Though PETA has put out some advertising campaigns that I like, most of them are complete misogynistic, fatphobic, queerphobic, racist bullshit.
Let me be fair and highlight some of the positive and/or non-offensive campaigns first:
- “I’m [famous person] and I’m a vegetarian” (example and example; BAD example)
- “You wouldn’t wear your pet, so don’t wear fur” (example)–> This one is fantastic. It relies on connecting to the part of the viewer that loves animals and/or has pets; it shows the links between the animals we eat/wear and the animals we care for and love. This is one of the most effective ones, I’d think. You work that guilt, PETA!
- “Here’s the rest of your fur coat” (example 2). This one is shocking and in-your-face, but that’s the point.
- A campaign that exposes how some slaughterhouses are so filthy, that feces can be found on most pieces of meat.
- A campaign against the clubbing of baby seals.
- Spoke-swine arguing for the taxation of meat.
- “Justifications for Exploitation” exhibit (example) –> I do think there are links between exploiting animals and exploiting other humans. No, I do not think that slavery and sweatshops and all that is EXACTLY THE SAME as what is done to animals, but I think there are important parallels that we should examine (especially when it comes to the rhetoric used to justify said exploitation). So…actually…in the end, shit is pretty similar.
- “Running of the Nudes” in Pamplona. I’d previously riled against an image from it, but that was because I’m dumb and didn’t know about the larger campaign. Sorry!
- “[Think] Ink, Not Mink” –> This one I’m kind of on the fence about. I think it’s catchy and cool. Not likely to make someone go HOLY SHIT OF COURSE I SHOULD STOP WEARING MINK, but a nice tactic for overall awareness and visibility. BUT, surprise surprise–most of their tattooed folk are men. Sigh. And all the men are like RAWR I’M TUFF OR SERIOUS, and the few women are…meh. Check them all out here.
That being stated, let’s talk about the vile crap PETA has put out. But first, let me say I have a complicated relationship with advertising, objectification, nudity, and sexualization. I don’t think I’ve resolved my issues there, and I still have to think long and hard (that’s what phe said) about how I feel concerning these things. For the sake of not making this entry 20 times longer than it’s going to be already, I’ll try to summarize it. I love nudity and am not opposed to it in advertising. I love sexualization and I am not inherently opposed to it in advertising. BUT…too often these things go hand in hand with sexual objectification (which I am not INHERENTLY opposed to either), and this shit gets put out there without proper education.
Ads with nudity and sexualization often objectify individuals and proliferate in a deeply misogynistic, queerphobic, racist, etc etc societies. So while these things “on their own” aren’t bad, putting them out there in a society that will warp them and misunderstand them and conflate “real people” with “advertised people,” it’s NOT OKAY to have ads like that. If our society had healthier attitudes toward sexuality, less body-shaming, less beauty-centric ideals, and more equality overall, nudity and sexualization wouldn’t be so problematic.
Anyway, to get us started, consider this “Milk Gone Wild” campaign.
I have no words. Next up: packaged humans.
I liked the concept a LOT, but I don’t agree with the execution. If they didn’t focus on the sexualization of the meat, this would be fantastic. (Also, um, we can has variety of gender, sex, body type, ethnicity…ANYTHING? No? Oh, okay, PETA. Thanks a lot.) Then again, I like exposing the idea that beautiful women ARE treated like meat/objects…I just don’t know if this actually makes that point, since PETA’s agenda is to help animals, not women, and they have a history of CRAP. Soooo this could have been awesome…but PETA fucked it up. Great.
Augh, this ad is stupid for so many reasons. BUT, it could have been made AWESOME. ANOTHER cool concept fucked up by PETA’s ignorance. See some suggestions about how it could have been made good/effective:
Please allow me, like my nonhuman relatives, to wear my own fur! (Lynne Pashal, CO)
How about featuring naked crotch shots of a man and woman next to a beaver with the headline, “Fur only looks good where it grows naturally”? (Lethea Erz Takaka, New Zealand)
Change the ad to: “Trimming Fur. Unattractive. Wear your own with pride.” (Colleen Kirby, MA)
Because the way to stop people from wearing fur is through enticing them with the idea of seeing a naked woman if they do it? And wtf fuzzy-headed palace-guard? (Do they use bear-skin for their fuzzy hats? Maybe that’s the relevance…but still, wtf) Yes, there’s a “male” version of it, but surprise–he’s only shot from the belly-button up. And his arms are crossed. And he looks happy, determined, or whatever–NOT sensual and sexualized.
