food for Life Global, HIPPO, A Well-Fed World and Ample Harvest.

Team Vegan Vixens: Bowling for abortions in the National Abortion Access Bowl-a-Thon!

Team Vegan Vixens needs your support in the National Abortion Access Bowl-a-Thon! Held throughout the month of April,

The Bowl-a-Thon is a nationwide series of local events that allow community members (you!) to captain your own bowling team, participate in a kickass national event – and raise money to help women and girls pay for abortions they couldn’t otherwise afford.

Abortion Funds are local, grassroots groups that work tirelessly to help low-income and disadvantaged women who want an abortion and do not have enough money to pay for it. Abortion Funds help women pay for their abortions, help them buy bus or plane tickets, and even offer women a place to stay when they have to travel for an abortion. Abortion Funds make a difference in women’s lives…and you can join them!

With $236 raised so far, Team Vegan Vixens is currently the top fundraiser for the Chicago Abortion Fund, which ranks #8 overall. Help Team Vegan (Vixens!) represent by pledging your support. Or sign up to participate your own bad self!

Fuck yeah, pro-choice vegans.

(More below the fold…)

"PETA is about as feminist as it gets."

Monday, February 28th, 2011

Over the weekend, PETA’s Bruce Friedrich was the featured guest on ARZone’s weekly live guest chat. (You can find a full chat transcript here.) While the primary focus was on veganism and welfare reforms, a few participants dared question PETA’s feminist cred – specifically vis à vis its sexual objectification of women – with, ahem, interesting results. Case in point: Friedrich’s assertion that “PETA is about as feminist as it gets.”

My initial instinct, of course, was to pen a 10,000 word, line-by-line rebuttal of Friedrich’s statements, but just the thought damn near gave me an aneurysm. So not worth the stress! Instead, I decided to pop the vegan maraschino cherry on my Anti-Feminist Vegetarian Bingo card.

The game? It’s on like Donkey Kong, bitches!*

Bingo Card (Anti-Feminist Vegetarian Bingo 1) - Bruce Friedrich's AR Zone chat

Anti-Feminist Vegetarian Bingo: Bruce Friedrich/ARZone Live Chat ed.
FYI: A plain-text version of this card, complete with links to refutations and debunkings, is available here.
——————————

SO CLOSE! We were SO CLOSE to scoring a big fat sexist bingo! Next time, maybe. Probably. Most definitely.

Anyway, let’s take a look at of some of the “feminist” nuggets Friedrich dropped during the chat. The “hits” are labeled with the appropriate square; the non-hits, to be incorporated into v.2!

Square B-1: “Sex sells.”

Regarding our use of sex in our campaigns:

[…]

2) Sex sells and isn’t offensive to most people. That’s the super-brief reply to that question.

Oh, the old “sex sells” cliché! Such a classic, that one.

99.9% of the time, when people say that “sex sells,” what they really mean is that women’s sexualized, dehumanized, objectified, dismembered, and all-around pornified bodies sell. Or, put more succinctly: “sexism sells.”

Speaking of GQ magazine’s recent Glee spread, Anita Sarkeesian of Feminist Frequency breaks down the difference between “erotic or sexual images, stories, and video of people engaging in healthy sexual lives and experiences” and “the patriarchal objectification and sexualization of womens’ bodies.” (Transcript here.)

The images in which PETA trades don’t commonly involve healthy depictions of female agency and sexuality, but rather women posed and performing for the male gaze; usually invisible or implied, but sometimes – as with PETA’s 2011 soft-core porno/Super Bowl ad, which is discussed in more detail later on in the chat – fully present, leering, sneering and degrading. Almost all of PETA’s naked women ads are suggestive of mainstream pornography, what with their emphasis on thin, white, conventionally attractive models, bent and contorted into submissive postures, vulnerable, vacant, and ready for a good fuckin’. Bonus points for faux lesbianism for het male enjoyment!

(More below the fold…)

A Dozen Ways to Serve a Sweet Potato (A Photo Essay)

Saturday, November 27th, 2010

Fry's Vegetarian - Sweet potato

Regular readers know that I’m no stranger to pop culture analysis. (In fact, I watch so much television that it’s only a matter of time before I start to resemble the potato above. But at least it’s sweet!) Well, for my next VeganMoFo trick, watch while I dissect the above advertisement – and then refute it with some super-hot vegan food (not-)porn action. Shall we?

A large, rather symmetrical sweet potato (Seriously, when’s the last time you’ve seen such a beautifully proportioned sweet potato? I would love to peel the hell out of that baby!) occupies most of the real estate in the ad above. The potato is dissected into six discrete pieces by a cartoon-like, white dotted line that’s been superimposed over it, thus evoking the look and feel of old-timey butchers’ posters. You know the kind: hanging in Sam the Butcher’s storefront, such posters helpfully illustrate the different “cuts” of meat one can obtain from the body of a murdered and dismembered nonhuman animal. (Google, for example, “cuts of beef”. This is an image that PETA seems fond of mimicking/parodying, with debatable success. But I digress, and dangerously so!) Other images in the series depict a zucchini and eggplant carved up similarly.

