No Comment: PETA Doesn’t Want You to Wear Your Own Hair, Either

Many of the issues we deal with here at Ms. are very cut-and-dry.

Legislation to let a woman die on the hospital floor? Anti.

The female orgasm (and woman-positive sex education)? Pro.

Affording fetuses more rights than women? Again, anti.

Then there’s ending exploitation and cruelty towards animals…Okay, we’re with you there… by exploiting women? Wait, what?

That’s the bind PETA (People for the Exploitation of Tits and Ass?) keeps putting feminists in, as well as other women and women-loving people. Does “it’s for a good cause” excuse exploiting, dehumanizing and sexualizing women? Do we want to get behind animal rights when they’re packaged as caged, unclothed pregnant women on all fours, women marked up as cuts of meat, women being beaten with baseball bats, and (more than once) the likening of our natural pubic hair to clothing made from the skinned fur of slaughtered animals?

As the debate continues, I offer up PETA’s newest ad for comment. Again they feature a picture wherein the shock (and marketing) value lies in a resemblance to a woman’s body part. Again they vilify a woman’s natural pubic hair and encourage women to go “furless” and “bare” because, apparently, our vaginas in their natural states are just as disgusting as wearing dead animals as coats. This time, however, PETA has teamed up with Strip Ministry of Waxing, who will be donating some of the proceeds from Brazilian and “XXX” waxes to PETA.

Does this ad offend you, or does PETA get a break for a good cause? What do you think will be next from PETA– throwing red paint at au natural vaginas?

Ad from the PETA/Ministry of Wax “furless” campaign.

Comments

  1. I’ve been having these kinds of troubles with PETA lately myself; I actually just saw a picture today of the “PETA Police” handing out tickets for wearing fur/leather and, of course, this “police force” was made up of women dressed in not much of anything. I also saw something by PETA that sort of equated eating meat with genocide, which made me really uncomfortable. I am a vegetarian and I’m actually currently reading The Sexual Politics of Meat by Carol J. Adams after seeing it on the Top 100 non-fiction books list. Anyways, it makes me really uncomfortable (maybe almost angry) to see PETA doing stuff like that. I get that they (like Greenpeace) need the shock factor to get their point across, but I just strongly dislike that they feel they have to objectify women while doing so. I think it just really underlines how broken our society can really be and why we need to keep on keepin’ on to change things.

    So, to actually answer the question, PETA doesn’t get a break for a good cause. In fact, I’d like to hold PETA to higher standards because I think they know better than to act in a way that oppresses others.

    • PETA is clearly revelling in being sexist, designed to shock in the mistaken belief that this schlock

      will sell their ideas. I believe their “made ‘ya look” mysogyny actually turns more people off to

      animal rights than it attracts. Their repugnant ads actually present their message as a patriarchal syllogism:

      “treat women like animals & animals like people [means 'like men' as the only half of humanity

      they treat as fully human].” No wonder some folks have begun to see PETA to be functioning as a patriarchal meat industry agent provocateur organization. While that conclusion seems a bit far fetched to me, it expresses how awfully alienating to women & biophilic folks this ridiculous PETA tactic is.

  2. The problem is Peta isn’t a good cause.

    http://www.petakillsanimals.com/

    They kill more “rescued” animals than your local shelter, without giving the animals an opportunity to be adopted.

    Do they get a pass for de-humanizing women AND failing to protect animals? NO.

  3. I’ve had a theory for a while that PETA is actually run by the meat industry with the sole purpose of making animal rights look like a joke. They are unapologetic time and time again with their misogynistic ads. They actually kill animals instead of using their resources to save them. I’m most definitely a VEP (vegan for the extermination of PETA).

  4. This ad completely offends me. First of all, it’s none of PETA’s business how I choose to groom (or not) my ladybits. Secondly, they’ve turned women’s bodies into dehumanized parts, this time with an easy-access zipper, which is the first step in justifying violence against those parts.

    I cannot hear your message about animals if you have to shout it from the backs of women.

