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Naked and Chained: Report Back

Objectified and exploited lions, tigers and elephants have been dying for the entertainment of circus fans. The corporate media has turned a deaf ear to their pain. Meanwhile "Christine" shivers in the cold rain while passers by keep going.
People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA) staged a bizarre protest down on Front and Ankeny today. In an effort to bring attention to the cruelty inflicted upon animals by the Ringling Brothers and Barnum and Bailey circus, they stripped a woman naked, shackled her arms and legs, affixed faux scars to her back, and laid her on the sidewalk in the rain in the hopes that, as one woman told me, "men might look at her, and then maybe learn about the issue."

I had heard they were planning to do this, and went down to see it for myself. I wanted to ask why they would do such a thing. How could otherwise well-meaning individuals with the noble goal of ending the oppression of animals not understand the connection between the objectification and exploitation of women and that of animals? How did they imagine that this act of sexualization of violence would alleviate the brutality meted out against animals at the circus?

This is not meant to be a condemnation of PETA. Indeed, I had very mixed feelings about this event, which is why I made it a point to attend. I wanted to understand this conflict better. I believe very strongly in the rights of animals. This is an issue that rarely gets any attention, yet violence against animals claims more lives every day in this country than one can even imagine. Like me, these very committed people want to end that violence.

But I also believe very strongly in the human rights of women. I saw this gesture as an offensive pandering to the male gaze, a willingness to sacrifice the dignity and respect of women for a cause that could only be hindered by the attempt. By definition, exploitation is about using others as objects, as means to an end. It is just this kind of attitude that leads to the violence of the circus. Could the ends justify the means in this case? Could the offensive nature of the protest they had planned be justified? I wanted to reconcile the whole thing in my mind somehow.

I found it all to be even more complicated than I had anticipated. I arrived to find almost no one there. I watched as they assembled a small banner, and then "Christine" disrobed and laid herself down on the wet pavement. Another woman clamped shackles on her ankles and wrists. Christine faced the banner and almost never looked up. A small group of protestors assembled near by, holding posters depicting a shackled elephant foot. Cars drove by without slowing down.

Matt Rossell, with In Defense of Animals (IDA) was there. I asked him what he thought of it all. He said he was there to support PETA in their attempt to end violence against circus animals. While he expressed some discomfort at the use of the woman in chains, he said he could not condemn the tactic because almost no one is listening to this issue. Something needs to be done to get people's attention. However, he did express some concern that there needs to be sensitivity about using a tactic like this.

Matt pointed out that many elephants have died for the circus recently, and that the lion "Clyde" died en route to a performance due to extreme neglect and cruelty. He said that PETA had brought the trainer of that lion, now a whistleblower against Ringling Bros, to a press conference in Portland last week to discuss how the lion had died. No one came. No one cared. Perhaps a naked, shackled woman would bring people in to hear this message.

The irony, of course, is that no one came anyway. Sex only sells, it seems, if the price is cheap. The power to tell this story was too high a price for the corporate media to pay, even for a gratuitous trade like this one.

I spoke to a representative of PETA as well, who pointed out that "We live in a tabloid culture" and "we need to do quirky things like this to get attention." (I heard the "tabloid culture" line again and again while I was there.) She said that she has had a great deal of difficulty in getting corporate media coverage of this issue, and that she's been told on more than one occasion by "journalists" that they could not cover the issue because their station was sponsored by Ringling Bros. Interesting. Usually, they are not quite so blatant about the fact that their news is determined by their sponsors. As Matt observed, Usually, they try to hide the connection between their news department and their sales department a little better.

Given the relentless and unceasing violence against animals, and the deaf and dumb corporate media, one almost can't blame them for using any means necessary to be heard. As I looked back at Christine, still shivering on the cement, I thought about that: Naked woman as silent scream to the gallery.

I spoke to her briefly, but found it unsettling to watch her shiver, wet hair pasted to her face. I asked her if she felt at all uncomfortable about the use of sexualized violence, the use of her body to make this point. She said she did not. She repeated the same answer about "tabloid culture" that the other woman had given me. She seemed somewhat defensive, as if she expected me to judge her harshly and couldn't understand why I didn't get what she was trying to do. She told me she had done this by choice, and so she was not being exploited.

Maybe. But then again, everything else they had told me was about how they had no choice. How the corporate media had ignored them, how the violence would continue unless they could make people hear what they had to say. How they were forced into this desperate act because they couldn't figure out what else to do. That didn't seem like a free choice to me.

I slowly began to realize that we have all learned at an early age that in order to get attention, one must pose and smile for the male gaze. All of the magazines and movies and soap operas we've ever been sold have taught us this. We must sell ourselves. We must degrade ourselves for the entertainment and amusement of others and then maybe, just maybe, they will listen to us. Just as the animals have had to learn that if they amuse their masters, they might be fed and they might not be beaten as severely.

So I do get what Christine was trying to do. But I still don't like it. I don't like the idea of trying to free one hand by shackling another. And I do not believe that it's right, or necessary, or even effective to play by those rules. That's no way to change the world. Yes, it IS a tabloid culture. It's also a culture of violence against women, violence against people of color, violence against poor people, and yes, violence against animals. It's up to us to change all that. And the way we will do that is not by selling out one oppressed group to elevate another. Rather, we will make real changes only when we connect all the dots and see the big picture. When we recognize the links between all forms of oppression, and when we stop playing by The Man's rules. That's a rigged game. When we step away from it, we win.

PETA is doing what they can 15.Sep.2004 21:57

anonymous

PETA does a lot of demos with nude men as well. Yes, I agree it is a very sexist world, but can we PLEASE stick to the point here: Ringling Bros. is extremely abusive to animals. PETA is trying to do something about it. Let's not criticize PETA when we should be criticizing Ringling Bros. Christine was not taken against her will and chained and beaten like the animals are, she was not scared and lonely and frustrated like the animals are, she was just trying to make a point. I am a woman and I have a voice that I use to speak up for myself when I feel I need to. The animals can't even do that.

I didn't go on purpose 15.Sep.2004 22:21

gk

I didn't go on purpose. I cannot condone this type of sensational protest. It's a desperate move to draw attention to abused circus animals. I don't like the place it puts women or men, either. We don't chain people whether in featured protests or pornography.

Catwoman's attempts to understand are highly credible, and PETA's explanations are rational. Yet interconnections of all life won't be won this way. Even so, I commend the attempt and criticize it, also. brrrrr.

animal crackers in my soup 16.Sep.2004 00:26

igloo

y'know, the use of that term "the male gaze" is so stupidly counterproductive, but oh well....certain of the other gender enjoys looking at those kind of chicks as well, remember? Beyond that, this whole gimmick with the "nude woman" chained with faux scars affixed, staged as a instructional or informational demonstration intended to raise awareness of alleged abuse of animals by Ringling Bros. circus makes no sense whatsoever. Mature intelligent people, coincidentally being women, wouldn't stage a performance that is obtuse to the point of being idiotically so.
It's no wonder people didn't show up. There's an almost unlimited list of superior places to see nude chicks other than a wet sidewalk in old town.
Where's the real dope on circus abuse of animals, like photos and guerilla video? Take that shit to OPB TV and challenge them to broadcast it. Or poster and leaflet around places like day care centers, grade schools, high schools. I don't think people really believe that abuse of circus animals by ringling is a reality. Regardless of how much documentation in hand, until that point is made irrevocably clear, the sidewalks can be filled with naked chicks and it ain't going to save a single animal any grief.

Wow 16.Sep.2004 00:57

j

Thanks for the report, CatWoman. I was a bit grossed out when I read of the plans for this protest yesterday. More specifically, the Hustler-esqe advertisement for it. But from your description of what went on, I think it sounded entirely appropriate. I just wish some people showed up. To the person who said we don't chain people up in protest... well, that's not true. People chain themselves to things all the time in protest. People have worn sacks over their heads in protest of the the prisoner abuse in Iraq. People do all sorts of things in protest and will continue to. I do understand your dislike of the tactics, but I can't blame Peta for trying.

Interpretation? 16.Sep.2004 05:32

Mike stepbystpefarm <a> mtdata.com

That is the question -- how would I, were an observer interpret this demonstration.

