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Vegans Against PETA
This is a blog for animal rights activists who are concerned about the misogynist, racist, homophobic and transphobic tactics used by PETA.   
Saturday, May 23, 2009
Way to fucking go, PETA
A large majority of Americans -- and a significantly larger percentage than last year -- view wearing fur as morally acceptable, according to a recent Gallup poll. Now, we all know that every time somebody criticizes PETA's misogynist anti-fur campaigns, they scream, "But SEX SELLS!!!!" (Never mind that stripping and beating a woman to death isn't sexy...but I digress...) What I'd like to tell PETA is, well, knuckleheads, if sex sells, then every damn person in the West should be against wearing fur by now. After all, practically everyone has seen your dumbassed "I'd Rather Go Naked Than Wear Fur" ads, and many have seen your other crap like the mostly-naked Suicide Girls in the newer "Ink Not Mink" campaign.

But as I've said before, tits and ass will not convince people of a damned thing. In fact, given evidence that viewing women as sex objects makes men less likely to listen to women and even shuts down the part of their brain that experiences empathy, those ads are probably doing far less good than hearing it from a fully-clothed woman, and may even be doing harm to women and animals by shutting off people's empathy. It should also be noted that when you use a campaign that demeans and degrades one group and it fails, not only have you failed to help the group you aimed to help, you've also made things worse for whatever group you threw under the bus in your campaign. This is yet another reason why PETA-style campaigns are so ill-advised -- you can't be sure it will work, and if it doesn't you've simply unleashed more harm on the world; your impact isn't just zero, it's negative. You're gambling with people's lives and dignity.

Similarly, what PETA doesn't understand is that convincing people to change their lifestyle is a hell of a lot different than getting them to buy a particular brand of beer, and it requires far different tactics, tactics that actually make people think and that will stick with them, tactics that will appeal to their conscience and connectedness with others, not make them feel superior to anyone who's not a white cisgender man. See, the way we treat animals now is part of a hierarchical system that puts straight white cisgender able-bodied etc. men at the top. Meanwhile people not in that category are in the middle at various rungs of the ladder depending on how many privileged characteristics they have, children are next to the bottom, and animals are at the very bottom. Doing things that uphold this hierarchy, such as exploiting women and thereby upholding sexism, will not do a damned thing to liberate animals; it will only strengthen the hierarchy, and will increase people's estrangement from others. We will sink or swim together, and if we as animal rights advocates can't even respect our fellow human beings there is no way in hell we'll get anybody to respect animals.

It might sound wishy-washy, but it shouldn't: We are all connected, goddamnit. Until we understand and live by that, until we feel it with every breath of polluted air we take and with every brutal hate crime and every report of a young black man gunned down in an urban wasteland, we will all lose. It is only with compassion, love and respect that we will win anything, and I simply don't see that in any of PETA's campaigns. I see scorn, bigotry, adolescent snickering and a despicable sense of moral superiority. Given that, nobody should be surprised that Americans think it's okay to kill animals for fur; PETA has simply decided that human beings are not capable of empathy and will only respond to demeaning displays of dominance over oppressed groups. They should be ashamed of what they've done, and the rest of us should resist PETA's type of thinking at all costs. In the end, humans, animals and the earth will all be the better for it.
posted by The Venerable Vegan Empress @ 8:51 PM  
5 Comments:
  • At May 24, 2009 at 5:55 PM, Blogger Stefan said…

    I have to say I love your blog. As I one time PETA supporter (a matter of days ago, and I can't say I'm entirely deprogrammed), I have been forced to re-evaluate my postion. What impeled me towards PETA was thet the CCF were against them, but as you have so able showed in previous posts. We can loathe the CCF without supporting an organization whose antics, it must be admitted are questionable at best.
    I actually came to this blog via PETA watch Australia, and I have got to say I love the way you tore them a new one.
    Long story short, I suppose this is a thank you note.

     
  • At May 24, 2009 at 9:07 PM, Blogger The Venerable Vegan Empress said…

    Wow. Thanks, Stefan! That's one of my favorite comments so far. I can't say I blame you for not being totally deprogrammed in a matter of days -- we're all on this journey together, and lots of days I'm just glad to hear people have started on their journeys at all!

    Totally unrelated to animal rights, I spent a few months in southeastern Australia after I graduated from college -- it's one of my favorite places in the world. I was floored to discover that women can walk down the street in most Australian cities and not get harassed much at all. And it's beautiful, and warm, and friendly....I could go on about it for days. :)

     
  • At May 25, 2009 at 6:58 PM, OpenID lyndorr said…

    Whatever the reasons for not wearing fur, I sure haven't learned them from PETA.

     
  • At May 25, 2009 at 8:48 PM, Blogger Stefan said…

    Everybody seems to love Australia, except the some of the locals, who like to say "Australia is a horrible place, the only place worse is anywhere else" (Okay, that sounded better in my mind than it looks written down, and I confess I filched it from Churchill's description of democracy). Why was it such a suprise that you could walk down the street in Australia without being harrassed? We're a civilized country, or am I so sheltered that the so-called 'civilized world' is less civilized that I imagine.

    An interesting thing I have noticed. Since leaving PETA I find myself still making excuses for their stunts. Like a person who leaves an abusive relationship will continue to make excuses for the abuser. I'm also angry with myself that I had to have it pointed out to me that PETA's advertising could be considered offensive. I understand on an intellectual level that as a white heterosexual male I occupy an unearned position of privelege in modern western society but deep down I'm still very much an unrecontructed chauvanist dinosaur. Some serious consciousness raising is in order, the "Sexual Politics of Meat" might be a good place to start, what else would you suggest a beginer Male Feminist, or is that a total contradiction

     
  • At June 4, 2009 at 2:58 PM, Blogger The Venerable Vegan Empress said…

    Hi Stefan! I'm trying to craft a response to your question, but Blogger has a new policy limiting the length of comments, and I keep going over it. Bah!

    For now, I'll just direct you to the blog Finally Feminism. Hopefully I will figure out a way to get the rest of my answer in! (Maybe I'll answer you in installments, LOL!)

    Thanks for commenting!

     

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Name: The Venerable Vegan Empress
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If you have any ideas for an article here or would like to write a post, I'd love that! I work full time, volunteer and take classes at my city's university, so I don't work on this project nearly as often as I'd like. Just send me a comment with your contact info -- I approve all comments before posting, so if you include info that you don't want published let me know and I won't publish your comment.
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