  5. Elyse the Kraken says:

    PETA needs to step off with their casual (and explicit) misogyny. Seeing these ads just makes me want to become less and less associated with the organization. I’m all for animal rights, but not when I, as a woman, am seen and depicted as an animal for advertisement purposes in PETA’s eyes.

  6. Jenny Wicker says:

    the only thing peta treats like meat, is women.

  7. This is not just PETA.

    I could say A LOT about misogyny and sexism in the animal rights communities, as I was practically raised in them and participated with my family. Out of the many things I’ve seen done to other women in the past 15 years, I have also:

    * been the victim of some serious online bullying twice, once being labeled a CARNIWHORE for admitting in a forum that I dated non-vegetarians.

    * been shunned by the community I belonged in for so many years because a popular “leader” who was a friend of my dad’s shoved his tongue down my throat, then blamed me for it, and the entire community turned against me.

    * seen much evidence of (and experienced myself) abusive relationships. can we say control issues??

    I should write an article about this. Does anyone else want to share experiences?

  8. Feminist Metalhead says:

    Men have always put me down and treated me like I’m absolutely disgusting if I want to keep my natural pubic hair. It always made me angry they thought they could tell me how to take care of my body. Thanks for letting me know I have the right to be in my natural state if I want to.

    • right.. but would you want your man to trim his beard if it was giving you a rash? or agitating you?

    • I live in an extremely conservative state. Where women are just as perpetuating misogynistic views as males. I’ve had women tell me that I need to shave my legs. Ain’t going to happen. When they get my following diatribe about our society they look at me as though I were the rudest creature in the room. Personally I think telling anyone that they need to do something is just as or more so rude.

      I believe that the whole shave your legs; arm pits; and now this pubic hair removal crap is pedofilic. Also the belief that women should be the size of a child (super skinny bodies) again points to pedofilic behavior of our culture. I am a woman. I have hairy legs and underarms. I am shapely. I am a woman!

      • I’ve had women tell me that it’s “gross” that I don’t shave my underarms and pubic hair (I do shave my legs in the summer and I wish I could stop). I don’t see how hair that grows naturally anyway is gross. My underarms and pubic region were always irritated after I shaved. Not to mention spending money on razors and shaving cream. I’m not completely comfortable exposing my underarms in public, which is also why I shave during the summer. I’m hoping that I can get over that and just be comfortable in my natural state.

        • I’m also a woman who tends not to shave. Well, I never shave my legs, they aren’t very hairy anyway, and what’s there is light-coloured. In the summer I shave my underarms, because I, too, am uncomfortable exposing my unshaved underarms. I wish I could get over that, but so far it hasn’t happened. Maybe next summer.

          I don’t shave my pubic hair either. Why would I want to look like a little girl.

  9. Heather Cyr says:

    Having women pose in violent and humiliating ways is . . . wait a second isn’t that pornography?

    And isn’t exploiting women to illustrate how animals are exploited sorta like trading one form of exploitation for another?

    And aren’t women exploited through human trafficking, prostitution, Hooters, and well, in every other way possible?

    Why yes, yes we are. And I for one do not support radicals who feel it is ok to throw women under the bus just to make a point. Why not do what feminists do- EDUCATE YOUR AUDIENCE !!!

    • Feminist Metalhead says:

      PETA actually had a real porn site employing famous porn stars. I feel bad for the people who donate and think they actually care about humane treatment of anything. All they do is take the donation money and give to the already filfty rich celebs. Occupy PETA!

  10. PETA: Defining the act of doing the wrong thing for the right reason.

  11. Oh wow. My first thought when I glanced at the poster was “Oh, jeez, yeah, the implication there IS the vilification of natural body hair, huh?” But then I actually looked at it, as well as the link to the Ministry of Waxing, and realised that no, those aren’t some unfortunate implications, that’s quite explicitly the entire purpose of the goddamn ad. This is a nightmare.

    And yeah, I don’t think the question of supporting PETA is especially grey. They’re a terrible organisation. I wouldn’t feel too conflicted about condemning them.