Since I am not a PETA person I can't speak for what their motivation was, but I doubt the "sensationalism" explanation we are being given. The reason is simple. The person commenting obviously is speaking from the atttitude that humans and no animals, are superior to animals, are more important than (other) animals, etc. For that reason he or she sees the demo as "exoploitation" of a more seriosu problem.

But the PETA people I have encountered don't think that way. I would have interpreted this exhibition, had I seen it, meaning that our exploitation of animals is JUST LIKE exploitation of women, and that if you found something wrong with seeing this woman exposed chaoined, etc. then it SHOULD bother you to see (other) animals so exposed and exhibited.

Has PETA run out of ideas? 16.Sep.2004 06:50

Nick

Thank you CatWoman for posting your observations of PETA's recent protest. PETA has made it clear that they have no concerns about being associated with pornography or actions that objectify women. Naked women, women naked and displayed as if they were dead, naked women with "bruises" and in chains, it's all O.K. with PETA.

As a vegan, animal rights activist, I share your outrage at the treatement of animals in circuses. But we cannot ignore the concerns of women simply because the issue of animals in circuses is urgent.

PETA has done very creative actions in the past. But it seems that their default protest is to put a naked woman in front of the cameras and hope for media coverage. Have they really run out of ideas? Is this the only way they can get the public's attention?

The feminist Nikki Craft has an interesting website about PETA. Check it out: www.nostatusquo.com/ACLU/PETA/peta.html

PETA Trivializes Animal Rights... 16.Sep.2004 06:51

NYC AR- Activist

I wa saddened by CatWoman's article. It pains me to read of Peta's blatant use, and justification, of sexism as a legitimate way to reach people with their message. I am a woman and an animal rights activist, and I am continually amazed at the level of ignorance Peta shows in regards to the philosophy of "inter-connectednes. That is supposedly what the animal rights philosophy is based on, yet they continue to ignore this fact. There is NO justiciation for exploiting any oppressed group of people in order to end the oppression of another group. This is absurd, illogical thinking. Let's just imagine if instead of all the ads that use the sexualized objectification of women, there were ads and campaigns that pandered to rascists and homophobic people.
It pains me even further that a movement comprised of a majority of women, allows this to happen. There is no doubt that "sexism sells." My answer to that is: So what! In some parts of the country, rascism or homophobia would certainly sells also. Does that mean we should jump on those bandwagons? Of course not. Appealing to peoples lowest nature is not a tactic that any social justice movement should rely on, ever. Combining the message of animal rights with Playboy, as Peta does, and with the objectification of womens bodies is doing just that, appealing to the lowest among us. We can do better than that, and we must.

P.S. I urge every animal rights activist to read The Sexual Politics of Meat, by Carol J. Adams. Perhpas having a historical perspective on the ways women and animals have been treated in society will enlighten those who fail to make the connections between sexism and animal oppression.
Thanks.

Regarding PETA and "lots of nude men demos" 16.Sep.2004 06:54

CatWoman

Anonymous says this isn't sexist exploitation, that this isn't the point. So I checked the PETA website. If you want to really understand how deep PETA's sexism runs, you should too. Go to www.peta.org and check out some of their "merchandise." I saw so many supine women I thought it was the playboy channel. I don't think I saw as much Pamela Anderson in her honeymoon video as I saw here. Naked women writing on chalkboards, naked women on their backs, even a woman wearing fake leather with her ass sticking out (both in her pose and out of her clothes). I did not see one, single naked man. Unless you count the guy whom you only see from the top of his shoulders up, with a chick on his shoulder. The caption reads, "Chicks love a vegetarian" or something like that.

I watched some of their promotional commercials until I could no longer stand it. Co-eds starring in a porn commercial, Pamela Anderson again, and finally, a woman being beaten to death -- yes, beaten to death -- with a bat on the subway while she screamed, having her fur coat ripped off. Maybe there were some naked men in there somewhere, but that's as far as I got.

"Anonymous," this is a serious problem. If PETA really wants to be taken seriously as animal rights advocates, and if they really want to find a solution to the problem, then they must understand the connection between sexism and speciesism. They must understand that violence leads to exploitation, and a culture of violence and exploitation leads to the circuses, the puppy mills, and all the other things they say they want to stop.

And, anonymous, if you really want people to "please stick to the issue," then why didn't you ask that of the demonstrators? I didn't bring this up, they did. If they had really wanted to talk about animal rights, then that's what they should have talked about. Instead, they trotted out the same tired, naked-female archetype common to every car magazine and beer commercial. If they don't want people to be talking about that, then they should not have used that as a tactic. Honestly, what do you expect?

As I said in the article, I did not intend this to be a condemnation of PETA, and I don't think it was. (If I had really wanted to do that, I would have expounded on how many opportunities they allowed to slip by to actually reach any of the few people who did wander by to gawk at the naked woman. Protestors awkwardly stood in a small knot talking to each other while a few curious males stopped to look. Several walked away without ever being approached with flyers or any explanation as to why she was even there. It wasn't until a person who was not even involved with PETA took some flyers from someone and began handing them out that any communication occurred on this at all. If you're going to use naked women to make a point, maybe you should at least try to make that point.)

Once again, I do not condemn any of the people who took part in this protest. They tried a desperate tactic to get some attention for a cause that I believe in as much as they do. I am grateful that anyone out there cares enough to do anything at all, and as I said above, I can understand why they felt they needed to try something sensational. However, I believe the objectification of women is the wrong tactic, is counterproductive, and as you can hopefully see by all this, it wasn't even effective. It did not work. No one came.

peta is sexist 16.Sep.2004 09:10

roger

Peta appears to be more concerned with getting the Peta name out there than fostering thoughtful consideration to animal rights concepts. Their news releases are boilerplate - opening with offensive double entendres that have the sophistacation of a drunken frat boy, followed by the horrific details of a particular animal abuse. It's not enough that the woman being used in any particular stunt is it out of her own free will. A woman can engage in sexist behavior just as Clarence Thomas can foster racism or gay republicans can foster homophobia.

peta porn 16.Sep.2004 09:16

vegan dave

Atlanta — Wearing nothing but stylish faux-leather shoes and a banner reading, "Pleather Your Tootsies," a trio of PETA beauties—including Finnish adult film star Karina—will protest in busy downtown Atlanta on Friday to expose the cruelty to animals that is inherent in every pair of leather shoes while revealing that you don't need to wear animal skins to look hot. They will also be giving away PETA's free "Shopping Guide to Compassionate Clothing":


Karina, a strict vegetarian who avoids all animal products, wants to raise awareness about the many stylish alternatives to leather. The sexy pleather shoes that she wears in her films easily pass muster with the most demanding foot fetishists, and for bondage scenes, she insists on using all nonleather outfits and bondage gear.

PETA are over the top 16.Sep.2004 10:07

blah

I've found PETA to be a very radical organization that alot of times goes outside
of the law to get their message across. They advertise for free VEGAN kits and when
you expect to recieve some vegan goodies in the mail you get a bunch of PETA graphic
material. Very deceptive if you ask me and thus doesn't suprise me this group would
stoop to other such measures.

Leave PeTA alone!! 16.Sep.2004 10:24

Peta fan

I don't think you should give PeTA such a hard time. They get the message out that animals are abused and the bad stuff that happens to them. And it's cool that sexy people can like animals more than ugly people, because we have only sexy people on television anyway! So what if it makes people horny, there are worse things than that!!

Come on now 16.Sep.2004 10:24

Lovely Rita

Instead of bitching so much, why don't you do something? If you don't like what PETA does, come up with your own ideas on how to stop animal exploitation and do it.

peta and "bitching" 16.Sep.2004 10:36

roger

Unfortunately, thought provoking actions and events which are carried out get ignored because PeTA steamrollers over grassroots groups with their obnoxious messages. Criticism is, of course, not to be tolerated but to be shouted down. Hence we see the sexist and speciesist term "bitching" used, and the unsubstantiated allegation that those who criticize take no other actions.

Thought Provoking Events? 16.Sep.2004 10:51

Lovely Rita

As in? How thought provoking is it, if no one knows about it?

As in.... 16.Sep.2004 11:28

roger

For instance, the Coalition for Animal Rights held a feed at the University of Maryland, College Park. People were directly educated at the event, and some media picked up on it. No one was naked, there was no bait-and-switch needed (as in "hey, I'm naked, and by the way, chickens are being debeaked").