Because every “cut” of the sweet potato is identical to the others, the ad seems to be suggesting that such visual analogies are ridiculous; humorous, even. Compared to “meat,” plant-based foods are boring. Monotonous. Lacking in variety or diversity. Undifferentiated masses of blah. In other words, being a vegan/vegetarian sucks balls.

The most interesting aspect of this ad series is that it’s promoting – wait for it! – vegetarian food (!). Specifically, Fry’s Vegetarian Foods, which specializes in meals heavy in mock “meat.” Though I’m disappointed to see a vegetarian company engage in the negative stereotyping of plant-based foods, I can’t exactly say that I’m shocked, given the context.

I know, I know; it’s all in good fun, right? Except when it’s not. The consumption of animal flesh and secretions is largely a choice in Western cultures – and one category of “reasons” (excuses, really) that carnists commonly use to justify their dietary choices involves societal mythconceptions and prejudices concerning cruelty-free options, i.e., that any foodstuffs that do not contain animal by-/products are necessarily boring, bland and monotonous. Rather than cater to these harmful stereotypes, we should actively challenge them.

Which brings me to the VeganMoFo Photo Essay portion of this post. What follows are twelve gorgeous, creative, yummy dishes that incorporate sweet potatoes as a primary ingredient. (I might have just as easily executed this project with zucchini or eggplant, but hey, ’tis the season, am I right?) The tip of the proverbial iceberg, these photos and recipes demonstrate that vegan foods are anything but boring.

Now grab a knife, fork and potato peeler and dig in, MoFo-ers!

1. Roasted Sweet Potato Salad With Black Beans and Chili Dressing:

sweet potato salad

(More below the fold…)

more randomness: food, needs, food needs, dairy/rape, dennis kucinich & dogs

Sunday, August 15th, 2010
  • After a nearly six month hiatus, I have a new post up at Animal Rights & AntiOppression! In an interview with humane educator Zoe Weil, we look at the connections between our treatment of nonhuman animals, the earth, and one another, and explore humane education as the bridge between seemingly disparate social justice movements – and the solution to our many (many!) human-made ills.

    Check it: “The World Becomes What You Teach”: An Interview With Humane Educator Zoe Weil

  • Based on Maslow’s hierarchy of needs (psych101 students, represent!), Ellyn Satter developed a corresponding hierarchy of food needs, arguing that one cannot “choose” to consume healthy products unless one’s more basic needs – such as having enough food to eat, having acceptable food, and having reliable, ongoing access to food – are already met.

    Satter's Hierarchy of Food Needs

    Satter’s Hierarchy of Food Needs:
    Bottom to top, the six needs are as follows: Enough food; Acceptable food; Reliable, ongoing access to food; Good-tasting food; Novel food; and Instrumental food.

    The choice to consume vegan food (vs. the necessity of consuming vegan food) seems to rest at the apex of Satter’s hierarchy, and as such, can only be made “when all underlying needs are consistently satisfied”: “The person functioning at the apex of Satter’s Hierarchy of Food Needs reliably gets enough to eat of rewarding food and has food acceptance skills that are good enough to allow him or her to eat a variety of food. That person is thus in a position to consider choosing food for instrumental reasons: to achieve a desired physical, cognitive, or spiritual outcome. This description is analogous to Maslow’s concept of self actualization.”
    ——————————

    While this hierarchy is primarily being discussed in relation to our consumption (or lack thereof) of nutritious, healthy food, i.e.:

    The graphic suggests that getting enough food to eat is the most important thing to people. Having food be acceptable (e.g., not rotten, something you are not allergic to) comes second. Once those two things are in place, people hope for reliable access to food and only then do they begin to worry about taste. If people have enough, acceptable, reliable, good-tasting food, then they seek out novel food experiences and begin to make choices as to what to eat for instrumental purposes (e.g., number of calories, nutritional balance).

    As Michelle at The Fat Nutritionist writes, sometimes when a person chooses to eat nutritionally deficient or fattening foods, it is not because they are “stupid, ignorant, lazy, or just a bad, bad person who loves bad, bad food.” Sometimes, it’s “because other needs come first.” (Source: Sociological Images)

    it’s equally applicable to veganism and vegan foods: obstacles such as hunger, poverty, food insecurity, lack of access to food, etc., severely constrict people’s ability to choose a vegan diet, on multiple levels (e.g., individual, community, population). As long as we’re serious about creating a vegan world, we must address these human inequities as well. (That, and it’s the right thing to do.)