  12. Another vegetarian against PETA here. I honestly don’t know what I think about the whole “PETA kills animals thing,” or if PETA is remotely legit. I mean, not all of their ads are horrible- take Pink’s PSA on wool, for example (though I still use wool, I concern myself with its origin). But even if they were on the level and sincerely trying to do good, I don’t know how the think they can sell compassion for animals through cruelty and antipathy towards fellow humans. I’ve maintained for a long time “you can’t sell virtue through vice.” And they clearly don’t understand that all oppressions are related. Just one more example of screwed-up people trying to fix the world without figuring out what’s “wrong” (their own biases and such) with themselves first.

  13. PETA does NOT get a pass from me. It is perfectly possible to promote animal rights without exploiting and dehumanizing women. That is why I support The Humane Society instead, since they do.

    • I agree. I used to be a PETA member but have realized that my values and theirs are not in line, so I ceased donations and now donate to the Humane Society as well. They focus on lobbying and creating actual change instead of shock ads. I feel much better about where my money goes now.

  14. Ummm…. doens’t this ad accidentally send the message that it’s totally ok to wear leather? Only fur is a problem?

    So not only do they strongly support social norms as obvious truths, they’re doing so at the expense of a clear message.

  15. Well I came reading down the comments and thought it would be a bunch of ‘Haha! That is hilarious!’ dufus remarks. And some ‘woo PETA’ stuff. But I am delightfully surprised by everyone to realize that PETA, well, PETA kinda sucks at what it does and (as far as I can tell) is just another soon to be porn-industry site.

    Thanks everyone for getting things right so I don’t have to rant on here instead. =D

  16. I am not too well versed on the subject,but is fur for fashion really that big a problem these days?

    • You don’t see full, floor length, coats of it quite like you used to, but it’s still fashionable to wear coats with hoods lined or trimmed in fur. The same goes for boots.

      • My fur trimmed hood is road kill. Canadians apparently go around scrapping up road kill for its fur and selling to companies like London Fog who then “reuses” it as trim for it’s products. Thus what could be wrong with being Green?

  17. As a pet blogger and animal lover I’ve written a lot about animal welfare organizations. No one of them is perfect but PETA is not even close. Not only do they diss women, but they do not help animals as most people think. Unfortunately, just because Berman used the information about PETA for his own nefarious reasons that doesn’t mean it’s not true.

    Here’s a post I wrote a while back, even before PETA got into the porn biz: http://willmydoghateme.com/animal-welfare/not-so-

  18. I have a great deal of admiration for PETA and what it achieves in the treatment of animals and I will continue to support them as a cause. However, I think this advert is appalling and, yes, it is an exploitation of women’s bodies for attention. The attitudes this image perpetuates eclipses the positive work and achievements of the organisation.

  19. First off, let me say I’m a vegan who is not a PETA supporter and that I find PETA’s exploitation of women problematic. That said, I have talked to women in PETA to find out their views. They say it’s condescending to say they’re idiots for doing what they do. They say that they are competing head-to-head with “sexy”/sexist fashion advertisements so that to reach the same audience, they need to use the same type of images. They say it’s extremely successful in reaching teen girls and college women, for example, who are targeted by advertisers in fashion magazines.

    As for the women themselves, they are often models or actresses with conventional good looks who want to do something more meaningful than just posing in a bikini or lingerie. This allows them to do this, and they know exactly how sex (and sexism) sells.

    Finally, as for PETA killing lots of animals, yes, that happens. For the most part, PETA is awful and could easily approach sanctuaries and rescue groups and spin off some of their money to help them. But they don’t. That said, they are often approached to come in when no other group will and face animals in horrific circumstances where euthanasia is really the only choice. More than for probably any other animal group, this is the case for PETA. The PETAKills people love to bring up some PETA people being charged with killing animals in a van and dumping their bodies in a dumpster. What they don’t say is that they were found not guilty of all charges.

    • M in Reno, “found not guilty of all charges” is not the same thing as “didn’t do it.”

      In fact, the PeTA employees were caught red-handed, and did not try to deny once caught, killing healthy, highly-adoptable dogs and cats, puppies and kittens, that they had just obtained under false pretenses, and chucking the bodies in the Piggly Wiggly dumpster to avoid having these corpses added to the official tally back in Virginia Beach.

