"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.
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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…)

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!

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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.

(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.)
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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.

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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?
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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…)

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.

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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

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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.

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The easyVegan Weekend Activist, No. 17

Saturday, August 22nd, 2009

Save the Whales, Boycott PETA (175x750)

Here’s your weekend link roundup, folks. I still intend to weigh in on a few of PETA’s recent campaigns, including the whole “Save the Whales” clusterfuck. In the meantime, I’ve probably written a week’s worth of material on other people’s blogs; see, for example, my comments on change.org, as well as on the Animals Rights Facebook wall. I hope to coalesce these into one monster blog piece sometime next week. Until then, feel free to jump into the fray, futility be damned. (Honestly – what’s with the idol worship? Since when did critical thinking, self-reflection and debate become impediments? Blind hero worship, no want!)

Also, I spent Friday afternoon remixing PETA’s billboard to better reflect my feelings, namely, “Save the ‘Whales’: Boycott PETA” (by “whales” I mean the actual whales PETA is insulting with this speciesist ad, as well as the so-called “whales” who are the most obvious target of PETA’s hate). You can download a large copy of the “Boycott PETA” billboard image here. The version included at the top of this post is a little different; I reworked the dimensions to 750×175 so that I could add it to the series of rotating banners on the website. It doesn’t really fit with the “V for Vegan” theme, but I think it looks awesome up there anyway. If you feel as I do, and like the anti-PETA banner, please download, display and share it.

And yes, I recognize the irony in decorating this post with a “Boycott PETA” banner while still linking to a number of PETA action alerts and contests. As much as I abhor how PETA spreads its message, the group still does some good work, such as with its undercover investigations and targeted email campaigns. I’ll continue to link to alerts with which I agree – and share contests as long as the giveaways are not offensive – because the animals should not suffer for PETA’s sizeism, sexism, racism, homophobia, transphobia, classism, speciesism, etc., etc., etc. The Illinois deer about to be maimed and murdered by crossbows, for example, have nothing to do with PETA’s hateful rhetoric; they still need us to speak for them. We can and should lend our voices to them, while also speaking out against PETA’s “isms.”

The most effective way to do this, is to boycott the group with our pocketbooks. If you have time or money to donate, please give to a more deserving – and ethically consistent – organization, such as Peaceful Prairie, Eastern Shore, Igualdad Animal, LGBT Compassion, or PCRM.

Finally, the Humane Society of Missouri is holding its speciesist polo/BBQ fundraiser as I write. If you haven’t yet, please read Stephanie’s piece, “Fundraising for Animals by Endangering and Killing Animals,” and take action. Obviously, it’s too late to stop this year’s event, but if we keep the pressure on, hopefully we can convince them to rethink organizing similar events in the future. Since Stephanie launched the campaign, Animal Place and United Poultry Concerns have both added their voices.

Action Alerts: Animal & Environmental Advocacy

Alaska Wilderness League: President Obama: America’s Arctic Deserves Protection

Animal Rights @ Change .org: Take Action! Save the Deer of Cayuga Heights

Animals Australia: Help End the Dolphin Slaughter!

Born Free USA: 100 Americans Can Stop the “Pet” Primate Trade

Born Free USA: Stop the Trade in Bear Parts

Center for Biological Diversity: Tell Tennessee to Give Wild Turtles a Break

DawnWatch: Vick on 60 Minutes this Sunday, 8/16/09

Ecological Internet / The Rainforest Portal: Action Alert: Liberia’s Plans to Resume Industrial Primary Rainforest Logging Already Plagued by Corruption as Samling Poised to Pounce

Forest Ethics: Time is running out for caribou; Protect caribou habitat from Sears clear-cuts

Greenpeace: Make the Switch to Safer Technologies [H.R. 2868 & H.R. 3258, the chemical security bill]

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Hyperactive Dogs (Read: Puppies) Ruin (Court) Adoption

Monday, August 17th, 2009

My sister sent me this video with the following note:

This cracks me up. I want the dog on the left….:-)

Adorable, them both. I’d joke about wanting to adopt the pair, but next thing you know, I’m waking up to seven dogs in my bed, instead of the customary four or five (Jayne sleeps under the bed during rainstorms). Dangerous road, my friends.

FYI, you can learn more about the British Columbia Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals – and adopt one of their many available animals – here.

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PETA takes a page from the Fred Phelps playbook.

Wednesday, June 3rd, 2009

Update, 6/4/09:

Well, then:

Anti-Abortion Protesters Crash Vigil For Slain Doctor

About 10 members of the Westboro Baptist Church bearing signs with messages like “Baby killer in hell” were an unwelcome presence at a vigil for murdered abortion doctor George Tiller.

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Oh, no, no, no. Just, no:

WICHITA – A national animal rights group plans to erect billboards in Wichita urging people on both sides of the abortion debate to go vegetarian.

null

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One version of the billboard says, “Pro-Life? Go Vegetarian.” The other says, “Pro-Choice? Choose Vegetarian.” Both feature a photo of three baby chicks.