    Check out the Food Empowerment Project for more.

  • (More below the fold…)

    Why not just liberate the fucking farm, hmmm?

    Friday, July 9th, 2010

    Butch Dog Food Ad - Full of Meat

    An ad for Butch dog food, in two parts. The panel on the left shows neatly wrapped sausage, over which is superimposed the following text: “I’m as guilty as the next girl of licking the odd bone. But believe me, there’s no substitute for being stuffed full of meat.” In the right panel sits a small pug, an expectantly eager look on her face. Just in case her gender isn’t readily apparent, the ad is dripping in pink.

    Writing about the life and death of porn star Stephen Hill – perhaps most famous for his role as Barack Obama in Palin: Erection 2008 – in Salon, journalist Susannah Breslin bemoans the fate of male porn actors, or “mopes”:

    If porn is a joke — and, particularly these days, it most assuredly is — male porn stars are its punch line. Reams of text have been written about how porn supposedly victimizes the women who work in this branch of the sex trade, but inside the straight porn industry, it’s the female performers who have the greater power, higher status and bigger paycheck. […] So-called woodsmen are paid significantly less than their female counterparts, for their efforts are treated like props on the movie sets where they perform near Herculean sex acts of which most men can only dream […] and more often than not end up as decapitated, frantically thrusting tubes of meat in this industry’s final product. Due to the hardcore nature of the porn business and the toll it takes upon all its workers, the porn industry functions as a meat grinder for the human condition, and men are its offal. They may score bragging rights as professional cocksmen, but the reality is these are the working stiffs of a business that has virtually no interest in the men it employs and all the interest in the world in the women with whom its movies are forever preoccupied.

    Just two paragraphs previous, Breslin described a visit to the set of a porn film, circa Valentine’s Day 2001:

    From the outside, it’s one more stucco building on a suburban street in the San Fernando Valley. Inside, some 90 men have congregated to masturbate on a young woman for the making of an adult movie called “American Bukkake 13.”

    Sabrina Jade, who has long, reddish brown hair and emerald green, catlike eyes, is seated on a towel in the middle of the floor. A plastic cone has been duct-taped around her neck like a funnel, or an Edwardian collar. Jim Powers, the director, came up with the idea when he saw a dog wearing a similar apparatus around its neck after a visit to the vet.

    (Links and emphasis mine.)

    Um, yeah. If men are “tubes of meat,” women are the farmed animals who are force-fed the least desirable pieces of their murdered and dismembered cousins. Forced into carnism and/or cannibalism; at once “meat” and “meat-eater.” Enslaved, caged, tortured. Right up until the time when they’re hoisted into the air, hung upside-down by a hook through the thigh, and left to die, throats slit, bleeding out. In the meantime, maybe some randomly passing slaughterhouse worker decides to jerk off into the dying animal’s eyes. Just so he knows, in that 30 seconds, that it’s not he at the bottom of the shitpile, nosiree.

    Maybe, maybe not.

    And that’s all I’ll say about that.*

    (More below the fold…)

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

    Wednesday, June 30th, 2010

    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!

    —————–

    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!

    —————–

    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).
    ——————————

    —————–

    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!

    —————–

    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.”
    ——————————

    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.

    (More below the fold…)

    Reclaiming the F-Word, Expanding the V-Word

    Friday, June 11th, 2010

    I can’t see the point in women being equal to men if men are not equal to each other. *

    Yes!

    And also:

    I can’t see the point in nonhuman animals being equal to humans if humans are not equal to each other.

    Think about it.

    Redtape Shoes and Apparels - Fishtank

    (More below the fold…)

    If you fuckin’ with this bitch then you betta’ be paid.*

    Sunday, April 18th, 2010

    Mars, Inc. wants you to know that a bitch is a bitch is a bitch – and, whether she be digging for gold or for bones, that bitch ain’t shit.

    Mars Petfood Frolic - Pool

    Mars Petfood Frolic - Hotel

    Mars Petfood Frolic - Limo

    (More below the fold…)

    The Animal Experience (On the Peaceful Prairie Signature Billboard Campaign)

    Saturday, April 17th, 2010

    Peaceful Prairie - Signature Billboards

    Eight of Peaceful Prairie Sanctuary’s sixty-two Signature Billboards, all from the “We Know Our Victims Well” series. Clockwise from the top left:
    They long to live as much as we do.
    (A single white duck gazes into the camera.)
    They long to be loved as much as we do.
    (Hen and rooster Libbie and Louie find refuge in one another’s touch.)
    They face life together like we do.
    (A pair of ducks wander through the snow.)
    They love their children as much as we do.
    (An adult llama and his child smile together.)
    They need their mothers as much as we do.
    (A cow nuzzles his mother.)
    They protect their children as fiercely as we do.
    (A cow and her calf stare defiantly ahead.)
    They raise families like we do.
    (A duck family – complete with five youngsters – strolls along in harmony.)
    They fall in love like we do.
    (One cow licks another with obvious affection.)
    ——————————

