When “Going East” Is Code for “CHERRY BLOSSOM RACISM”

A friend posted this article about the recent launch of the “Go East” Victoria’s Secret line on their Facebook page, and a comment exchange ensued between some folks, myself included. I thought some points that were raised deserved a response (and a public one at that, not caught up in the FB privacy settings). I’ve paraphrased and bolded them here + added some responses.

  • How is this racist? A geisha is a sexual figure in East Asia already. 
This line isn’t just sexualizing the geisha—the entire LINE is all about “sexy exotic Asian-ness,” and it’s all predicated on a commodified, simplified, and inauthentic view of “exotic asian culture.” For the purposes of Victoria’s Secret, “going east” means “let’s put some cherry blossoms and red on some lingerie and make our models wear chopsticks in their hair and OH OH don’t forget the kimono!” Of course it brings in the geisha as one of the lingerie styles because that’s one of the easiest things to sexualize here in the U.S., since so many people are familiar with the concept. Speaking of which, most of us have a pretty simplified and misinformed idea about what being a geisha entails anyway, and the level of education and training geishas got/get as well as the diversity of their actions/professions is not something a lot of people know about. Most folks just think “yeah, a geisha, a Japanese prostitute with the white face and stuff, like in Mulan or something.”
  • Sexual fantasy doesn’t indicate personally racist/bigoted beliefs. Wanting to dress like a geisha doesn’t make someone a racist.
Sexual attitudes and desires don’t happen inside of a magic bubble. We all have the responsibility to ask ourselves why we like what we do instead of just saying “AH WELL I JUST LIKE STUFF WHO KNOWS WHY.” Just as we adopt racist, sexist, etc.-ist beliefs in other areas of our lives, we adopt them in our sexual life and sexuality too. It’s our responsibility to interrogate what we want and how that intersects with the world around us. It’s like saying “yeah I only date white people, I dunno, I just find them more attractive.” Beauty is not this magically 100% objective thing–it’s very conditioned by our upbringing and cultural surroundings, and if those have racism embedded into them, you betcha your ideas of beauty will also have racism embedded unless you actively work to fight that and deconstruct it as much as possible.
And even if someone doesn’t want to dress like a geisha due to “explicitly racist” reasons, it involves a degree of subconscious entitlement to do so–that “yes, I can wear this, because I can do whatever I want, I have access to these pieces of this culture and I don’t have to think about the context or the impact of this choice.” It’s that dismissiveness, that disregard, that idea that all things are possible/accessible and OK because “I’m not actually a racist.” Racism isn’t just lynchings and cross-burning and denying people jobs; it’s way more complicated and pervasive than that.
  • Taking this line down and not carrying foreign-oriented lines of lingerie = just as offensive as carrying them.
There’s a difference between carrying a line catered to a particular community and appropriating that community’s culture. There’s also a difference between actually trying to provide positive and accurate representation of a culture for that culture (or even for society) and doing something simplified to purely make profit and create the newest fashion collection. Here, the intent as well as the outcome are important. Furthermore, no, these things are not “equally offensive.”
Of course, product advertising and these sexy lingerie things are never going to fully capture the entire history of whatever they’re symbolizing/hinting at, but when it’s done along already tense axes, where there have been lots of struggles between those who are creating the products and those who they are “depicting,” it’s a problem. Why? Because it’s once again a reiteration of the same power dynamics. In a climate where there are still a lot of anti-Asian feelings (check out this website for example!), it’s just one more way in which U.S. culture, especially non-asian/specifically-white U.S. culture, asserts that it can take whatever it wants from these cultures for its own purposes, demonize the fuck out of those same cultures, and not be held accountable.

Racist + Sexist “Adult Novelties”

Trigger-warning for gross sexist, racist language and glorification of non-consent.