No. Just…no. And yeah, let’s further stigmatize men who can’t get erections at the drop of a hat. That’s really fucking useful.
Sigh. Even better (and by better I mean more exasperating) than this ad is the comments people have made about it. Guess what they focus more on–the issue of sows and animal cruelty or the woman’s body and how attractive/unattractive it is? No, really, I’ll give you ONE guess.
On the racism front, this ad makes its point (sorta?), but…it also clouds the facts. A lot. Selective breeding of dogs is only like race-supremacy bullshit in the sense that they both strive toward a certain perfection and blah blah blah. However, dog breeders do not HARM their pets or TERRORIZE them. There are no dog-lynchings among breeders. They don’t advocate for the extermination of all other dogs. So basically, the analogy only works up to the point of “we want to create a master race.” Also, cosmetic procedures some now consider unneccesary had an actual use once upon a time; they weren’t “cosmetic” back then. Read about cropping ears and docking tails here and here. Sure, now cutting tails/ears is bullshit in many places because the original purposes are no longer there and it’s uneccesary to actually perform these things, BUT we can’t just say “oh, it’s cosmetic” and leave it at that. That presumes that there is (and was) no use whatsoever to have these procedures done.
Seriously. Does PETA not understand that they’re not DOING ANYTHING BY STYLYZING VIOLENCE? This only serves to portray an INACCURATE IMAGE of the shit that goes on–the very shit they’re trying to STOP.
Oh, this is surprising. A fully-clothed guy. 😐 Let’s compare this one to the other ads.
“Wearing Axe’s new leather-inspired “Instinct” fragrance will not get you mobbed by a horde of horny honeys swooning over the smell of cow hides. There’s nothing sexy about smelling like or sporting rotten animal skins. (And yes, we have sexpert Pamela Anderson backing us up here.)” (via here).
Really? If you’re against the manufactured/faux smell of leather, then you’d have to be against fake fur, pleather, and ANYTHING that seeks to emulate the products we get from animals because they are EMULATING PRODUCTS WE GET FROM ANIMALS. Tofurkey, veggieburgers, gardendogs…all of these try to mimic the flavor of meat, sooooo we should ban them, right? NO. The point is to still get our kicks but without hurting animals, so if we can make something smell like leather or taste like meat without ACTUALLY making it out of leather or meat, then that’s awesome. Talk about hipocrisy.
And this Top-10 List to Go Vegetarian is also semi-full of fail. Some of the reasons to go vegetarian are valid, but others aren’t. Furthermore, this list is misleading (e.g. vegetarianism alone does NOT equal losing weight and by going vegetarian we’re not magically fucking feeding the hungry). Oh, and of course, the 2 most important reasons to go veg are THE COOL KIDS ARE DOING IT and WE CAN FINALLY BE SKINNY. Remember, vegetarianism = skinniness = sexiness = most important thing in our lives. *eyeroll* AND FINALLY, if we’re really intense about this, we should all just be vegan. Yes, vegetarianism is better than doing nothing, but people forget that not eating meat does NOT translate into not using animal-tested products, or other products that come from animals. Check out this list–animals products are EVERYWHERE, it’s nuts. Point being, vegetarianism alone can only do so much and we need to REALIZE that and STOP FOOLING OURSELVES by thinking that it’s a magical cure for all ills.
That said, feel free to check out the PETA blog. It does actually have important information about animal rights, animal abuse, and all that jazz. Just because PETA does STUPID shit every once in a while (and by that I mean OFTEN), it doesn’t mean they’re entirely worthless. We just need to have a very critical eye when dealing with their stuff.