Lindsay Rajt, campaign manager for People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals, said the billboards were prompted by the recent shooting death of abortion doctor George Tiller, who was killed Sunday at his church.

“The discussion of the value of life is front and center right now in the public conversation,” Rajt said today.

“We think we would be irresponsible if we don’t talk about how we’re all guilty of extreme cruelty to animals every time we sit down to a meal that includes meat.” […]

Rajt said the timing or content of the Wichita billboards may be controversial.

But, “If our billboards leave a bad taste in anyone’s mouth, we just think they might give a thought to what animals feel when they go to the slaughterhouse,” she said.

“We want to remind people that no matter where they come down on the abortion issue, each and every one of us can spare a life every time we sit down to eat.”

Frankly, the actual content of the proposed billboards is rather inoffensive – and downright blasé when compared to 75% of PETA’s other ads. In fact, I think the “pro-life” version is rather cute – and, on a subtle level, calls so-called “pro-lifers” out on their hypocrisy and ethical inconsistencies. The pro-choice one, meh, not so much; it just strikes me as a forced corollary to the “pro-life” billboard. A reach, albeit a harmless one.

But the timing – the timing is beyond crass and tactless. Fuck that shit, it’s downright amoral.

(More below the fold…)

Together, We Are

Monday, May 18th, 2009

Also new from Mercy for Animals is this awesome PSA, “I Am Mercy for Animals.” In addition to the diversity of voices – men and women, adults and children, people of color and the melanin-deprived, professionals and “freaks,” vegetarians and vegans – I quite like how MFA stresses our interconnectedness, our strength in both numbers and multiformity.

The video hits upon so many points, from the individuality of the animals we exploit, to our similarities to and connections with the least fortunate among us, to the role the animal rights movement plays in the larger push for social justice and human rights.

For those who can’t view the video (which may be a few of you today, as You Tube seems to be acting up at the moment), MFA helpfully provides a transcript on its website, which I’ve copied below. I’ve underlined some of my favorite passages for emphasis. (Okay, so about half the transcript is underlined. Like I said, powerful video.)

Thoughts?

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Peaceful Prairie Sanctuary: Don’t Let Him Kill Me!

Wednesday, May 13th, 2009

Peaceful Prairie - Don't Let Him Kill Me (front)

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Peaceful Prairie Sanctuary: Dairy is a Death Sentence

Wednesday, May 13th, 2009

Peaceful Prairie - Dairy is a Death Sentence

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Peaceful Prairie Sanctuary: Don’t Kill My Baby!

Wednesday, May 13th, 2009

Peaceful Prairie - Don't Kill My Baby (front)

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Peaceful Prairie Sanctuary: Milk Comes from a Grieving Mother

Wednesday, May 13th, 2009

Peaceful Prairie - Milk Comes from a Grieving Mother

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On being someones, not somethings.

Wednesday, May 13th, 2009

I’ve heard mention of these campaign/outreach materials from Peaceful Prairie Sanctuary from time to time, but it wasn’t until I received a Mother’s Day action alert from the sanctuary that I clicked on over to check them out. Now that I’ve had a chance to look the materials over, I think I can honestly say that Peaceful Prairie’s fliers and pamphlets – particularly the “Milk comes from a grieving mother” series – are some of the most powerful I’ve seen.

Throughout its materials, PPS stresses the family ties of the (more often than not) nameless, faceless creatures we exploit for “meat,” milk, eggs and the like. When you eat meat, you’re eating someone’s father, brother or son. When you drink milk, you’re drinking milk that was stolen from a grieving mother and was meant to nourish her murdered baby. The exploitation of farmed animals necessarily involves the manipulation and severing of these familial relationships, so fundamental to their (and our) emotional and social well-being and survival. How do YOU say, ‘Don’t kill my baby!’? Should any mother have to?

PPS also gives these animals names and faces, by emphasizing their unique individualities, as well as their relationships to one another: Lillian is more than “just a pig,” more than “pork,” more than the sum of her animal parts. So much more! Lillian is both someone and someone’s daughter. Someone’s sister. Someone’s aunt. Someone’s mother, perhaps. Lillian is important and valuable and unique because she’s Lillian the individual – there is no other quite like her! – and because she’s Lillian to so many others. Like you or I, Lillian is irreplaceable.

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Yes, thank you!

Thursday, April 23rd, 2009

(On multiple levels, seeing as this is a PETA ad and yet everyone managed to keep their knickers on.)
 


 
And also: *swoon!*

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A new genus of the fauxgressive species?

Wednesday, April 8th, 2009

Sigh. Shit like this is, I think, a natural outgrowth of the Chicks Love a Vegetarian (and similar) way of outreach, in which my “pussy” is treated like a reward for good male behavior. While admittedly kinda sorta cute (zomg! fluffy baby chickies and hot boyz!!1!), it’s also kinda sorta sexist. Let’s not pretend for a second that “chick” isn’t slang for women, and that a rather obvious double entendre is at play here.