"bitching." 16.Sep.2004 11:38

to "lovely rita"

How transparent of you to use the term "bitching." I think we know where you stand.

But I can address the idea that people who criticise Peta should do something rather than complain. Actually, this pathetic PETA demo sounds like it was about as effective as a resounding game of solitaire. Peta's tactics not only do not work, but serve to undo work done by other activists.

Why, for example, did PETA not do any local organizing? (If they had, they would have known that front street was a ridiculous location for this "action." Why not Pioneer square?) Why did PETA not hand out their own flyers, rather than waiting for someone from the outside to do it for them? Why was Matt from IDA able to explain the situation, the issues, and the need to do something, while the people from PETA were not?

AR activists all over Portland are "doing something." I appreciate that PETA activists also want to do something. But they must accept the legitimate criticism of something that has been a well-known and ongoing problem in their organization for some time. Shouting down this criticism will not make it go away. PETA needs to re-think the systemic exploitation of women so painfully evident in this action, and in so many other poor choices that PETA has made. I, too, am left to wonder what people would think if PETA's strategies involved the ridiculing and exploitation of people of color rather than women. Would that be all right with you too? Because it isn't acceptable to me.

Finally, Rita, on this: "How thought provoking is it if no one knows about it?" Exactly. No one knew about or showed up to this sorry little affair either. I know I never heard about it until this. And it sounds as if, even when a few people did happen by, they still didn't know what it was all about because no one told them. Pathetic.

If you want to support PETA, do it by encouraging them to stop degrading women. Their message will carry much more weight, among activists and non-activists alike. And maybe, people will "get" their message if they stick to the issue, rather than wallowing around in the cesspool of sophomoric titilation.

I've seen naked protests, by the way, that rocked. The difference is, they did not glorify violence, and they did not portray women as hustler babes. Check out Peta's own literature on that one: Women don't really sit/stand/pose like that. That's some adolescent male's wet dream, and they know it. Why they think it will work is beyond me. It certainly didn't this time, did it.

Indeed 16.Sep.2004 11:53

Some Kid Who Was There

When the word "bitching" came out, it all made sense.

What it really comes down to is "Do the ends justify the means?" If these women are being exploited, or for lack of a better word, objectified, there are two sets of consequences, the immediate and the long-term. The long term are just speculations but in this circumstance, they include such serious matters as rape. Do you buy the link between this and rape? If so, you probobally oppose PETA. If not, go ahead, do whatever. I'm sort of torn.

PeTA promotes hatred of Women 16.Sep.2004 11:59

Respect all animals

According to PeTA's release for the event, the image is of "a tall, curvy blonde" "beauty [baring] all" "sprawling on the ground" "wearing nothing but shackles and covered in 'scars' and 'bruises' as a result of violent 'beatings.'"

PeTA's poster shows a "supermodel" shackled on hands and knees with scares and bruise and text reading "Shackled, Lonely, Beaten."

PeTA sells a t-shirt that reads, "Whips and chains belong in the bedroom not the circus. Boycott Ringling Brothers."

Anything PeTA is saying about the circus is drowned out by the graphic and explicit promotion of S&M, violent pornography, and misogyny. PeTA is making a point of using a "supermodel" or "a tall, curvy blonde." They are making a point of showing these women as victims of "violent beatings". PeTA is saying violence to women is sexy. That is the image of sex PeTA is "selling". PeTA is not saying anything about animal exploitation or animal rights.

PeTA has promoted pornography through the organizations website. PeTA has a relationship with the Playboy and the publisher of Penthouse. PeTA promotes a website that sells implements of animal exploitation and torture (whips, restraints, collars, leashes, etc.) as "sex toys".

I'm sure many people reading this who will defend pornography, just as there are always those who will defend circuses and black-face.

Wake up! PeTA is the circus!

every degrading image of "sexy" violence against women is part of the problem 16.Sep.2004 12:07

Nikki Craft

Imagine instead their ad agency hunts up a "contrarian" African Amerikan to get on his knees before a white man, shine his shoes while shuckin' n jivin' with an Amos/Andy grin to make some message about vegetarianism. Should we be duped into taking such an advertisement seriously? Should we be expected to take it as "liberating" because it's framed as "protest" yet upon looking deeper it's just jacking up racial stereotypes and white privilege? Would we be expected to, could we take PeTA seriously? Yet some insist we ought to when they are jacking up sexual stereotypes, male privilege and conservative politics.

Why sidetrack the debate with false arguments? No one is trying to censor PeTA's legal right to discredit their cause. However, it needs to be labeled what it is: Reactionary bigotry and the cooptation of an organization.

PeTA: Where Only Women Are Treated Like Meat:
 http://www.nostatusquo.com/ACLU/PETA/peta.html

From my ponit of view 16.Sep.2004 12:14

Trulie

I am an animal rights activist. I am also a feminist: I believe that women's interests deserve equal consideration in all of life's circumstances. I also am a PETA supporter and have volunteered for many of their "eye-catching" demos. I have dressed in a cow's suit and a fur coat with a bag over my head. I have also worn a pleather "dominatrix" outfit to educate about the cruelty in leather and protested the circus as a tiger in a cage wearing orange body paint, pasties, and underwear.
Most recently, with PETA I helped distribute Tofurkys as a "sexy Santa" in a mini skirt, crop top and high-heeled boots.

In cities throughout the Midwest we asked people to consider the animals this holiday season by going vegetarian. Many local activists were very helpful to us; their desire to help animals was very apparent. But we were not met with open arms at every location; in fact, some animal rights activists found this an occasion to protest us by not participating and emailing their condemnation of what they claimed is a "sexist" and "exploitive" kind of activism. I know that many take issue with "sexy" demos and ads for animal rights because this is believed to not be in keeping with a feminist perspective. However, as a woman and feminist, I believe that these demos are very much in sync with feminism. They are created by and volunteered for by women, smart women who realize that these costumes get valuable attention. The media is more impressed with demos where activists are in these costumes than others. This is a simple fact and PETA generates more media attention from their demos than many others. Obviously when the media is involved, more people are exposed to the message. I think that potentially exposing tens or hundreds of thousands to the AR "go veggie" message is better than the few hundred we will encounter on the street. If a woman has the ability to create a demo and she or other women want to volunteer for the demo, then, to be given equal consideration as feminism dictates, these women have a right to contribute to the movement in this way. In fact when people say that PETA "uses" women they are relegating women to the very role we have fought to be rid of, namely, "things" that need to be ordered around and kept in their place.


It's ironic that none of the activists offended at my sexy costume spoke to me. My male companion was the only one to hear their objections. I may have been considered too submissive and un-opinionated to have an answer and they "respect women" too much to discuss the issues with me.
They may have been afraid to hear what I might have to say. Maybe they thought I was chained up and gagged by PETA since they were "using and objectifying" me? Did they think that I was nothing more than a sexual piece of meat who didn't know what was being done to her or able to make her own choices? This thinking further perpetuates the idea that women are incapable of taking care of themselves and taking on very serious activism for animal rights.

So I ask each of you, when you see women dressed "sexily" for activism, do you see a victimized woman with nothing to offer the world other than her body? Or do you see a woman who intelligently and freely chooses to use her body to make a point? Your answer may lead you to your own hidden sexism. We all have different ways to contribute to animal rights activism. PETA's eye-catching demos are just one way to further the message that animals are not ours to eat, to wear or to experiment on.
I found my role as the "tiger" in a cage wearing nothing but body paint, underwear, and pasties to be a very moving experience. Yes, I was very self-conscious and very cold. But I have never really understood what it must be like to be an exploited animal in a circus until that moment. I have never known what is a lifetime of suffering for tigers in circuses until my experience in that cage being gawked at and laughed at. The only difference was that, unlike the animals, I was able to emerge from that cage unharmed.