    A few weeks ago, the always-awesome Peaceful Prairie Sanctuary unveiled a new campaign to aid activists in combating speciesism – and all the oppressions it sanctions – specifically that directed towards “food” animals. With its Signature Billboards, Peaceful Prairie gives faces, individualities, life stories, and emotions to the many animals we call “food” – cows, pigs, chickens, ducks, sheep, lambs, goats and fishes:

    They speak for themselves…

    We don’t always have the opportunity to raise awareness of the animals’ plight during daily email correspondence but now, with Peaceful Prairie Sanctuary’s latest campaign, we’ve made it easy and effective for anyone to learn how their actions can save the lives of other animals, lives that matter to them as much our lives matter to us.

    The graphics – each of which pictures one or more nonhuman animals, as well as a brief but powerful statement about her life experiences, relationships with/to other nonhumans, and/or personhood – are organized around four main themes:

    • We Know Our Victims Well;
    • 55 Billion Reasons to Live Vegan;
    • Humane Farming, An Oxymoron; and
    • Subjects of a Life

    Designed for use as email signatures, you can also display these graphics on your blog or website, or share them on social media sites such as Facebook and Twitter.

    (More below the fold…)

    Ask not "Are Animal Lovers Sexist?," but "Can Animal Lovers Be Sexist?" (Answer: duh.)

    Sunday, March 21st, 2010

    lol kaylee - just needs a hammer

    Don’t fear, Ms. Kaylee is here! lol dog sez, “wonder beyatch – be hear 2 smash ur kyriarchy, mkay?” She brought her Wonder Woman undies, but she’ll need to borrow a hammer. You got a problem with that, human?
    ——————————

    Last November, I penned a brief letter to the editors of VegNews, in which I questioned Rory Freedman’s casual use of the term “fur hag” – “hag” being a sexist, ageist and lookist slur. (VegNews subscribers can read the exact quote in context in Freedman’s column, “Prison or Bust,” which appeared in the December 2009 issue.) Fast-forward several months; my letter was published, albeit with several edits, in the March+April 2010 issue.

    Not surprisingly – given the popularity of the term, as well as PETA’s “fur hag” campaigns – some readers disagreed with my comments, including Annie Hartnett of change.org’s newly-rebranded Animals blog. (Many thanks to Marji of Animal Place for bringing the post to my attention!) In Are Animal Lovers Sexist?, Hartnett argues that, ahem, attacking women for their femaleness is not sexist because most fur-wearers are women.

    While I have previously deconstructed the term “fur hag” – as well as the campaigns’ associated imagery – what follows is a line-by-line response to Hartnett’s piece. Rather than rehash points that I’ve made elsewhere, however, I’ll use this as an opportunity to build upon my previous argument. If you haven’t already, please go read last January’s On “fur hags” and “fucking bitches.” before continuing on; doubly so if you’re surfing on over here from change.org. (Also related, and referenced in passing below: ARA PSAs: Women, Men and Fur and ARA PSAs: Attack of the Killer Cosmetics.) (1)

    Before we begin, though, I’d like to reprint my letter, as Hartnett did not/would not do so, even upon request.

    Here is the original letter, in its entirety:

    As a vegan feminist, I’m increasingly disturbed by the number of animal advocates who are willing to engage in sexism (and other “isms”) in the course of their advocacy – “for the animals,” of course (as if women are not sentient beings as well). Take, for example, Rory Freedman’s use of the term “fur hag” to describe those who wear fur (“Prison or Bust,” December 2009 issue). “Hag” – a gendered slur that is synonymous with “witch” – literally means “an ugly old woman.” While fur-wearers may indeed be ugly on the inside, a person’s gender, age and physical appearance say nothing of her character. If Ms. Freedman – or any other animal advocate – feels the need to resort to insults, please keep them “ism”-free. “Jerk,” “loser,” “asshat”: all convey a point – without further marginalizing already-marginalized groups of animals, human or non.

    Kelly Garbato
    Kearney, MO 64060

    kelly.garbato [at] gmail.com
    http://www.easyvegan.info

    By the way, I wrote a lengthy piece on the term “fur hag” last year, wherein I expound upon the sexist, ageist and sizeist nature of the phrase in much greater detail than is possible in 250 words or less. Additionally, I employ PETA’s associated “fur hag” campaign imagery to further illustrate my point. You can read the post in its entirety at http://bit.ly/vl8sB

    Seriously, tho’, enough with the misogyny!