      They defended themselves successfully by arguing that the animals were now “their property,” to kill if they wished, despite lying to vets and pound workers in order to obtain them. (“We’ll find these good homes.”)

      To remain topical, this is the animal equivalent of the notion that it can’t be rape, she’s my wife.

      As for when “euthanasia is really the only choice…”

      I was part of a rescue where this was the popular wisdom. Terrible conditions at the puppymiller/hoarder’s place. Dogs were so degraded, much kinder to kill them all. Blah blah blah.

      227 dogs, most of them feral when seized, starved, parasitized, degraded and terrified. And every one of them is in a home now, and is someone’s beloved companion.

      One if them will be my next search and rescue partner. PeTA or HSUS, given the chance, would have murdered this marvelous being and called it “euthanasia.”

  20. Elisa Gonzalez says:

    I wrote directly to PETA about how offended I was at their ads and porn site. The response to me was that most of their staff is made up of feminists. I responded that was one of the stupidest answers I have ever received and that I would no longer support any of their actions as long as they continue to oppress women with their images. I am now choosing other organizations for animal advocacy.

    • LOOOOL that is one of the stupidest answers i have heard/ read.

      Sarah palin also calls herself a feminist.

      I think it’s great that you contacted them and heard what they had to say yourself.

  21. I became a vegan despite, and not due to, hearing vegan rants about how milk equals rape. Milk does no equal rape. Rape equals rape. (I can’t believe I have to say this!).

    • I’m curious what you mean by “milk does no[t] equal rape”? There’s no doubt that the dairy industry requires milk-producers to sexually violate their cows to impregnate them for the generation of milk. Are you claiming that the rape of nonhumans is ‘less rape’ than the rape of humans?

  22. Sorry… But did you say PETA is not a good cause? Or did you say PETA is a “terrorist” organization? Come on, at least they do something for this sick world full of animal abusers!

    And I don’t feel their adds are offensive to women, please!

  23. PETA asserted after the Vick scandal that his several hundred pit bulls could not be rehabilitated and needed to be put down – without having interacted with any of the dogs. Several other organizations, like the ASPCA, the Humane Society, and the Best Friends Network immediately stepped forward, criticized PETA, and insisted that should the dogs turn out, after therapy and evaluation, to be incapable of becoming safe, happy pets, they’d still deserve to live on a reservation and not be killed for someone else’s mistake. The Vick pit bulls have since been taken in by these organizations; to my knowledge none of them are dead and many of them have been adopted into loving homes.

    PETA is not acting in the best interests of animals and is a deeply racist and sexist organization. (See also dressing up like the KKK, and some of their deeply body-negative omnivorous-women-are-fat-and-that’s-gross-and-terrible advertising.) I care about the well-being of animals and support organizations that do animal welfare activism. PETA is publicity activism, and I have no interest in supporting them.

    • Out of the 51 dogs taken from Vick’s compound, 49 survived. I assume the two died because of their injuries. Later, two were euthanized. One was euthanized for aggressive behavior, and one was euthanized because of it’s injuries. Considering what they went through, those numbers are incredibly amazing. The surviving dogs are living with new families, or at rehabilitation sanctuaries, and four of them are working as certified therapy dogs.

      I guess it’s a good thing PETA didn’t get their hands on these dogs.

  24. This is a big reason why I hate that organization.

  25. Like some others on here I am a vegan who does not support PETA and is often frustrated by and/or outraged at their campaigns. I also choose to keep my “fur” and strongly dislike that this ad tries to make us think that’s unattractive and even something to be opposed.

    That being said, I don’t think this ad is any worse than any other that encourages women to make themselves look prepubescent to be attractive. It seems mostly like this is the Ministry of Waxing trying to make themselves look better by associating with an animal welfare organization. It will appeal to the kind of people who already aren’t turned off by PETA’s techniques or the idea that women are only sexually appealing if they look 10.