I am grateful for that experience whether or not it was effective to convince my onlookers of the evils of animals used for entertainment. I am angry that others would have it that I should not have been allowed to participate in that demo. In fact, I am a better person having done this demo. I saw many young girls looking at me with wide eyes in my Sexy Santa costume. This to me is a true test of my feminist ideas. If I can look at what I am doing and think that I am emulating what it means to be a positive role model for the women of tomorrow, then I am being true to myself and to women. I hope that they saw a woman with a loud voice who is not afraid to stand up for what she believes in. I hope they saw a woman who promotes compassion and peace for all living beings. I hope they saw that the female body and being sexy is nothing to be ashamed of and that striving to be healthy and fit is a good goal to have. I hope that they saw that not being waif-like skinny with the media portrayed idea of female beauty does not mean that you cannot be proud of who you are and how you look.

I don't think that women have achieved all that there is achieve for equality. But I do believe that, at least for women in America, we don't have that much farther to go. Compare this to the animals who are blowtorched, mutilated, vaginally electrocuted, impregnated to have their babies ripped from them and then tortured for their milk and meat, hacked open for science, and beaten, exploded and tormented for entertainment. In all seriousness, who is the exploited group? Considering the immensity of the problem of animal exploitation, I find that the majority of the complaining about PETA and their "using" women to be a distraction that needs to stop. I don't believe, and I'm sure that many will be offended at this, that people who choose to make an issue about women in PETA demos and ads have really considered the animals first. I would suspect that the animals would think that you could help them in better ways than sounding off in protest of PETA.

I am a feminist who has worked in 16.Sep.2004 13:10

M

rape crisis centers, and even taught a section of the crisis line training. I devoted many years of my life to working on issues of violence against women. I don't consider PETA demos exploitation. While I don't love all the PETA demos, I agree with Trulie above, because...when and if I think of some strategy that will bring more attention to the animal rights cause, I will do it, including parading around in a bikini if need be. Why? Because it's my CHOICE to do so, and I know that the animals have no choice whatsoever on farms and in labs and in circuses and such. Get that: no choice at all as to their fate. I know that the animals at OHSU's primate center experience a level of suffering that none of us writing on this board ever will. Were we ripped away from our mothers at birth, and then thrown alone into a 2 by 2 foot metal cage to live out our entire lives? Are we tortured daily? The animals really do have it worse than us, although many human activists won't look into how the animals are treated, and can't admit that any nonhuman's life can be worse than any human's. That's speciesist. But most feminists and other human rights activists I know eat meat. I know that some of the anti-PETA sentiments on here are from vegan AR activists; but I know that at least one of the most vocal commenters on here is not vegan, and not AR at all. I would ask that people learn about the sheer hell the captive animals go through in this world. A woman deciding to wear a g-string to make an analogy to the animals plight...really isn't pornography, in intent or social context or consequence to the woman in the activity. Likewise, someone miming the torture at Abu Ghraib (as has been done in protests), is not promoting torture. Context and intent does mean something.

to trulie 16.Sep.2004 13:18

CatWoman

Thank you, Trulie, for that perspective. I appreciate your candid and well-presented thoughts. However, I still do not agree with you. These are not "sexy" protests and "sexy" costumes; they are "sexist." Listen to your descriptions of them. Read what you have written. You are, in fact, pandering. Pure and simple.

You say, "So I ask each of you, when you see women dressed "sexily" for activism, do you see a victimized woman with nothing to offer the world other than her body? Or do you see a woman who intelligently and freely chooses to use her body to make a point?"

I see neither. I see a woman who has made a poor choice. I see someone so steeped in a culture of sexism that she doesn't even recognize it. I see someone who thinks the only way to be heard is to pose for base male instincts. I see someone lacking in creativity, dignity, and self respect. Sometimes, as in this case, I see someone driven to do a desperate thing without first thinking through the consequences.

I do value your perspective, because you point out some old sterotypes we are, indeed, better off without. No, a woman who does something like this is not necessarily a mindless yet submissive drone who can be excused for her actions due to an inability to be responsible for herself. I don't think any of the people criticising this tactic is saying that. But if they are, better that you point out the truth.

I also do not think anyone is saying you "should not have been allowed" to take part in these acts. On the contrary, I think they are saying you should have made better choices. As this incident shows, it does not work.

You also said, "If I can look at what I am doing and think that I am emulating what it means to be a positive role model for the women of tomorrow, then I am being true to myself and to women. I hope that they saw a woman with a loud voice who is not afraid to stand up for what she believes in."

On the contrary, I think this was a role model for the woman of yesterday. This was the woman who believed she existed to titilate men. This was a woman who only knew how to get attention for herself by coyly baring what she could in a manner that left no doubts about her availability for their entertainment. This is not a role model I would promote to young girls. They get more than enough of that from the mainstream "tabloid culture" the PETA people spoke of. They certainly don't need any more of that.

I've seen many women with loud voices who are not afraid to stand up for what they believe in. Most of them refuse to give in to the expectation that they should bend over and bare their little butts while doing it. Yes, I've seen gorgeous, sexy women with loud voices baring parts of their bodies -- but in a manner that did not suggest that they were anybody's playthings. Instead, they were strong, muscular women pounding fists, they were powerful mothers breastfeeding babies along a police line, they were women covered with mud protesting biotech food, and they were nature-loving eco-feminists climbing trees au naturale. Peta images are none of these things. Peta images are replete with bikini-clad super models sucking in tummies and poking out titties and pouting sweetly. They are the women you describe. The women wearing "pleather" and teasing about S&M. They are women posing and prancing and waiting to be pawed. This is not sexy. This is sad.

Sadder still is your charge that we should not be criticising this, that we should not care about the exploitation of women, that we must not care about the animals. I care very much about the animals. It is PETA who chose to distract from the issue of animal abuse by focusing their energies around the promotion of a naked "bombshell." I also take great exception to your belief that women "don't have that much farther to go," and that the treatment of women in this world doesn't compare to "the animals who are blowtorched, mutilated, vaginally electrocuted, impregnated to have their babies ripped from them and then tortured for their milk and meat, hacked open for science, and beaten, exploded and tormented for entertainment."

These are not mutually exclusive issues. You're absolutely right to point out the horror of the things done to animals. All of these things are true. What you do not understand is the reality of brutality against women. As a woman who worked with women escaping domestic violence and with women escaping the sex industry for years, I can tell you that you haven't a clue. There absolutely is a war going on against women all around you. I have seen it. I have taken pictures of bruises on women's bodies so clear you could read the nike logo and see the tread of the shoes that stomped on them. I have known a woman who was hacked nearly to death with a machete and left for dead by a spouse. Her skull still bears the 11 inch scar. I have seen a 17 year old girl who was beaten nearly to death by her boyfriend as she held her 3 month old baby in her arms. By the time she made her way into shelter, her eyes were swollen so completely shut that she could not see to let herself in. I remember a woman who left the shelter to begin her new life with her children. Days later, her abusive husband stabbed her to death in front of her 7 year old child. Have you read enough? Because I could go on and on and on.

Don't tell me what the real issue is. I'm well aware of it. Unlike PETA, I understand the connection between exploitation, objectification, the sexualization of violence and the reality suffered by those living under oppression everywhere. We cannot change any of this until we recognize the common root of the problem and deal with it. When PETA can hear this truth, then they will be much more effective in ending violence against animals and much less willing to promote violence against women.

Animal rights and human torture 16.Sep.2004 13:40

Re: M

No, a person miming the torture at Abu Ghraib would not be promoting torture if she or he were doing it to protest what happened there. But if she or he did it in a g-string...what would be the point? And if she or he did it in a porn video, then it WOULD be promoting torture.

PeTA does a disservice to the cause by engaging in stuff like this. They are implying that the issue of torture of animals by circuses is not an important enough issue to focus on in itself. They suggest the need for a "gimmick" to spice it up. And in so doing, they completely removed the focus from the animal rights issue. I will not go to the circus, and I will do what I can to prevent anyone else from going either. But I will also not allow PeTA to pretend they are not responsible for the fact that this discussion is not focused on the abuse of circus animals.

Thank you Trulie 16.Sep.2004 13:55

survivor

for upholding the sexist notion that women are mainly sex objects, and that our value is mostly in our sex appeal

i will continue to be vegan and attend NON-PeTA protests.

the sex industry would like to thank you also, for your promotion of their values.

Actually, the people who mime 16.Sep.2004 14:28

M

the torture at Abu Ghraib are sometimes in less than a g-string--they're naked, as some of the prisoners were. I know of at least one protest where they duplicated the naked triangle (and some got arrested for it--you can search this story). Lack of clothing indicates vulnerability for most humans. It makes sense in the context of the PETA protest.