    (More below the fold…)

    Intersectionality ‘Round the Interwebs, No. 15: BEEF!, Bitches & "Bruised Feelings"

    Tuesday, January 26th, 2010

    BEEF! For Men With Taste

    vegansaurus!: BEEF!: nicht für Frauen–unless your Mann gives it to you

    In which “beef” has its own magazine (and it’s a gentleman’s magazine, natch!): BEEF! for Men with Taste. Luckily, vegansaurus is all over that shit.

    Ida @ L.O.V.E.: Political Correctness, Political Expediency, and Veganism and

    Royce @ Vegans of Color: notes on “Veganism Overly Defined”

    Ida (taking a break from The Vegan Ideal to guest post at L.O.V.E.) and Royce respond to a guest post at Vegan Soapbox (Veganism Overly Defined) in which the author dismisses an intersectional approach to veganism and animal advocacy as “attach[ing] favorite causes” and “baggage” to “Veganism.” Likewise, vegans who object to human-based “isms” “get so involved in the bruised feelings of some humans that the plight of voiceless animals becomes a marginalized issue.” Emphasis on “bruised feelings.”

    Carol J. Adams: Remembering Mary Daly and

    jenna @ L.O.V.E.: Feminism and Animals: What You Won’t Find in the 101

    Mary Daly, a self-proclaimed “radical lesbian feminist,” recently passed away at the age of 81. While much has been written of Daly’s radfem theology, I didn’t realize that she was also an animal rights advocate and vegetarian until I read a memorial written for Daly by Carol Adams. Herself a former student of Daly’s, Adams’s obit is rather charming and provides a glimpse of what it must have been like to be a young adult attending college in the ’70s.

    Unfortunately, Daly was also something of a transphobe, perhaps most famously referring to trans people as “Frankensteinian.” On this point, jenna’s post at L.O.V.E is well worth a read; in it, she illustrates why, as advocates for justice, compassion and respect, it is ill-advised and hypocritical for vegans to leave any marginalized group, human or non, behind. (Also click through the many links jenna provides to The Vegan Ideal, where the intersection of ecofeminism and transphobia is discussed in much greater detail. That is, if you haven’t yet; I’ve included many of these posts in past link roundups.)

    (More below the fold…)

    On Queen Bees and Featherless Chickens

    Thursday, January 7th, 2010

    Update, 1/14/10:

    In the comments, Helen points out that all three animals – (pussy)cat, beaver and chicken (errr, rooster; read: cock) are euphemisms for female and male genitalia. I know, so obvious! How on earth did I miss it!? Especially when I caught the significance of the beaver! Clearly, I’ve been off my game lately.

    Anyhow, it’s my feeling that these gendered/speciesist slurs actually make the whole ad campaign that much more distasteful. While the targeting of men in addition to women might help to level the playing field, gender-wise (well, as much as it can be in a culture that disproportionately values women’s physical appearance and beauty – however it is defined – as opposed to men), we’re still faced with the exploitation and mockery of three nonhuman animals in order to sell…waxing products. Add to this the fact that the animals were specifically chosen for their correspondence to sexual slang, and…yeah. Ick, all around.

    —————

    One part “sexy meat,” one part zoo porn, with a little child sexploitation thrown in for good measure, these ads for Queen Bee Waxing are all kinds of creepy, no matter which way you slice ’em. (Not that I’m suggesting that you should slice them! They’re animals, not deli “meat”!)

    Queen Bee Waxing operates a Salon & Spa in Culver City, California. Its services include tanning, mani/pedis, facials, eyelash extensions (!), and all manner of body waxing: full leg, half leg, eyebrows, full arm, half arm, back, chest, underarms, lip, genitals, anus – wherever your body generates unsightly hair, the friendly “waxologists” of QB will be there, ripping it violently from its roots.

    One caveat: some forms of waxing will cost you extra if you’re a gross, hairy cave-dude. For reals! (Don’t you just love how they assume that all men are hairier than all women? In point o’ facts, my Italian ass just so happens to grow lusher body hair than my husband’s Irish one.)

    To illustrate just how childishly smooth QB can strip your bits, they’ve demonstrated their mad skills on unsuspecting animals! (Not for reals – I’m guessing/hoping that the animals below have suffered these indignities in a digital sense only.)

    From top to bottom, we have a cat, a beaver [insert obligatory joke re: women’s genitals here] and a chicken. Each of them stand stark naked, seemingly bewildered by their own baldness.

    Queen Bee Waxing - Cat

    (More below the fold…)

    Sexy Meat, No. 4: Portrait of the meat as a sex pot.

    Monday, December 28th, 2009

    Update, 2/8/10: These lovely ladies are now shaking their meaty bits on Suicide Food!

