I want to support PETA, but not when they compare meat to rape
Their new ad campaign has gone too far
Animal rights activist group PETA released a new ad this week comparing the treatment of animals to human sexual assault. It’s one thing to cause a bit of uproar online, but it’s another to make women feel deeply uncomfortable, attacked and victimized. And unfortunately, that’s exactly what this ad does.
A black and white filter sets the scene, it begins with women staring into the camera to tell stories: “One man held me down, while another man touched me,” “I was so scared, I didn’t know what I had done wrong,” “I felt like I was nothing.” It appears to tell traumatizing stories of sexual assault.
Except it goes on, and ends like this:
“Every year, billions of animals are born into the meat, egg and dairy industries. Almost all of them are a result of forcible artificial insemination. Almost all of them are a result of rape. Don’t participate, go vegan.”
It’s very easy for me to want to support PETA, especially as a vegetarian and a big animal rights backer. But as someone who has experienced sexual assault, I’m torn.
They get a lot very right — their persistent fight against fur is admirable and they’re committed to rescuing neglected animals. They buy into bigger businesses like Prada and Sea World in order to sit on the boards and oppose monstrosities such as ostrich skin bags and captive dolphins. They’re really fucking successful.
I want to support PETA, but I don’t understand how I can when they do shit like this.
Sure, the aim of PETA campaigns is one of discomfort. They’re one of the biggest contenders in the scare marketing game, with the intention of persuading us to support their work. But how is that possible when an advert so blatantly and shamelessly compares the treatment of livestock with human sexual assault victims?
This new advert is a far cry from these achievements. Instead, it’s one minute and nine seconds of victimization and dehumanization.
Being sexually assaulted in itself provides more than enough dehumanization and shame as a result of societal expectations. No victim, no survivor, no person who has been put through the shame, the confusion, the anger, the agonizing pain of sexual assault should have their experiences compared to animals.
PETA think it’s okay to expose the realities of the fucked up meat industry via whatever means they like, and it includes humiliation of some of the most vulnerable people in our society. Apparently, for them, there is no line that can’t be crossed.
Holocaust survivors, disabled people, women and their bodies — PETA has done it all. They’ve proven themselves to be pretty fucking sexist and misogynistic in order to defend poorly treated animals. What’s the deal with portraying women’s bodies as pieces of meat and claiming that turning veggie can get you the “ideal” body, one of a professional athlete? They claim to be approaching animal rights in a creative manner, but somehow they’re unable to think outside of the (really offensive) box.
It’s one thing to expose the realities of forcible artificial insemination, something cruel and inhumane, something we absolutely should not be supporting. But as victims of sexual assault, we don’t deserve to be compared to animals and we certainly don’t deserve to be dragged into the blame.
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