Context and intention matter. Or what you do alone in your bedroom could be considered pornography.

"less than a g-string" 16.Sep.2004 15:01

to M

sometimes, a g-string is less than naked. If you would read the comments above, some have said this very well. When people are naked in a manner that is not gratuitous nor meant to appease the male gaze, then there's nothing wrong with it. It's only when it's used gratuitously and in such a way that it's "selling" something rather than making a point that it becomes sexist and offensive. Clearly, the PeTA protest meets the latter criteria. As would people protesting Abu Ghraib in a g-string.

racist, sexist idiots 16.Sep.2004 15:09

mikie

i know a lot of people who have written off veganism and AR entirely *just* for having associated it with PETA's rabid, aggressive, obnoxious misogyny. people hate PETA so much now they won't even listen to *anything* they say. the damage they are causing to the AR movement is unbelievable. i hope they are happy with one or two macho guys they hook onto veganism while they go about alienating millions of people who were about ready to hop on board and even combine their own struggles with the AR struggle until PETA came along and decided that appealing to the tastes of macho thugs was more important.

someone said: "can we PLEASE stick to the point here: Ringling Bros. is extremely abusive to animals. PETA is trying to do something about it. Let's not criticize PETA when we should be criticizing Ringling Bros."

forget it. PETA wanted my attention, PETA has my attention. not Ringling Bros. PETA wanted to disgust me, and I am disgusted with PETA. they have succeeded sensationally. if this country had even one iota of sanity in it, which it doesn't, PETA's misogyny would have turned it into a complete pariah by now with everyone. as it is one of PETA's best friends is Playboy and another is the U.S. Army, and they have made enemies of feminists and enemies of anti-racists. congratulations PETA, you win the stubborn, suburban lily-white sexist idiot award of the decade. :p this outrage will not go away. the more PETA blithely dimisses and viciously insults its critics within and without the AR movement, the more despised it will become.

Well, that's very mature, Mikie, for people to 16.Sep.2004 15:44

.

write off the atrocity of animal abuse because they don't like some of the people who are trying to end it. I don't like a lot of women, black people, and poor people either. Does that mean it's o.k. for me not to care about sexism, racism, and classism because I'm completely turned off by what some in these movements choose to do? People should think for themselves and do their own activism and stop whining when the world doesn't cater to their sensibilities. Christ. The reality is that the animals don't have a voice or a choice. If you turn away from their immense suffering because you don't like PETA, shame on you.

PETA is disgusting but what are you doing. 16.Sep.2004 20:01

GeDDeN CascadiA

I have many, many reasons to hate PETA. Their continued exploitation of woman only being one of them. I have sat in a room with head PETA organizers lessening to them try and justify there ads. "We didn't create the current paradigm, we are only using messaging that panders to it." It is foolish to day the least. If you want to see an even worse ad that PETA has done then search the web for "fur trim. unattractive". I dislike most of what PETA does but I will defiantly acnoladge they have done a considerable amount of good even amidst all their shit.
However. What the fuck do all you who are complaining do to end the oppression of animals. Forgive me but I am less then impressed buy the complaining of an individual who points out the oppression of woman in a PETA demo but fails to see the direct correlation of that oppression to what may be on their dinner plate. I call bull shit on anyone that claims to be an informed and compassionate person, feminist, or activist in any regard that continues to support the most blatant and ruthless force of abuse witch is that visited upon the animals. Even just being vegan isn't enough. We all should be out there shutting ringing brothers down if we want to pretend to be compassionate. The animals need our help. They have no voice. PETA is wrong in their explotaion of women. (I won't even get into a discussion about that because even PETA admits that this type of demo "just plays to the current paradigm" i.e. degradation of women) Everyone should read "the sexual politics of meat" along with carol adams others books. She goes into PETA and their ads some what in depth in her newest one.

your choice 16.Sep.2004 20:08

my body

Tulie, while you may be making a decision and a choice you have a right to make - it doesn't mean your choices don't reinforce the sexism of our society and the commodification of sex and desire. It is not just that sex sells. It is that PETA's advertising caters towards a certain perception of women -- sends the message to every one who see their advertisement not only "go veg" but "women are your sex toys" As someone who felt pressured while in an animal rights group to wear less than I was comfortable (and left the group for one I was more comfortable in) - I think these tactics also send a message to women who want to get involved about what they are valued for in the group - whether that is explicitly stated or not. We complain about sexist ads because they screw with women's body issues and self-esteem. But if the woman is making the choice to present herself in that way - knowingly reinforcing the main stream image - she's above reproach? Yes Trulie you can make the choice to be part of these demonstrations. But think about the message you are sending to the children growing up in our society about what women's roles are and what women are supposed to look like. It is your body and you can do what you want with it. But it doesn't mean you are creating a social movement I want any part of. There are other animal rights groups and movements (like SHAC) that seem to be having a hell of a lot more success and aren't selling images women's bodies to do so.

Maybe 17.Sep.2004 00:43

.

"Does that mean it's o.k. for me not to care about sexism, racism, and classism because I'm completely turned off by what some in these movements choose to do?"

If you can establish a connection between what they espouse and what they do, and if what they do turns you off, then you should be turned off by what they espouse.

If you can establish no connection, then you should be turned off by them.

Offensive or ineffective-- one or the other if you must, PeTA, but never both. 17.Sep.2004 05:17

Jen

Why does PeTA expect older white businessmen to care about the "plight" of a sexy young thing making herself appear available, much less make a connection to the plight of the animals they abuse for a living? How many people are thinking "gosh, animals have it rough" when they see a caged woman in bodypaint and pasties? Feminism has a long way to go before "Oh, that poor woman" outweighs "Hey, free show!" Maybe PeTA should put white men in chains and fake scars if they want to outrage the patriarchy as well as feminists.

Or, you know, stick to the pictures of bloody bunnies. Those worked pretty well on me.

I can speak for at least 3 of the people who posted here 17.Sep.2004 05:56

To GeDDeN CascadiA

You're right to point out that we still need to be thinking about the animals in all this. To make you feel better, though, I can speak for at least 3 of the people who posted to this. None eat meat, all are very compassionate toward animals, and all are QUITE active in the AR movement -- outside of PETA's sexist ineffectiveness. All have done FAR more than strip and pose for animals.

I think everyone who is posting here cares very much about animals. It's just that some also recognize inter-connections and others do not. Some care about sexism, others do not. Some are willing to compromise their own values for attention, others are not. Some are focued on the animals, others are focused on getting attention, even when that attention is meaningless to the cause.

This is a valuable discussion to have. I don't think anyone who posted above has lost sight of the need to protect and save animals. But some people have lost sight of the need to protect and save each other.

assumptions assumptions 17.Sep.2004 06:19

servant of globalization

Gedden Cascadia - don't assume that those of us posting about being pissed off at PETA aren't working on animal rights issues. Don't assume we're not working our asses off on all sorts of issue. "Forgive me but I am less then impressed buy the complaining of an individual who points out the oppression of woman in a PETA demo but fails to see the direct correlation of that oppression to what may be on their dinner plate." I haven't heard anyone here say they don't get the connection between PETA's blatant sexism and the oppresion of what is on their dinner plate. The post I've seen have been from people who get the connection and are pissed the PETA doesn't! I care about what PETA is doing in part because I work on these issues and I think PETA is hurting more than they are helping. There isn't anything sexy about animal exploitation - but that is the message PETA sends. You actually think someone is going to go veggie because they saw a half naked model wearing lettuce leaves on a billboard? I think someone is much more likely to go veggie and get involved because they see a positive alternative in the work we're doing and the people our movement shows as role models.

Also - we're all working our asses off on different issues. I know people who drive themselves into the ground working on labor issues, health care issues, women's domestic violence hotlines. Those people are doing damn good work and I'm glad they are there. We need to be building cross-movement solidarity and seeing our selves as working towards some of the same goals. If a labor movement ad campaign is using sexism, racism, or animal exploitation to make their point I want to be able to say - hey, we're working towards the same goals here and you are shooting us in the back. We all know we can't work on everything. We need to be supporting each other -- and not bashing each other because we don't all have time to work on everything.

good stuff here 17.Sep.2004 08:40

Vineeta

I'm enjoying this debate immensely; thanks all participants.