    Update, 1/7/10: In the comments, Cara pointed out that the cow isn’t in leaning on a bar counter as I first thought, but into a car window. She is indeed a prostitute – a “street walker,” if you will – picking up a john (that would be us, the viewer!). In this context, I think it likely that all three “food” animals are dressed as prostitutes from different decades: the ’80s, the ’50s, and the ’20s, maybe?

    Just when I thought it couldn’t possibly get any worse.

    —————–

    To date, all of the advertisements involving “sexy meat” that I’ve dissected have depicted, literally, “meat” – i.e., dead meat. While this conflation of sex with death and violence is incredibly disturbing, the advertisers’ motives for doing so are obvious: clearly, they want us to think not of the living, sentient beings these corpses used to be, but of the delicious, succulent foodstuffs that they have been processed into. Objectified, the animals are things to be bought, sold and consumed. Worse still, they are absent referents – invisible, erased beings whom we aren’t meant to consider at all.

    In this context, I’m not sure whether these advertisements for Martini Bitter are more or less disturbing than those for Rachachuros and McCormick seasonings or the DIY tutorial for making bikini-clad turkeys.

    Each image depicts a living “food” animal dressed to look like an “easy” woman.

    From top to bottom, we have:

    Martini Bitter - Beef

    “Beef”: In a smoky, hazy (read: seedy) bar or night club, a cow leans suggestively on the counter, as if to order a drink or “pick up” the man standing next to her – that is, the man behind the camera (hello, male gaze!). Her hoofs – which, somewhat suggestively, resemble the tips of two penises* – are crossed loosely at the wrists (ankles?). She’s white, with a full head of flowing white hair. However, the lighting in the bar casts a soft pink hue on her fur.

    We know that the cow is a “she” because her body has all the trappings of femininity: she wears a tight blue dress, complete with cleavage and plunging neckline (instead of multiple udders, the cow has been enhanced with two D-cups!); her outfit is accessorized with multiple necklaces and bracelets; and she carries a pink purse slung over one shoulder. (In fact, her garish pink purse doesn’t quite obscure the subtle curve of her ass; you can spot it, hiding in the shadows – if you dare!) The cow wears makeup, too: a hint of pink eyeshadow and lipstick. Sadly, the makeup might be the most tasteful aspect of this “artwork”!

    All in all, the “beef” ad has a very ’80s feel about it. Possibly the cow is just a “loose,” liberated women, looking for a one-night stand; or perhaps she’s a (*ahem*) “working girl.” Either way, the viewer is meant to understand that she (*gasp*) enjoys sex – and quite a bit of it, at that.

    (More below the fold…)

    Revenge of the Furred

    Monday, November 23rd, 2009

    When first I spotted this series of ads from Fur Free Alliance on Ads of the World, my mind immediately perceived the naked, brutalized human form as “female.” (Because, hey, isn’t it always?) “Ah, great, another hot, sexy, naked dead ‘chick’ getting all hot and sexy and naked and dead ‘for the animals.’ Just what we need!” So you can imagine my surprise, upon closer inspection, at finding a naked dude showing some abused skin for a pro-animal cause. A reversal of gender roles – hot damn!

    Fur Free - Angry fox, 1

    In case you can’t view the images, here we have a series of three ads, each of which shows a naked, white male being hunted and tormented by a gleeful fox – who is obviously another human, most likely also male, decked out in a fox outfit, all mascot-like.

    In the first ad, the human victim appears in the background; he’s sprawled unconscious on the ground, most likely dead, his naughty bits obscured by a strategically placed tree trunk. The fox stands off to the human’s left and in the foreground, legs spread shoulder-width apart, arms raised triumphantly. In his (her?) right hand/paw, the fox holds a gun. Most likely Mr./Ms. Fox went hunting, and “bagged” a human. (It’s worth noting that this slang – “bagged” – can be applied to sexual “conquests” as well bloodsports. Sex and violence, sex and death.) The caption reads, “Fox like this doesn’t exist.” (Fur Free Alliance is an international anti-fur organization; its website, which is in English, is “operated on behalf of the Fur Free Alliance by the Humane Society of the United States.” So while the caption appears to be broken English, I can’t tell whether this is intentional or not.)

    Fur Free - Angry fox, 2

    The next ad in the series shows the fox, still toting a gun in his right hand, dragging the now-conscious man through the underbrush. Again, the man is stark naked, this time with a pile of leaves (or is that a bush?) covering his groin. With his left hand, the man is trying to grab onto a tree; with his left, he reaches toward the fox, as if imploring him for mercy. “How does it feel?” the caption demands.

    (More below the fold…)

    And what if I love dogs, yoga and yogurt?

    Monday, August 24th, 2009

    The recent spate of probiotic/fiber-filled yogurt commercials is starting to make me loathe yogurt – even the vegan kind. And I freaking adore cherry and lemon Whole Soy!