Those of you who know me know I *love* talking about sex toys. Not only do I find them personally stimulating (har har har), I’m also just fascinated by how they have evolved, how technological developments have impacted their growth/design, and the ways in which people and the media conceptualize them. I’m fortunate enough to have attended some “novelty expos” in the past for work and I’ve seen a wide array of products. Some have blown my mind with their stylish marketing and innovative designs, but I’ve also had the misfortune of encountering some REALLY horrible toys (read: unsafe materials, terrible packaging, offensive marketing, and more). I wanted to highlight 2 particular companies producing some pretty egregious toys.

Why?

  • Because I want to hold toys and companies to higher standards and share what I know with the people who read this blog
  • Because consumers deserve to find good resources for their sex toys and know which companies are fucked up
  • Because there are some damaging and oppressive stereotypes and ideas being bandied about, and the sex toy industry usually gets a “free pass” because people think sexuality is some magical arena where politics and kindness don’t apply
  • Because we need to acknowledge the pervasive sexism and racism in our fields and see how these things connect to our daily lives

BUT FIRST: some background. Pipedreams and Nasstoys (the ones I discuss here) are part of what’s known in the industry as “The Big Five” (Doc Johnson, Cal Exotics, and Topco being the other three in the club). These are the companies that churn out toys like nobody’s business–the “giants” in the industry. There’s no real sense of “coherent” brand identity to the average consumer because these huge companies have a lot of toys under their belt and a wide array of different lines. Unlike smaller independent stores and companies, these organizations are faceless and commercial (not inherently a bad thing, but it’s not a positive thing for me personally). They also put their profits before their consumers, as evidenced by their practices and the stuff I mention in this post.

Disclaimer: I own a glass Pipedreams toy because I was asked to review it years ago. While the line has a TON of products, and some of them are actually nice, I don’t support them as a brand.

 

Pipedreams

When I went to the ANME Founders Show, I was introduced to the Pipedreams Extreme Toyz line. My immediate thought was a big WTF. They have toys like Flip a Sista Over and Junk in Tha Trunk. If the names and the “cum in her ghetto booty” slogan slapped across the package of the latter aren’t enough to get you riled up, here’s the copy that goes along with these ridiculously offensive toys:

Fuck her first in her tight mocha twat, then Flip A Sista Over and bust a nut in her booty! This handheld honey is the answer to every man’s chocolate fantasies…a sweet black pussy on one end and a big ol’ bubble butt on the other, with nothing getting in the way of you filling her with cum! 

If you love thick black asses, this sista’s got enough Junk in tha Trunk to satisfy your cravings! Fuck her first in her phat booty, then stick it in her snatch and bust a nut in her tight mocha twat! This bubble butt beauty is the answer to every man’s chocolate fantasies…two big round ass cheeks to slap and pound on top, with a sweet black pussy spread eagle underneath! 

Flip her over, insert the vibrating bullet underneath, and enjoy thrilling vibrations in her coochie and ass. When you’re finished, cum inside either hole and never worry about knocking her up!

Where…would I even begin criticizing this? Jesus.
This one also creeps me out due to the way it fetishizes virginity, and while I’m down with most fetishes and fantasies, the problematic thing about this toy and its accompanying text/ideology is that for many people this “virgin ideal” leads to a lot of slut-shaming  (among other things). Similarly, there’s the misogyny and idealization of youth in this other toy, which bears the lovely slogan “I’m young, dumb, and want your CUM!” And while I’m actually a fan of consensual face-fucking, the images for this toy are just downright creepy. They hit super close to home re: the dehumanization of women in day-to-day experiences, and the copy is also atrocious and reeking of rape culture:

She’s all yours to enjoy and there are no rules! Best of all, she never says no to a good time because she always has her mouth full! 

Watch her eyes roll back into her head, then gag her with a taste of your man meat!  If your girl never deep throated you before, now is your chance to enjoy the thrill! (…) She won’t gag or choke, and there’s no annoying teeth to get in the way or bite.  When you’re about to cum, don’t worry about pulling out–blow a fat load right in her mouth and let her swallow!