Of course, both are natural outgrowths of living in a patriarchy, so ultimately, IBTP.

(Photo via whizchickenonabun; “fauxgressive” via Shakespeare’s Sister.)

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Lettuce be thankful!

Monday, April 6th, 2009

Updated, 5/26/10: Upon further reflection, I think I have to agree with commentators who noted that PETA’s failure to sexualize and objectify Ms. Leachman is, rather than a step in the right direction, simply further evidence of their rigid beauty standards. As in, PETA didn’t refrain from stripping Leachman down to her skivvies as a sign of respect, but because of ageism: Who wants to see an old lady nekkid? Yuck!

Who knows, perhaps I’m being too harsh on PETA. Be your own decider person.

FWIW, I meant to post this update ages ago, forgot (naturally!), and was only reminded when this post saw a huge uptick in views this past month. My skepticism (cynicism?; tomato, tomahtoe) re: everything PETA isn’t a recent phenomenon, is what I’m sayin’.

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Last week, Stephanie at animalrights.change.org gave a tip of her (faux suede) hat to PETA, for their latest ad featuring Cloris Leachman:

I’m a strong believer in acknowledging–and encouraging–the good while criticizing and discouraging the bad, especially if our plan is to effect change, both in people and in organizations. And although it’s rather unusual for me to talk about PETA two days in a row on this blog, and even more unusual for me to write about PETA in praise of one of its ad campaigns, I’m going to do both. Their latest ad has just been revealed today, and my initial reaction was “Oh my god, it’s stunning, and I love it.”

I couldn’t agree more – it’s important not just to criticize those campaigns that we find objectionable (whether from a human or animal rights perspective), but to offer solutions and praise organizations when they get it right.

PETA (Cloris Leachman)

The Cloris Leachman ad is classy, eye-catching and gorgeous – all of which is accomplished without objectifying Ms. Leachman. It’s also nice to see an older woman featured for a change. More often than not, PETA’s print models are young, thin, white, conventionally attractive, heterosexual (or amenable to lesbianism for the male gaze), and sexually available. PETA bucks several of these trends with Ms. Leachman’s advertisement.

I’ve always liked the “vegetables, fruit and assorted plant-based matter as clothing” concept; PETA’s execution of it (read: skimpy lettuce bikinis), not so much. Ms. Leachman’s red cabbage and lettuce ball gown demonstrates how yummy vegetarianism can be, thus promoting animal rights without engaging in misogyny. (Though a pro-veganism message would have been even better.)

Not to mention, when the campaign slogan is “Let Vegetarianism Grow On You,” more clothes are better, no?

After the jump are several more PETA ads that I like – none of which you’re likely to see on certain feminist blogs (*cough*cough*).

(More below the fold…)

ARA PSAs: Women, Men and Fur

Thursday, March 12th, 2009

After January’s “fur hag” post, I’d like follow up with several examples of anti-fur ads that I like – albeit, with a few caveats.*

While I’m rather ambivalent when it comes to PETA’s nude “I’d Rather Go Naked Than Wear Fur,” “Turn Your Back on Fur,” (and similar) campaigns, I quite like anti-fur ads which depict fur as the bloody, murderous mess that it is. (In theory, anyway…hence the forthcoming caveats.)

For example, this recent series from IndyAct:

IndyAct - Stop the carnage 01

IndyAct - Stop the carnage 02

IndyAct - Stop the carnage 03

Each ad features a thin, white, conventionally attractive, stylishly dressed woman, decked out in a fur coat which once belonged to various animals. The knife-wielding women are covered in blood spatters – bright red blood, everywhere. The woman in the first ad is, inexplicably, rubbing the knife along her chin, as if in contemplation of fellatio (?). Needless to say, I prefer the other two ads in the series.

(More below the fold…)

Nor does he come with an "off" button.

Sunday, March 1st, 2009

“Each year hundreds of dogs are abandoned because their owners are tired of playing with them. A dog is not a toy.”

Fundación Altarriba - A Dog is Not a Toy

Fundación Altarriba - A Dog is Not a Toy 2

(For those who cannot view the two print ads, each one depicts a forlorn dog, lying abandoned amongst piles of old, broken children’s toys: dolls, stuffed animals, buckets, soccer balls. Each dog is Photoshopped to look a little toy-like: one has a slot on her tummy for batteries, while the other has a large plastic hole on his hind leg – perhaps he’s supposed to be a piggy bank? The text reads: “Each year hundreds of dogs are abandoned because their owners are tired of playing with them. A dog is not a toy.”)

It’s sad that an ad campaign actually has to state such an obvious truism but, as the animal welfare organization Fundación Altarriba observes, hundreds of companion animals are tossed out like someone’s garbage every year (presumably, these statistics only encompass Spain, where the organization is based; the numbers run into the millions in the United States). Like unwanted or outgrown toys. But they’re not toys or garbage; they’re living, sentient beings, and bringing a dog into one’s family is a lifetime commitment – or rather, it should be treated as such – similar to adopting or birthing a child. Adoption is for life.

(More below the fold…)