    These dairy-based offenses have become so frequent that even Sarah Haskins – who has poked fun at yogurt ads not once, but twice – cannot keep up with all the stupid.

    First, we have this uber-obnoxious ad from Fiber One:

    In case you can’t view the video, here’s the gist: A thin, blonde, WASP-y looking woman – who, incidentally, appears to have stepped straight out of the ’80s – runs into a friend at a Fiber One sample station, located outside the supermarket’s exit. Our fair WASP is dressed head-to-toe in oversized accessories: softball-sized “pearl” earrings and necklace; a bracelet that might have been fashioned out of a mug from Central Perk; huge, Pee Wee Herman sunglasses; a purse the size of a backpack; a heart-shaped pendant nearly as big as her head. And…a large dog. A Great Dane, perhaps?

    The large accessories are supposed to make her body look smaller and thinner when viewed next to their comical monstrosity. Why resort to such crazy antics, the commercial suggests, when you can just go on a semi-liquid Fiber One yogurt diet and slurp your way to an eating disorder?

    Aside from the emphasis on thinness (incidentally, neither of the two women are what you’d call “fat,” yet the need for dieting is not questioned, but reinforced), there’s some pretty casual and nefarious speciesism at play here. The dog is likened to an object, a fashion accessory, a tool of sorts; something to be disposed of when no longer needed. He’s not treated as someone, but something. Earrings, necklace, bracelet, sunglasses, purse, pendant, dog: one of these things is not like the other.

    The disposal of “pets,” by the by, is a pretty serious problem. Perhaps this commercial might seem like a harmless joke – but try explaining the punch line to the three to four millions cats and dogs killed in U.S. shelters each year.

    Thankfully, the next offender isn’t speciesist, rather, it’s just plain stupid.

    (More below the fold…)

    In which Ben Mayo Boddie busts Hardee’s creamy sweet balls.

    Wednesday, August 5th, 2009

    Via Kelsey Wallace at Bitch blogs (whose title works just as well as my own, to wit, Hardee’s: No One Wants You to Dip Your Balls in It) comes news of Hardee’s/Carl’s Jr.’s latest ad campaign, Hardee’s Biscuit Holes, which the company describes thusly:

    Man-on-the-street survey asks for new names for Hardee’s Biscuit Holes. Wait until you see what they come up with! Got a better name? Tell us at www.NameOurHoles.com and star in your own commercial.

    To the extent that it focuses on male anatomy, this commercial is a welcome relief from the company’s traditional, misogynist fare:
     


     
    Naturally, there’s a bit of a conflict here: are the biscuit holes to be taken literally or figuratively? As in, are they holes (read: assholes; cue: fears of anal and/or “gay” sex) or balls (bis-ticles, hehehe)? The former is potentially homophobic and thus not-so-funny, while the latter is, well, long overdue. Hardee’s has been exploiting the bodies of women to sell cruelty-laden products for going on a decade or more, and it’s about time the dudes got their due. (In a fun and lighthearted way, I mean; I’d rather no animal bodies be shamed, objectified, or exploited in any manner, thankyouverymuch.)

    But that’s not to suggest that the Biscuit Holes campaign evens the scoreboard. As I told my husband, the “misandry” will only begin to rival the misogyny* once Hardee’s starts lacing its commercials with gratuitous close-ups of bouncing, disembodied balls being dunked into coffee mugs or casting hairy-chested, mankini-wearing men in its softcore necrophilic fetish ads – for the sex, not the funny. So far, Hardee’s is all talk, no (live) action.

    Given Hardee’s long (long!) history of exploiting women to hawk their wares, Ben Mayo Boddie’s objection to the Biscuit Holes campaign – and, as best I can tell, only to the Biscuit Holes campaign – is all kinds of offensive:

    The Rocky Mount, N.C., franchisee of Hardee’s restaurants, the company’s largest franchisee, is blasting the burger chain’s newest advertising campaign and says it will not place the spots in any of the markets in which it operates eateries.

    In a letter responding to complaints from the Parents Television Council, Ben Mayo Boddie, chairman of franchisee Boddie-Noell Enterprises, states: “Thank you for your recent letter complaining about the biscuit hole advertising. I agree with you 100 percent. Why in heavens name does Hardee’s Food Systems and Mendelsohn Zien Advertising want to put Hardee’s in a category that diminishes not only the product but the brand itself?”

    (More below the fold…)

    I love Felipe in the summer…in heels, and with a Boca Burger, too.

    Tuesday, August 4th, 2009

    Again, the feminist blogospheres have already spoken re: this saucy (the puns, I’m full of ’em!) Carl’s Jr. Western Bacon Cheeseburger commercial starring Top Chef Padma Lakshmi. But I’ve yet to see a vegan feminist response, so here we go.