At the expo I attended, they also had a “shemale” torso (Note: this was their offensive language, not mine–or it was something else but along these lines, like tranny or hermaphrodite)–headless with a huge penis and huge breasts, though I haven’t seen that one being sold…

 

Nasstoys

They have an entire “Latin” section. Don’t even get me started on the packaging. The fact that they have “se habla español” on their company page makes me think that perhaps these folks are in part, men of color? I’m not sure, though! Either way, it’s fucked up.

Their “Isabella Pussy” is described as “super realista pussy” that’s “siempre lista / always ready,” so we once again see gendered language and the idea of constant sexual availability, but this time with racialized connotations to boot. The other model is “Maria,” and I could see that stupid name coming from ten miles away.

The one that is most unnerving to me, though, is the one called “My First Pregnant Latina ‘Knocked Up’ Pussy.” With the history of seeing women, especially women of color, as baby-making machines; with the history of  colonial rape; with the widely-held racist notions/images that Latin@s are “welfare queens” and “promiscuous” and all have a billion babies and get pregnant at 12…this kind of shit does not sit well with me.

BUT WAIT, they also have a racially unmarket one (read: a white one). The difference is that the “Latina” toy is slightly darker and the model on the front has dark hair and a more “Latina-looking” face (which…is another post entirely) vs. the white model who is pale and blonde. *facepalm*

I’m focusing on the things that strike me the hardest as a Latin@ female, but never fear, they also have some delightfully racist dolls that target other groups, like the Mai Li Asian Love Doll, the Geisha masturbating sleeve, and the Asian Geisha Love Doll.
Men aren’t left behind entirely in this racist circus, though, since when it comes to the “lifelike dongs,” there’s a section just for those, and there are Latin, Black, and ones without an adjective which are, you guessed it, the white ones. Because white is normal, once more. Anyway. The “super realistic dongs” are all faux-clever (read: actually just racist and lazy) plays on words that insidiously dehumanize actual Latin men (little pistol, top stud, big bull, wild bull, little bull, and more). And this banner below I think can just speak for itself (especially the “ALL American” part):

 

Again, I know these toys are selling a fantasy and a product, but we need to see how our daily lives connect to this, and how the daily lives of women and people of color are affected and mirrored by these toys and the attitudes toward them. It’s not “just a toy” or “just a fantasy.” These are all created and reflected by the society in which we live, and we can’t afford to just ignore sex (and art, too, for that matter) because it’s some special snowflake (which it’s not).We need to think about what messages these toys send and why people buy them. We need to be critical consumers and media-viewers/makers.
If you want to buy fabulous toys from reputable sources, though, check out the stores in the Progressive Pleasure Club.

 

Tumblin’ Into Self-Love

The media is everywhere, dictating what we should do, buy, eat, and think. It’s also dictating, subtly and not-so-subtly, how we should look in order to be appreciated and desired. Because we live in a media-heavy world that (overall) uses racist, ableist, sizeist, sexist, homophobic, distorted images in marketing, many people don’t see themselves as represented (or at least not fully). Certain bodies and communities don’t get attention, and if they do, it’s usually negative on some level. Furthermore, based on what’s perpetuated, many people see themselves as flawed and unattractive, creating a barrier to establishing loving, intimate relationships with others and with oneself.

So how can we disrupt the constant signal from mainstream media and learn to love ourselves more? How can we undo some of the damage that has already been caused? Smashing the entire advertising industry and all forms of media is not the immediate solution. There are steps we can take, smaller but meaningful, that involve our media more carefully and surrounding ourselves with positive images and empowering messages.

There are havens for different types of bodies and niches for all sorts of desires and communities out there, and one of those places can be Tumblr.