It's true that we can't work on everything... 17.Sep.2004 08:43

.

but I would like to see more people from other progressive causes at least not standing in direct opposition to the animal rights cause by eating animal products and wearing leather etc. and defending it. There are very few people from any other movement who are vegans. The animal rights cause calls for a more direct personal change of lifestyle and habit than many other causes. Even in environmentalist circles most are not vegan and are still contributing to and defending the torture of animals in the food industry. So sure I understand the interconnectedness of all causes, but I think that mostly it's the animal rights people who are being called on the carpet here for tactics, while I see most others in their daily lives contributing to the merciless and mindless destruction of animals. I could be wrong, but I sincerely doubt Nikki Craft is a vegan. Nikki--can you answer this? And here's the kind of comment that her anti-PETA website attracts: "Third, middle-class american children have been diagnosed with malnutrition and even died on vegan and macrobiotic diets." Come on, Nikki--you put an editorial note on another comment--surely this anti-vegan slam deserves one too, since it's the animals' very lives at stake.

EMAIL PETA! 17.Sep.2004 09:16

let's be active

I as well was ultimately disturbed when finding out about PETA's tactics, but while we discuss this let's also contact PETA to let them know how we feel.

PETA
501 Front St.
Norfolk, VA 23510
Tel.: 757-622-PETA (7382)
Fax: 757-622-0457
E-Mail PETA at  info@peta.org

write Nikki Craft if you want to, - 17.Sep.2004 09:30

GRINGO STARS

 nikki@nostatusquo.com

That's her email address. She didn't post her words to this thread, I did, as I did to the 2 other similar threads, since her words are so relevant (and better than what I write on this subject). Discuss the vegan comment with her. Not everyone organizes their diets correctly, and fatal diets can lack animal products just as fatal diets can lack any nutritive value (from GMO meddling etc). Discuss things with her. Sometimes the truth is unpleasant - don't act like everyone can organize their diet properly. No one is always right - that includes Nikki and you and me.

political correctness 17.Sep.2004 10:58

monkey man

Sell sell so use it, loose it or wear it out. You like the message but not how the messenger is posed.

1. naked........

2. Beauty.......

3. Objectify....

5. Purpose......

6. Animals in pain.....
making a monkey out of me
making a monkey out of me
Miss manners and sexisim
Miss manners and sexisim

True, G, no one is always right, but contributing to 17.Sep.2004 18:30

.

the torture and slaughter of animals is always wrong, to the degree that it's because someone can't get themselves together enough to "organize their diet properly." Likewise, I don't use slaves because I can't get myself together enough to do my own house and yardwork. Unhealthy diets can be either vegan or omnivore, but to lay it on veganism and macrobiotics exclusively shouldn't go without comment. I think that Nikki created a whole website for herself and others to trash PETA--when it seems doubtful that she's even down with AR issues herself (I've seen her speak). I do respect you G, but this is the way I see it.

Disclaimer 17.Sep.2004 20:37

.

I was uncomfortable to find another person calling themself ".". I decided people could probably figure out which was which, and let it go.

However, I very definitely do NOT respect Gringo.

The only other comment which I have made in this thread is "Maybe" :
 http://portland.indymedia.org/en/2004/09/297508.shtml#141646
I shall never use the nym "." (dot) again.

Why shouldn't PeTA be trashed when they trash women? Karma can hurt. 18.Sep.2004 12:06

GRINGO STARS

There are many organizations, successful ones, that work for animal rights. Why work with those who don't respect womens' rights (i.e. PeTA)? To work with those who don't understand that all struggles are interrelated is counterproductive, in the end. Does anyone think that publishing free soft-porn images makes anyone think anything other than "Nice rack" or "How innappropriate"? Does Nikki lay blame exclusively on veganism? I haven't read that. Does that render her analysis of PeTA sexism irrelevant? Is she just an angry woman who irrationally hates animal rights and is taking it our on PeTA any way she can? You didn't email her? As I said, Nikki isn't always right. No one is.

How does PETA "not respect women's rights"? 18.Sep.2004 14:36

.

You are going way too far in your analysis, G. PETA is founded and run by a woman, mostly staffed by women volunteers and workers, and I'm quite certain that Newkirk respects "women's rights." As a female, I'm particularly concerned with "women's rights." Perhaps even more than you, because it involves MY body and life directly. Although I don't get that Nikki treats all struggles as though they're related, at least not when it comes to animals. How would you know if I wrote to her? I happen to have spent time with her.

I notice most homeless shelters serve animal meals, if you go to a potluck for a women's, anti-racist, labor groups etc. you will almost always find meat/dairy/eggs. So should I protest all of those groups and put up websites trashing them because they have no concern for--and are generally defensive about--animal rights issues?

How PeTA does "Not Respect Women's Rights." 18.Sep.2004 16:31

To "."

Let me count the ways:
1. Asking women activists to prove their worth by taking off their clothes for the cause.
2. Sexualizing violence by parading beautiful, pouting, naked women around with faux scars and whips and chains.
3. Peddaling soft porn which objectifies women's bodies.
4. Creating and distributing violent, pornographic images of women being beaten (in at least one case, to death!), bloody, scarred, and bruised women.
5. Failing, over and over again, to HEAR WHAT WE ARE SAYING.
6. Assuming that the objectification of women is necessary and forgivable, so long as they're doing it "for the animals."
7. Pamela Anderson in lettuce leaves. Come fucking on.
8. Making the blatantly sexist assumption that appealing to joe hard-on is more important and worthwhile than appealing to Jane Compassion.

And just one more thing. Obviously, you've never REALLY spent much time pot-lucking with women's groups. I've never been to one yet that served meat. (Oh, well wait. There was one, about a decade ago. They had seafood among the vegetarian faire.) Most are vegan.

Yes, to be sure, one-issue activism is usually counter-productive. So you're right to point out to any activist organizations that don't already, they need to think about animal rights -- particularly when serving meals. YES, they should serve vegan meals. Just as PeTA should stop pimping women. Please don't pretend it's all right for PeTA to act like a bunch of sexist smut heads just because you think other groups don't respect animal rights. First, you might be wrong, and second, two wrongs do not make a right.

... 18.Sep.2004 19:52

.

I don't think women activists are asked to "prove their worth" to the cause by taking off their clothes--it's a volunteer organization, and I would volunteer to "take off my clothes," if I happened to feel that it would help in any specific instance. This statement is acting as though women in PETA activities are victims of PETA, which I think is a demeaning assumption. I choose when and where to take off my clothes. In general (not connected to PETA), women having freedom also means the freedom to do things that you don't approve of, like taking off our clothes and being sexual when we are moved to do so.

Pornography exists in a context, which people seem to forget. I do not agree that PETA materials are pornographic.

You say that PETA doesn't "hear what we are saying" as though "we" is all women. I'm a woman, and I don't agree with what YOU are saying. So, I guess you're not hearing me. But I accept that we don't all have to agree on what's best for women.

PETA has many different strategies. Many do appeal to Jane Compassion.

I have spent much time in other progressive causes, and in my experience, it is not unusual at all to find non vegan food at events. In fact, vegans are a rarity anywhere.

I might point out the hypocrisy of other groups that don't include other oppressions in their analysis, but I don't make a website trashing them, and I don't pull them down at every opportunity because they don't do their activism in a way that I might prefer.

More on how PeTA does NOT Respect Women's Rights 18.Sep.2004 21:45

To .

First, taking off your clothes would not help the cause any more than the pathetic display of Christine at the sad little demo discussed above. Even if people HAD come to see it, they would only have seen a naked woman sexualizing violence. They would not have seen anything enlightening regarding the issue of violence against animals. This was a ridiculous distraction, was pointlessly executed, and was understandably ignored.

Second, to address this comment: "This statement is acting as though women in PETA activities are victims of PETA, which I think is a demeaning assumption. I choose when and where to take off my clothes. In general (not connected to PETA), women having freedom also means the freedom to do things that you don't approve of, like taking off our clothes and being sexual when we are moved to do so."

You are STILL not listening. You are making assumptions that are completely baseless, and if you had read any of the preceding discussion, you would note that this has nothing to do with anyone "approving" of women taking off their clothes. It has to do with the very context you are trying to use as justification for this act. It has to do with the twisted manner in which PeTA expects to be allowed to present women.