  26. As a feminist and a vegan, I am very confused by this. I had no idea PETA (whose website I find great information on – what products are/are not vegan and such) had misogynistic ads. Though I was familiar with the Pamela Anderson one – that one mostly just confused me. What was the point of that? Anyway, misogynistic ads are not okay, ever, no matter the cause.
    That being said, it really breaks my heart to hear people calling it a ‘terrorist’ organization.. Though I’m unsure about the accuracy of these stories (I will do research, certainly), I hate to think that people are basing their animal rights opinions on the wrong-doings of certain organizations. It would pain me immensely to know that some people choose not to educate themselves on the unethical treatment of CAFO animals simply due to these unsightly ads. Just because an organization claims to be (or is for) animal rights happens to be doing something wrong, doesn’t mean the belief itself is wrong. I really hope people don’t get caught up in all of the politics of it, and can still look at the foundation of animal rights (being harmless, giving a voice to the voiceless, etc.) with an open mind.

  27. I made a post on one of the peta2.com boards asking about this, and this is what I got in response. . .

    Hi there,

    Thanks for writing on our boards. I had to take down your post—we try to keep things light, fun, and positive on the boards. But I’d be happy to answer all of your questions. :]

    Our “naked” protesters and models choose to participate in our actions because they want to do something to make people stop and pay attention. We believe that people should have the choice to use their own bodies to make social statements, and that there is nothing shameful or “wrong” about being naked. This tactic has been used since Lady Godiva rode naked on a horse to protest taxes on the poor in the 11th century.

    Please know that we also feature men in our ads and protests:

    · http://www.peta2.com/oUTTHERE/o-SteveO_giveaway07.asp

    · http://www.peta2.com/outthere/o-careyhart-fur.asp

    · http://blog.peta2.com/2009/11/nfl_star_his_wife_star_in_rath.html

    · http://blog.peta2.com/2009/02/battlestar_galacticas_jamie_ba.html

    · https://secure.peta.org/site/Advocacy?cmd=display&page=UserAction&id=1915

    · http://www.peta2.com/oUTTHERE/o_ami_james_tattoo.asp

    · http://www.peta2.com/OUTTHERE/o-davidcross.asp

    · http://www.peta2.com/outthere/o-Rodman.asp

    · http://blog.peta2.com/2010/11/chad-ochocincos-ink-not-mink-psa.html

    · http://blog.peta2.com/2011/01/willis-mcgahee-shows-his-love-and-skin.html

    · http://www.peta2.com/outthere/o-chesterbennington.asp

    · https://secure.peta.org/site/Advocacy?cmd=display&page=UserAction&id=2940

    Activists who choose to bare their skin are dedicated to helping foxes who are electrocuted and skinned by the millions for the fur industry, calves who are torn from their distraught mothers and slaughtered for the meat industry, elephants who are beaten bloody and forced to live in chains year after year in circuses, and the billions of animals who suffer from torture, maddening isolation, starvation, terror, and violent death at the hands of uncaring industries.

    Take Ms. Traci Bingham, for example, who posed for our “All Animals Have the Same Parts” ad campaign (http://www.GoVeg.com/feat/tracibee/). She is a deeply committed vegetarian who is known to millions for her television work, including beating out a platoon of men to excel in an endurance test called “Boot Camp.” She chose to use her body as a political tool to grab public attention for serious animal issues. In this case, Ms. Bingham felt offended by the traditional “meat” posters that treat animals as “parts,” and she wanted to make the point that neither they nor women should be viewed as parts—we are all precious.

    We feel that all people should be free to use their minds and bodies as political instruments to bring attention to animal suffering like this, and we appreciate any effort to help those who need it. We use all available opportunities to reach millions of people with powerful messages. We have found that people do pay more attention to our racier actions, and we consider the public’s attention to be extremely important. Sometimes this requires tactics—like naked marches and colorful ad campaigns—that some people find outrageous or even “rude,” but part of our job is to shake people up and even shock them in order to initiate discussion, debate, questioning of the status quo, and of course, action. The current situation is critical for billions of animals, and our goal is to make the public think about the issues. Although some consider our projects that include nudity to be controversial, many women express support for these tactics.