So what’s Tumblr?
Tumblr is a blogging platform where users can post text, videos, audio, links, images, and quotations to their “tumblelog” and other users can “follow” them. Every member has a “dashboard” where all the posts from the people they follow are aggregated, making staying up to date with other users quick and easy. Its focus isn’t on personal, “journal-like” entries (though those certainly exist in great numbers), but instead on “microblogging” and sharing interesting content. Essentially, Tumblr is both a place and the medium for collage-creation; Tumblr provides the cyber-territory as well as the content that people can use to paste information and build networks.

What makes this different from Livejournal, WordPress, Blogger…?
Unlike other platforms that focus more on the individual’s story (e.g. Livejournal), Tumblr focuses on sharing and dialogue. Due to Tumblr’s structure, it functions as a big social hub for people all over the globe. I think the key is its “reblogging” feature, which allows users to put someone else’s content on their own tumblelog. This, in turn, not only spreads content rapidly (making certain things go viral immediately), but also allows for dialogue between users (when people reblog others’ content and then add on comments and/or more information) that spreads commentary beyond the place where it originated.

And how does this relate to self-esteem?
By making conscious choices about which blogs to follow, people can essentially curate their own little empowerment stream. By providing people with a constant flow of content on their dashboard, Tumblr can help people grow more comfortable with and/or accepting of certain bodies and communities. Like I mentioned earlier, Tumblr can also open up dialogue and facilitate community-building/networking, so people can discuss and come together via this platform. The “dark” side of this is that people can isolate themselves and create a “bubble” that some say excludes and marginalizes as well. However, I’m not advocating for Tumblr to become the one and only tool for consciousness-raising that’s supposed to build community and expand minds and achieve world peace…I’m saying that people can use Tumblr as productive tool to help them in a larger project of self-loving and appreciation.

So where do I go from here? How can I use this tool?
Join Tumblr and follow blogs that you find empowering–blogs that show people like you and/or those that you find attractive. By surrounding yourself with self-selected, positive content, you’ll be able to undo some of the damage that mainstream media has potentially caused, see bodies and opinions that are otherwise invisible, and get in touch with like-minded individuals. Be warned, though, that like any other place where people can post content, you may find certain things offensive and/or triggering, so practice self-care and be aware of what you’re clicking (or what to do in the event that you click something unpleasant). Take the opportunity to also step outside yourself and beyond your comfort zone. Because we all have multiple identities, it’s likely that by following even like-minded individuals, you’ll be exposed to new things that might push your boundaries and/or expand your horizons.

Now that I have Tumblr, how do I start building an empowering dashboard?

  • Take advantage of the fuckyeah[insert noun].tumblr.com phenomenon. Basically, these Tumblrs are repositories for the things they advertise on their URLs (so fuckyeahfreckles would have tons of content related to freckles). There are many useful ones that relate to body image, self-esteem, appearance, sex, erotica, and more! If you want to check for FYs, search for them here: http://isitafyeah.com/. If your desired FY blog doesn’t exist, create and curate it!
  • Look at the Followers Lists for small blogs you find empowering. You can do this with bigger blogs, too, but the more well-known the blog, the harder it will be to sift through followers to find ones that directly appeal to you. Another variant of this is to look at the people who have liked or reblogged certain posts you find empowering and inspiring.
  • Explore Tumblr (http://www.tumblr.com/explore) by clicking on categories or by searching for specific tags (e.g. lace, empowerment, sexy, food, etc.).

Advertising: Hope, Crying, and Culture

I often feel a desire to cry during movie previews. Well, not the movie previews, exactly, but some of the ads they play before movies–the ones with swelling music and Spanish words and some bullshit about what it means to be Puerto Rican. The Banco Popular one? Dear lord, it makes me well up like nobody’s business. There’s a longer version out there, but this the version in theaters (and it’s faster-paced):

Click here for it. Like, I’m watching it right now and I’m tearing up, even though I’ve watched it a bunch of times before. The part where the children’s chorus comes in? Ohhhhh man. If I haven’t cracked by then, that does it. (Of course, I have to be in the zone for the tears to be inevitable; catch me off guard or stressed and I will wave away the ad with annoyance.)