Far above, there is a whole list of protests in which women have taken off their clothes. I have seen some of the same things. I never found it offensive, or demeaning. I found it beautiful. Because those women were embracing their own bodies and behaving like real, authentic beings. They were not posing for anyone's benefit, they were not pandering to the "tabloid culture" that makes a mockery of us all. PeTA is a different story. PeTA has colluded with that culture to continue to ridicule and objectify women. I am totally offended at the ridiculousness of PeTA's pathetic gestures. And I think you are being unnecessarily defensive in refusing to see this point.

Being free to be sexual is entirely different than pandering to the notion that a woman MUST be sexual if she wants to get attention. Being free to be sexual when moved has NOTHING to do with the use of women's naked and semi-naked bodies to somehow make a political point about animal rights, or any other "commercial."

I'm all for animal rights, but I think PeTA lacks in both sophistication and effectiveness. I also think it's sad that you can't see what's wrong with this silly tactic. I also can't believe anyone could see most PeTA materials as anything BUT pornographic. Have you seen the commercials on their website? Look again. One of them is all about pornography, both implicit and explicit. And all of it wreaks of teen-exploit soft porn.

For anyone besides "." who is still listening, and is actually interested in the issue of animal rights, please see In Defense of Animals, SHAC, or any number of other animal advocacy groups that have nothing to do with this sexist bullshit. Or read Animal Liberation by Pete Singer, or The Sexual Politics of Meat by Carol Adams, or any number of other books. If you're a woman and want to do something, there are many things you can do and many groups that will work with you in a respectful manner, and will not expect you to take off your clothes for the cause. We don't have to take this nonsense.

By the way, "." I feel victimized by PeTA. Whether you think the women who appear in their stunts are or not, many of the rest of us are. I, personally, feel that this kind of crap from so-called activists is a total betrayal. I am a human being who deserves to be respected and taken seriously for who I am and what I have to say. Every time some dumb fucking clueless woman with no analysis of interlocking systems of oppression wallows around in a string bikini "for the cause" because some dumbass asked her to, it sets us all back. It reinforces the cultural assumption that we're nothing more than playthings, objects, backdrops. It reinforces A culture of men as actors and women as passive eye candy. It assumes that men are the important movers and shakers, and women are useful only in as much as we can please them and manipulate them with our bodies. Fuck that. Give up. PeTA is acting foolishly, and it's time they, and you, recognized that and stopped trying to defend it. Can you hear me? I FEEL VICTIMIZED BY PETA. Does that mean anything to you? You're totally alienating potential allies with this shit. GROW FUCKING UP.

... 19.Sep.2004 02:10

.

Wow--"I am a human being who deserves to be respected and taken seriously for who I am and what I have to say. Every time some dumb fucking clueless woman with no analysis of..." and on and on. That statement shows very little respect for women, although you demand it for yourself. I like "I'm all for animal rights" (real convincing) too, and "grow fucking up." I see you as someone who right now has little respect for others' autonomy, but is screaming to have everyone lay down and obey your sensibilities. Well, I'm sure many people feel victimized by the domineering attitude you throw at them. The reality is: You take what control of your life you can have, and others get to make their own choices about what to do with their bodies and the kind of activism they want to practice. Unlike you, the animals have no voice. If you allow others alienate you from caring, then that's very sad, and somewhat immature. I wish you well.

I feel victimized by peta too. 19.Sep.2004 08:09

Anti-Peta

I'm rather disgusted by the few who keep arguing that it's all right for Peta to treat women this way. And the notion that, because this one woman chose to do this, it should be seen as acceptable is laughable. Al Jolson chose to wear white face and ridicule black people. Does that make it all right? No. There are Uncle Toms in every oppressed group, and they are not to be emulated or respected. Most especially, we cannot be asked to let them injure all of us by reinforcing the stereotypes and prejudices that are so damaging to us, and that we have done so much to remove from society. I have seen no one on this entire page argue against the rights of animals. Instead, I have seen many, many people passionately and clearly argue against the sexist, archaic actions of Peta. Yet peta defenders keep accusing them of not caring about animals if they care about women. Riiiight. And not one person from Peta has stepped up and said yes, we recognize this. We see what you're saying. We hear you. We will think more about what we are doing to women from now on. Not one person from Peta even acknowledged the fact that their appeal to "tabloid culture" fell far short of their expectations, precisely because the rest of the culture has matured beyond them and their tired sexist ploys.

Peta is just wrong about this. If you're still defending them, then you have something wrong with you. You are in denial. You have not taken the time to look at what everyone is really talking about. Someone SHOUTED above that they feel vicitimized by this action, and it has fallen on at least one set of deaf ears. Think about that for a minute. Think about why it's all right with you, ".", to allow Peta to victimize another person, and about why you not only don't care, you don't even acknowledge it. That's sad. And it says a lot about how really committed you are to any real change. Says a lot about Peta, too.

On Interlocking Systems of Oppression 19.Sep.2004 09:11

CatWoman

As I piece together the footage I shot on the day of this protest, it occurs to me that the only woman of color present at the event is also the woman who is naked and in chains, with fake scars strapped across her back.

Racism, like sexism, is so pervasive in our culture that one can be looking right at it and not see it on first glance. But, there it is.

I urge PETA, and anyone who is defending PETA's action, to think about these things. Sexism, racism, speciesism -- all are stems from the same root. We will be far more effective in what we do if we work to see, and then to end, all forms of oppression.

If that person not liking PETA's 19.Sep.2004 09:42

sorry

tactics is being "victimized" by PETA...then I think the standard for "victimization" has fallen so low as to make the word meaningless. There are many things that happen to women, animals, gays, ethnic groups... that I would use that word for, and this is not one of them.

O.k. I will acknowledge that I understand discomfort 19.Sep.2004 10:01

.

with some of PETA's tactics, while my discomfort is not always for the same reasons as some here. But I think the rage against them here is out of proportion, frequently out of context, and that people are painting them with way too wide of a brush. They have many different approaches to their cause. I also find that some who are promoting the feminist cause are derogatory towards women who don't agree with them. I agree about dismantling interlocking systems of oppression. But we don't always interpret things in the same way.

PeTA's TACTICS are problematic, not animal rights in general 19.Sep.2004 13:33

GRINGO STARS

I never claimed to know whether you emailed Nikki, ".", and thought you might want to discuss things with her.

You are offended that people are offended, it would seem. You invalidate people's outrage. I don't want to invalidate YOUR outrage over animal rights. My only problem (and many others, definitely) is with PeTA's tactic of sexualizing violence and portraying women as meat. It is offensive and ineffective. Perhaps I'm wrong, but you see an attack on this tactic as an attack on animal rights in general, which it is not. PeTA has proven time and time again it is not sensitive towards women who feel victimized by pornographic ad campaigns. It is PeTA's constitutional right to shoot themselves in the foot. I personally think you SHOULD protest organizations' policies of serving meat/dairy/eggs if you feel that strongly about it. Sometimes people aren't cognizant of a problem until they are made aware of it.

PeTA's Sexism 19.Sep.2004 15:35

Anti-PeTA

Here's a little selection of e-cards available from PeTA. See if you can see what's wrong with this picture:
 link to www.peta.org

(After looking at all the fine selections, scroll down to the one on the bottom, entitled "lettuce entertain you." Click on it, and see who PeTA is working with.)

When you're finished looking these over, check out any number of PeTA sites on "Pleather," their fake leather product. It's an eye opener.

...Oh. And yes, I feel victimized by PeTA. Before being quick to dismiss that fact, look a little deeper. This isn't about "not liking a tactic." It's about systemic disrespect, degradation, exploitation, objectification, and dehumanization of women. It's an attitude that leads to violence, rape, and all manner of offenses against women by men, just as these same attitudes lead to violence and abuse of animals by humans.