    You might find it interesting to consider that it is the societies that allow women to wear revealing clothing in which women have the most rights and the most power. Likewise, it is the societies that punish women for wearing revealing clothing in which women have the fewest rights and the least power. Should women only be allowed to participate in activism if they promise not to show their bodies or use their bodies as political statements? If a person chooses to use his or her physicality and sexuality to convey a message of his or her choosing, aren’t those who would censor him or her, even if their motives are good, also somewhat guilty of disrespect and repression?

    PETA does make a point of having something for all tastes, from the most conservative to the most radical and from the most tasteless to the most refined, and this approach has proved amazingly successful—in the more than two decades since PETA was first founded, it has grown into the largest animal rights group in the world, with over 2 million members and supporters worldwide.

    We respect your right to disagree with our tactics but hope that you will continue to support projects that you do agree with—please check out our latest campaigns at http://www.peta2.com/TakeCharge.

    Thanks for everything that you do for animals, and please let me know if you have any questions!

    Sincerely,

    Annie Leal

    Assistant Street Team Coordinator

    People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals

    peta2.com

    • Pro-animal, anti-peta says:

      “Our naked protesters and models choose to participate in our actions because they want to do something to make people stop and pay attention. We believe that people should have the choice to use their own bodies to make social statements, and that there is nothing shameful or wrong about being naked. This tactic has been used since Lady Godiva rode naked on a horse to protest taxes on the poor in the 11th century.”
      Actually, said naked protesters were brainwashed into going naked for peta’s cause against their will by Psychopathic Evil Thugs for Animals, unlike Lady Godiva.

      “PETA does make a point of having something for all tastes, from the most conservative to the most radical and from the most tasteless to the most refined, and this approach has proved amazingly successful.”
      People Eating Tasty Animals: Lower than rock-bottom since 1980

    • “Activists who choose to bare their skin are dedicated to helping foxes who are electrocuted and skinned by the millions for the fur industry, calves who are torn from their distraught mothers and slaughtered for the meat industry, elephants who are beaten bloody and forced to live in chains year after year in circuses, and the billions of animals who suffer from torture, maddening isolation, starvation, terror, and violent death at the hands of uncaring industries.”
      Correction: Activists who are forced to bare their skin by Pagans Evading Truthful Advertising are exploited a la foxes who are electrocuted and skinned by the millions for the fur industry; calves who are torn from their distraught mothers and slaughtered for the meat industry; elephants who are beaten bloody and forced to live in chains year after year in circuses; the billions of animals who suffer from torture, maddening isolation, starvation, terror, and violent death at the hands of uncaring industries (including Psychopaths Euthanizing Terrific Animals!); and last but most definitely not least, the zillions of animals whose painfully violent demise comes at the hands/teeth/claws/whatever of other animals instead of humans!

      People Eating Tasty Animals: Stupid rotten bullies for animals since 1980

  28. Peta thinks that they are comparable to Lady Godiva…

    No one takes Peta seriously, and no one ever will—aside from Peta supporters of course. Who are all missing their entire neo-cortex…

    • I loathe peta and you do too says:

      Lady Godiva has nothing to do with peta: when Lady Godiva rode a horse while naked as a means of protesting taxes, she did so at her husband’s request and wasn’t brainwashed by Psychopathic Evil Thugs for Animals into doing so against her will!
      People Eating Tasty Animals: Evading common sense since 1980

  29. I resent the implication that all animal rights activists abuse women. PETA does not even exist in Canada. Personally, I oppose any product from animal fetuses (cows/sheep/goats/horses) because generally the mother is also slaughtered. That doesn’t make me anti-abortion. It just means that I oppose animal fetuses being used in animal research/leather/parchment/cosmetics. I oppose the so-called wonderful sex-trade. It’s supposed to be okay if white middle-class women choose to be sex objects. I don’t agree. Not all animal rights activists degrade women. What about Humane Society of the United States? What’s wrong with them? They do wonderful work. I don’t eat eggs because of the treatment of hens/roosters – it’s not that I consider the egg to be a baby chicken. I consider myself a feminist, but the women’s movement has to realize not all animal rights activists go around degrading women.

    • People eating tasty animals against People Eating Tasty Animals says:

      No sense judging all people who strive to help animals by the unimaginable stupidity of Psychopathic Evil Thugs for Animals!

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