Anyway, I’ve translated the lyrics for those of you who are Spanish-impaired. 😛

I’m the light of the morning
that illuminates new paths,
that goes flooding the mountains,
the farmer trails.
I’m the fruit of the future,
the seeds of tomorrow,
planted in pure dung (read: fertilizer)
of my boricua land.
I’m a fisherman of dreams;
I go looking for a sea of spume
of shells and sands,
of sirens and moons.
Of stars and horizons,
my fortune is composed.
I’m a sailing seagull and an astronaut of fog.
Of the bread, I am the yeast that feeds the hope
of the Puerto Rican man,
of the awakening of my mother country.
I bring boricua blood;
I’m the son of the palm-trees, of the toads (does the song say sapos?) and the rivers
and of the singing of the coquí,
of valleys and coffee plantations,
of sugar-cane and pineapple,
of guava and mampostiales,
of tembleque and maví.

I chose to not translate tembleque, maví, and mampostiales. It feels too weird to see them in English, somehow linguistically reduced, or transformed into something else. But, if you MUST know:

  • mampostiales = “very thick, gooey candy bars of caramelized brown sugar and coconut chips, challenging to chew and with a strong, almost molasses-like flavor”
  • tembleque = creamy coconut pudding usually garnished with cinnamon on top
  • maví = “mauby,” a drink! (“The drink or syrup for the drink is made by boiling a specific buckthorn bark, Colubrina elliptica, with sugar and a variety of spices. In looking at individual recipes on how people make mauby, you’ll note spices and flavorings vary exceedingly. Cinnamon is usually included, but then the drink flavoring diverges according to recipe. Some people add cloves, anise, vanilla extract, or cola flavoring. For more info, just check the wiki.”)

If this doesn’t make your mouth water at least a LITTLE, you should get your salivary glands checked. Anyway. Why do I get so emotional? Part of it is the setting of the theater, of course, that sets the stage (no pun intended); everything is bigger and louder and more intense there, plus the darkness creates an air of intimacy and solitude (that’s more believable when one is not in a packed room with some dingbat kicking the back of one’s seat), or at the very least of uninterrupted connection to what is onscreen. However, even when I’m not in the theater, I can get teary-eyed. It’s the idea of this, well, idealized Puerto Rico. It’s a longing for that, and not coupled with the belief that it’s nonexistent, but with the belief that there IS that beauty and that wonder in the Puerto Rico in which I live–that it’s just a matter of stopping and appreciating it, or finding it, or even just knowing how and when to look. The beautiful visuals and music create an air of hope…and if an ad is going to make me feel something, hope is a fucking fantastic choice. It makes the viewer tune in to that part of themselves, the hopeful part, the part that identifies as Puerto Rican, the part that wants to be proud of the mother country and not ashamed. It’s the part that goes “yes yes yes” during the whole ad.

To me, advertising is important. Heck, I wanted to GO into advertising for a while! All things being equal, or more or less equal, I WILL give preference to the organization with better ads, not because I believe their product is better, but because I admire their advertising and feel like rewarding them for a job well done. I will purposefully choose to support a company whose ads I like. And speaking of other ads I like, Harris Paints created a CLASSIC with this one:

Click here.
This thing was played at EVERY MOVIE SHOWING IN EVERY THEATER (of the Caribbean Cinemas chain, at least, but I’m pretty sure CineVista also played them). It ran for YEARS. People went into a movie and sang along to this during the previews, some in barely audible whispers, others in great, booming voices. It was glorious. They eventually retired the commercial after a bunch of years and everyone got upset. And what does this ad have in common with the Banco Popular one? It invokes our sense of Puerto-Rican-ness AND it has great visuals AND catchy music. It talks about paint colors in terms of Puerto Rican things, colors WE know because we see them every day or we are at least pretty damn familiar with them. Green is not fucking…kelly-green or hunter green or limeade green, it’s “verde quenepa.” Red is this red, of the flamboyán (Royal Poinciana or Flamboyant). Blue is the blue of the cobblestones that line San Juan’s streets. And so on. In fact, here are the lyrics:

Paint your life
with the colors of my land.
Paint your life.
Piragua strawberry,
white like coconut,
mango yellow.
Quenepa green,
cobblestone blue,
flamboyán red,
turquoise of the sea.
The colors of my land,
our colors,
paint your life
with the colors
that Harris gives you.

Mmm, gotta love appealing to people’s sense of unified culture. I’ll avoid cynicism for now (shocking!). And for clarification, a piragua is like a snowcone, but the top is pointy like a pyramid (not rounded like a snowball). SO yes. Other ads or previews make me cry too, for different reasons. It’s usually the beauty in them, though, that captures me; they’re so intense and beautiful that I just can’t help but tear up. Same thing with music.

“Don’t make women your meat substitute”

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)

https://i0.wp.com/www.imogenbailey.com/charity/peta-bear-skin.jpg?w=620

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.

https://i2.wp.com/www.ecorazzi.com/wp-content/uploads/2008/09/meat_peta.jpg?w=620

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.

spx-018839.jpg

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.

Moving on–elephant-time!


14850746_celina.jpg image by preeto_f04

Since I don’t know where this ad was circulated, I don’t know what to make of it on the racial/ethnic front. The first shit that comes to mind is obviously “oh no, stop the savage, dark pygmy-men from hurting this beautiful light-eyed princesss! look how pained she looks!” 😐 Yeah, way to reinforce racism. But anyhoo–stylizing violence. THIS DOESN’T WORK. WHY WHY WHY DO THEY KEEP DOING IT?!

https://i0.wp.com/www.imogenbailey.com/downloads/peta-elephants-1024.jpg?w=620

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.

https://i2.wp.com/www.petaindia.com/feat/photos/Khanna-ad.jpg?w=620

Oh, this is surprising. A fully-clothed guy. 😐 Let’s compare this one to the other ads.

Finally,
“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.

Lose the blubber? More like lose the douchebaggery.

PETA Save the Whales Obesity Billboard

Dear PETA:

Sometimes you have pretty cool campaigns.

Sometimes you miss the mark entirely and produce crap like this.

I don’t know who thought “YES, this is a great idea! Let’s use one of the most derogatory words for fat women and put it on a HUGE billboard and imply that women are whales that need to be saved from their gross obesity through vegetarianism (because only meat-eating women are obese)! This will entice people to become vegetarians! GENIUS!”

No. You fail.

And “trying to hide your thunder thighs and balloon belly is no day at the beach”?

Really? Really, PETA?

I’m not even going to go into their implications that ceasing consumption of meat equal healthiness (because that’s just not true) and that the differences between skinny/fat and vegetarian/omnivore are all caused by the meat or lack thereof in people’s diets. Jeez.

————–

PETA’s press release:

Jacksonville, Fla. — A new PETA billboard campaign that was just launched in Jacksonville reminds people who are struggling to lose weight — and who want to have enough energy to chase a beach ball — that going vegetarian can be an effective way to shed those extra pounds that keep them from looking good in a bikini. The ad shows a woman whose “blubber” is spilling over the sides of her swimsuit bottom and features the tagline “Save the Whales. Lose the Blubber: Go Vegetarian. PETA.”

Anyone wishing to achieve a hot “beach bod” is reminded that studies show that vegetarians are, on average, about 10 to 20 pounds lighter than meat-eaters. The meat habit can ruin the fun in other ways too. Consuming meat and dairy products is conclusively linked to heart disease, diabetes, and several kinds of cancer — not to mention higher rates of infertility in women and impotence in men. And not only is following a healthy plant-based diet good for the environment, it is also the best thing that anyone can do to help stop the routine abuse of animals raised and killed for food. Animals on factory farms are subjected to mutilations like debeaking, tail-docking, and branding (without any painkillers) and are often slaughtered and dismembered while still conscious.