    (A word of warning: I’ve embedded seven – yes, seven! – videos below. While I don’t expect y’all to watch the uber-exploitative extended cuts, the other five are must sees.)

     


     

    The commercial shows a scantily-clad (hiked skirt, plunging neckline, push-up bra) Padma strolling through an open air market, eying the fresh fruits and veggies with approval. The soundtrack is sensual, jazzy, worldly; the lyrics “’round the world” repeat on a loop. The viewer feels as though Padma could be anywhere: Istanbul, Paris, Barcelona.

    And then, the voice over: “I’ve always had a love affair with food. I think I’ve tasted every flavor imaginable.”

    Padma, seemingly arriving at her destination, plops down at the foot of an urban stoop, the distinctive white Carl’s Jr. bag in one hand. Suddenly, the atmosphere is very American – NYC, to be exact – and unappealingly so (read: inescapable American fast food chains).

    Anyhow, Padma plops down, feet placed wide apart, so that the audience is treated to an almost-upskirt shot. Apparently we’re voyeurs now. (I didn’t sign up for this! I just wanted to watch 30 Rock in peace, dammit!)

    “But there’s something about Western Bacon.”

    Padma pulls a ridiculously large burger from her sack, and thrusts it into her mouth. She yanks a strip of “bacon” out from under the bun, and dangle-drops it into her mouth, all sexy-like. Probably Carl’s Jr. would like all the het dudes watching to imagine that she’s fellating it. The bacon. A pig corpse. Shudder.

    “It reminds me of being in high school…”

    Inexplicably, Padma hikes the skirt of her dress up to mid-thigh at this point. While, um, still scarfing the burger with her other hand. Sweet jeebus, who does that!?

    “…sneaking out before dinner to savor that sweet, spicy sauce…”

    Cue gratuitous tit shot.

    Somewhat fortuitously (yeah right!), the aforementioned sweet and spicy sauce is now beginning to drip from the burger, down Padma’s hand and wrist. Naturally, she licks it off with an extended tongue – the likes of which I’ve only seen on my dog-kids, while attempting to dislodge peanut butter from the roofs of their mouths.

    (More below the fold…)

    In which Burger King whips out its Manwich.

    Sunday, August 2nd, 2009

    This ad for Burger King’s new (?) BK “Super Seven Incher” sandwich has been making the rounds – and, as usual, I’m way late to the party – but I simply have to blog it anyhow. It’s about as close as you can get to pornography without necessitating a little black bar for safe viewing.

    BK Super Seven Incher

    The ad depicts a woman – or her disembodied head, rather – in side profile. Her mouth, outlined in bright, fire engine red lipstick, is opened wide, ready to fellate gobble devour eat consume a massive sandwich. The “Super Seven Incher” consists of a “beef patty” garnished with onions, cheese, steak sauce – and what looks to be a heaping serving of mayonnaise. (Unless that’s the steak sauce? But isn’t steak sauce brown? WTF do I know, I’m a vegan!) As other bloggers have pointed out, the mayo resembles male ejaculate; doubly so when considered in context.

    Phallic/blow job imagery abounds: the woman looks as though she could be kneeling, and the sandwich is coming straight at her, directly perpendicular to her head. Though no one appears to be holding the sandwich, it floats in the air nonetheless. (As if standing erect – like, um, a penis!) Clearly, she’s not feeding herself, but is being fed – force-fed, possibly, judging from the look on her face. Her expression is so vacant that she kind of resembles a RealDoll.

    The “fine print,” courtesy of Mother Jones: “Fill your desire for something long, juicy and flame-grilled with the NEW BK SUPER SEVEN INCHER. Yearn for more after you taste the mind-blowing burger that comes with a single beef patty, topped with American cheese, crispy onions and the A1 Thick and Hearty Steak Sauce.”

    Desire. Yearn. Long. Juicy. Mind-blowing. Nope, nothing sexual there.

    Typically speaking, in ads wherein sex is equated with “meat” (and thus violence and death), women are depicted as the “meat,” and men the consumers. Upon first glance, this BK ad seems to break with tradition – the “meat” here is a stand-in for a penis, so technically the man is the “meat,” and the woman, the consumer.

    However, I think there’s an important difference between the two scenarios: when women are likened to “meat” (or, likewise, when “meat” is sexualized), it’s to turn them into objects for male consumption. In this vein, (the consumption of) “meat” is oftentimes associated with masculinity – and the “meat”-as-penis theme seems a natural extension of this meme. After all, what’s more masculine than the male sex organ? Even though the man in this ad sports the “meat,” he’s not objectified, nor does he exist for someone else’s gaze; that’s his partner’s role. Rather than being a consumable object, the (implied) man in this ad is aggressive and powerful, on the receiving end of a (non-consensual?) blow job. He may be the “meat,” but she’s still the (sex) object.

    (More below the fold…)