Tag Archives: animal rights

People for the Ethical Treatment of People and Animals

Debbie says:

Honestly, I would love to stop critizicing People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA). While I’m not a vegetarian, I believe in a great deal of what they profess, and I certainly believe in ethical treatment for animals. The last time Laurie and I blogged about them, in March of this year, we said they had outdone themselves. Sometimes I wonder if they take blog posts like ours as a challenge, because they have now
really crossed a new line.

The link above takes you to the “Learn Your ABC’s with PETA’s Striptease Quiz.” In this quiz, you get to meet “Amber,” a nubile young woman of indeterminate age, looking all faux-demure and provocative, in her plaid skirt, black tank over white blouse, and knee-high white stockings with little black bows. In one photo, she’s almost kissing an apple. In another, she clasps a stack of schoolbooks to her breast.

Hi, I’m Amber, and today, we’re going to be going over our ABCs. Here’s your first lesson: “ABC” stands for “animal birth control,” but it can also stand for “Amber’s bored with clothes” if you have the brainpower to answer these 10 quiz questions correctly.

There’s nothing that gets me hotter than an intelligent person who’s also compassionate, so let’s see if we can’t get me hot enough to remove a few pesky items of clothing—if you’re up to the challenge, that is …

No, I didn’t make this up. I lack the imagination to make something this repulsive up. Instead, to save you the trouble, I went all the way through the quiz. If you get an answer wrong, “she says,” “I have half a mind to start putting my clothes back on.” A right answer gets you a smirky little compliment, “Aren’t you the smartest?” or something like that, and a removed article of clothing. When you complete the quiz, she’s down to her panties and has her hands artfully placed so you don’t see her nipples.

Promoting spaying and neutering of pets instead of the horrible things we do to our unwanted or “extra” cats and dogs is a cause I can completely get behind. Using schoolgirl erotica? Sexualizing under-18s? Pandering to cliched hetero male fantasy? Not so much. Also, Amber and I have something in common: intelligence paired with compassion gets us hot. However, I also have compassion for–not Amber, because she’s certainly not real–but the real legion of girls behind the Amber image. PETA apparently hasn’t given them a second’s thought.

What’s next? Line up to watch Amber get spanked if you give the right answers? I wish I thought I was kidding.

Thanks to Lynn Kendall for the pointer.

Using Sex Work Politics to Preserve Animal Rights (and Vice Versa?)

Laurie and Debbie say:

People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA) has never been one of our favorite organizations. Their campaigns have frequently been at best clueless and at worse offensive to a variety of groups.

Now, however, they have outdone themselves. If you click the link, you will find:

1) Pamela Anderson in a bikini made of lettuce (how fast do you think that will wilt?), promoting vegetarianism.

2) A series of videos using extremely conventional pornography-style visuals to promote the slogan “Vegetarians Make Better Lovers.” Be warned: The one with the “girl on girl action” is harmless, but the tofu-wrestling ladies in thongs (we kid you not) turns into an animal cruelty video with no warning.

3) A sop to the male gender (or to people who lust after the male gender) with the “Broccoli Boys.” The boy at the link is shirtless, hairless, and wearing a necklace of tofu dogs, but all you get when you click the link is three hunks in undershirts and boxers: the International Male underwear catalogue has better pictures.

4) More related material, selling the message “Vegetarians Make Better Lovers.”

What’s really going on, of course, is that PETA is using exploitive, predictable, and boring sexuality tropes to “sell their product,” which is the ethical treatment of animals. That’s what’s wrong with PETA: they don’t believe that people are animals, and they have no commitment whatsoever to the ethical treatment of people.

If this whole campaign wasn’t infuriating enough, Twisty at I Blame the Patriarchy draws our attention to Gary Francone at Animal Rights: The Abolitionist Approach, making a dangerously specious comparison between PETA campaigns and what he calls “postmodern feminism” (Twisty calls it “funfeminism”). We would call their arguments “straw feminism.”

Here’s Francone’s position: Postmodern feminists acknowledge that a woman’s choice to commodify herself sexually may represent an act of empowerment and cannot be assessed in any definitively negative way. These feminists are often pro-pornography, or are at least not anti-pornography. Radical feminists are more inclined to reject the commodification of women as inherently problematic. They are generally anti-pornography and are particularly opposed to pornography in which women are depicted as recipients of violent or abusive treatment. They regard most gender stereotypes as harmful to both women and men and seek to undermine these stereotypes. Postmodern feminists often argue that “feminine” stereotypes can help to empower women.

The claim that “postmodern feminists can always be counted on to serve as PETA’s cheering squad” is hereby disproved. Francone and Twisty would undoubtedly call us “funfeminists,” and we are hardly cheering for PETA. In fact, we say that the alliance here is between the PETA campaign and the Francone/Twisty attitude, because both groups are doing similar things.

Here’s how it works: 1) Eating meat is a biologically, ethically, and socially complex issue. Some pieces of it are simple: factory farming is indefensible, as is the rampant animal cruelty which characterizes our food supply. The rest of it is more complex, and rests on individual and personal moral decisions. Scantily-clad women necking with each other in public (and men watching lustfully) have nothing to do with the appropriateness of eating meat. 2) Sex work is a socially, economically, and ethically complex issue. Some pieces of it are simple: the commodification of women’s bodies, the exploitation of the powerless, and the characterization of sex as something women have and men want, are indefensible. The rest of it is more complex and rests on individual and personal moral decisions. At least Twisty and Gary Francone aren’t sending out lolcat sideshows to make their points about sex work (which would make about as much sense as what PETA is doing).