“Trying to hide your thunder thighs and balloon belly is no day at the beach,” says PETA Executive Vice President Tracy Reiman. “PETA has a free ‘Vegetarian Starter Kit’ for people who want to lose pounds while eating as much as they like.

Fling

You know what’s better than a Twix bar? A fake Twix bar marketed towards women. Especially one that SHIMMERS.

“We created FLING™ Chocolate Fingers to celebrate the female spirit – the unapologetically feminine playful, naughty, flirtatious, and alluring nature that brings shimmer into the world.

FLING™ is a sweet, light truffle on a subtle crisp layer enrobed in shimmering chocolate that’s as glamorous as you are. At under 85 calories per finger, it’s slim, but not skinny. Indulgent but not greedy. Naughty but nice.

It’s also a way of living. As FLING™ women we are spontaneous – we shimmer! And when it’s good? We share it. So let yourself go! Have a FLING™ in private, or wave it all around town; in the office, the bedroom, or the great outdoors.”

What in the world–? You need to look at this website.

Shimmery sparkling pink overload. Also, just look at the language used! I can’t believe they were able to pack so many stereotypes onto one site. Women are “playful and naughty and flirtatious” and we “bring shimmer into the world.” That’s actually true because we FLING women excrete glitter and rainbows and fairy dust. DUH. 😐 Anyway. I don’t have a problem with women being naughty, flirtatious, playful, and shimmery, but I DO have a problem when that’s what women are reduced to. Welcome to the marketing world.

I love how they describe the “fingers” as “enrobed in shimmering chocolate” that are as “glamorous” as women are. The parallels between describing this food item and women are incredible. And, notice how they differentiate between skinny and slim? This is a worthwhile distinction; it’s bad if you’re “skinny,” but slim is fine…never mind healthy, though? That whole section seems like it’s describing the “ideal woman,” too (cf. the “FLING” woman, which is even interesting from a linguistic/semantic perspective–a FLING woman? the “other” woman? a mistress?). Slim, but not skinny; indulgent, but not greedy; naughty, but nice. Are we marketing a chocolate or are we marketing ideals of femininity and womanhood?

And the crazy relationship subtext here is intense–“have a fling; let yourself go” and “Have a FLING™ in private, or wave it all around town; in the office, the bedroom, or the great outdoors.” Really? Could we be a little more explicit about promoting cheating here, folks? I didn’t think so.

Actually, here’s some more:

“How should I properly care for my FLING™?

Like the women who crave it, FLING needs to be handled with care — try not to ruffle our delicate truffles and keep them in a cool, dry place. Between 65-75 degrees is ideal. Then you can pleasure yourself with this chocolate sensation time and time again.

I ALWAYS WANTED A CHOCOLATE THAT DOUBLED AS A DILDO!

MY CHILDHOOD DREAMS COME TRUE!

also:

“Keep things interesting and try a FLING™ Chocolate Finger in all three flavors – Milk Chocolate, Dark Chocolate, and Hazelnut – a ménage of flavors. Variety is the spice of life, so tear it open and sneak in a quickie.” REALLY? REALLY? A “ménage” of flavors? ROFL. Let’s have a threesome with these “chocolate fingers” because “variety is the spice of life.” I could go off the deep end and try to make some racial implications here, but that would be too much, albeit hilarious. This entire website wraps up ideals of womanhood, food, sex, and relationship models all into one big shimmering, glamorous package of fail.

However, the chocolate actually SHIMMERS, which is awesome. If I weren’t so amused by/disgusted at the marketing, I might actually buy some. You know how girls love their sparklies! (But really–I totally do.)

LINK.