I'm not offended that people are offended. I'm 19.Sep.2004 15:36

.

irritated that people keep pronouncing that women who keep saying that they're freely choosing to use their minds and bodies for the activism they want to do are victims; and that several here presume to speak for all feminists--and anyone who doesn't agree must not be a "real" feminist. There's no room for difference of analysis. I understand that some people don't like some of PETA's tactics, and perhaps PETA could modify some of them, I can agree with that. But as I said before, PETA is being painted with a very broad brush here--when if one actually looks at what PETA does, they have many tactics. Just about every animal rights campaign will annoy or offend someone, either tactically, or because it always involves people giving up their dominance. And, many people in progressive causes feel that holding what happens to animals alongside what happens to humans demeans their own cause, because speciesism runs deep ("Holocaust on Your Plate" is a much hated campaign too--but I don't think they should give it up).

In my opinion, part of fighting for women's rights and honoring women's lives is respecting that women sometimes make choices that one doesn't happen to agree with (and not calling them "dumb fucking clueless" women because they don't agree). I don't want someone "fighting" for me who seems so hateful of women who don't toe the line--I don't want to live in a world of that person's making either.

PeTA is multiculturally offensive 19.Sep.2004 15:38

Here's another one.

Think PeTA isn't sexist? Check out this billboard:
 http://www.peta.org/pdfs/esp/tracibbspanish.pdf

Naked hispanic woman as meat.

Ohhh. Here's a sweet little PeTA ad.... 19.Sep.2004 15:45

One More...


More fun than a barrel of lawn jockeys. 19.Sep.2004 15:53

Just one more.

Here's some more fun. You can click on the picture to get even more of a taste of PeTA's brand of "activism"....

 http://www.pleatheryourself.com/dom/index.html

Now enough trying to justify PeTA's actions. They're simply unjustifiable for anyone who cares about others or ourselves.

Actually, I think the point of the woman with 19.Sep.2004 16:20

.

the meat lines on her is that it's offensive to think of women as "pieces of meat," and it should be equally offensive to think of animals that way too. There's the assumption in that ad that women are NOT pieces of meat, which is why the ad works. I have a different analysis of that ad than you do, and don't find it offensive to me as a female or a feminist.

The pleather one... I know a number of women who are feminist and lesbian activists who are into that stuff. I don't like, nor am I into that scene, but once again, I don't think there's unanimous opinion among feminists that that's problematic.

The other one is of a relatively famous actress (Dominique Swain)...not really into it, but I'm not really offended by the nudity with the anti fur message either.

Interesting 19.Sep.2004 18:09

Very interesting discussion

But in the end, I think the point that PETA is sexist has been made and made and made, despite whatever "." keeps trying to say. Yes, those ads are flamingly sexist. No doubt about it. Anyone who can find a way to justify that woman carved up in cuts of meat is just kidding themselves. Not to mention discrediting themselves by attempting to pass this ludicrous view off as anything but an apologetic perversion.

Interesting... 19.Sep.2004 18:43

everything's not black and white

here's the link to Ann Simonton on Nikki Craft's website wearing 35 pounds of bologna to show that women are not meat.  http://www.nostatusquo.com/ACLU/Nikki/ann.html
It's wonderful buy 35 pounds of meat and support the meat industry factory farming and slaughtering animals to show that women are not meat. Better go protest Nikki and Ann for their support of animal torture to make a point about women's image. Other pics you can search for are Nikki and Ann in bathing suits in public--at one time they had model figures--to protest women being seen as objects. I wonder who forced them to do that? On Nikki's anti-PETA website women are protesting topless, including Nikki. I wonder who forced them to do that? I guess women can only strip down of their own volition to protest male domination. Then it's not sexist.

Actually, the PETA ad is not a new idea, it's an old one turned on it's head. You'll find similar graphics if you search of women with the meat carvings to protest women being seen as "just pieces of meat."

I think there's a lack of subtle thinking here.

catwomans film? 19.Sep.2004 21:54

whitemalepunk#579999342

was the cheney protest in the summer accross from the federal building the half naked woman dressed as the statue of liberty with chains and slashes...


do you think that woman was objectifying herself in public place due to her possible lack of insight into the issues (or corperations) that create the state of plutocratic facisim we currently live under? or would it just always be wrong to asume anything about her justification of public self nudity being male...


P.S. Catwoman I really respect your ideals and what you have to say, your films and your input into indymeida.

On Women, Nudity, and Protest 20.Sep.2004 10:29

CatWoman

I keep coming back here, because the debate is really interesting. The reason I went to the PETA protest, and the reason I'm still interested in following this discussion, is that it's not an easy issue. I'm trying to edit a video on the PETA protest, but I'm having a great deal of trouble figuring out how to present the whole thing, for many of the reasons enumerated here.

I believe very strongly in the rights of animals, and I wanted very much to make a video that brings that issue into focus. But the use of a naked, chained woman (the only woman of color there, no less), brought a lot of other issues forward. Frankly, it offended me. I listened to the reasons offered by the people at the protest for this action, but when I went to the PETA website later, I found no reason to see anything but systemic, organizational sexism in PETA's tactics, including this action.

It was sad to me, because the people who were there seemed genuinely concerned about the issue of animal rights, and honestly unaware of the collective impact that stunts like this have on women. I applaud their desire to do something for the animals, and I hold no personal grudge against them. But I really hope they're now considering how they might have been more effective, and less damaging to women, if they had done things differently. I would love to see PETA turn over a new leaf -- not the lettuce leaves worn by Pamela Anderson on PETA's website, either.

Regarding women's nudity, however, I think there's a misconception in some of this discussion that the outrage I and others have expressed has to do with a belief that women shouldn't be naked in public. I do not hold such a belief.

To respond to whitemalepunk, I don't really remember the half-naked statue of liberty all that well, so I can't answer that specifically. (I don't believe she ever appeared in any of my videos..did she?) I do have a vague recollection of something to that effect, but can't remember my personal reaction to it, nor can I remember the context of the whole thing.

But the question about public nudity at protests in general is definitely one to think about. Above, I listed some examples of protests in which women were naked or partially naked, which I did not find remotely offensive. The difference between those cases and the PETA case is a complex one easier to see than to explain. I'll do my best, though. One of my favorite protest pictures of all time is one of several masked anarchists standing on the steps of some capital somewhere, waving a red and black flag. None are wearing shirts. The one in the middle is a woman. When one looks at the picture, it evokes a sense of strength and solidarity. It's beautiful. There is a sense that the people in the photo are comrades, as they stand shoulder to shoulder. There is no sense that the woman is there to titilate or entertain. Like the men, she's there to stand for something, and so she is.

She is not "posing" in the sense that a playboy model poses. She's not striking any of the unnatural poses that women in the corporate media are generally expected to strike -- you know the ones. Instead, she is standing strong and proud, and gives one a sense that she is focused on the cause she is fighting for, not on a self-conscious reflection of what people might be thinking about her nudity.

In another case, I shot video of women standing before a police line last August when bush came sneaking into town. They're holding a banner that reads, "Milk of Human Kindness," and are breastfeeding their babies. In the background, one can see a humbled line of black-clad and heavily armored riot police trying not to notice them. In foreground, as I said, women smile and nurse babies. It was a beautiful embodiment of contrast and irony. Again, these women were not striking playmate poses, but were standing there as they are. They were not pandering, they simply were not afraid to be in the world as themselves.

In still another case, women and men took their clothes off and smeared themselves with mud last year in Sacramento to protest biotechnology. They sang and chanted and held ceremonies in the streets. Those who were not arrested along the way had a cleansing shower outside the convergence space when they returned. While I didn't get everything they did, I did not find it offensive. Again, women and men were doing their own thing, and were not striking any coy, titilating poses.

I think that's what it comes down to: The male gaze. That's an expression pioneered a long time ago, to denote the treatment of women in most films. It means that women are presented as objects, and are portrayed in terms of what Laura Mulvey called, "to-be-looked-at-ness." They were not to be taken seriously, or listened to, or thought of as beings. They were there for the entertainment of males. In the media, generally the observer (male or female) is invited to identify with a male-centric gaze at females. So women are rarely presented as they really are. We do not sit, stand, or walk in the movies like we do in "real life." We are posed. We do not exist outside a narrowly defined role -- we are paper dolls. And that's the sense I get from PETA.

On their website and in their street actions, PETA uses women's bodies to gain attention for their cause. The women are used simply as a "means to an end." These are not spontaneous actions by women who just decided to disrobe in public, they are nationally co-ordinated campaigns that are sold to the public with press releases that someone on this site aptly described as "hustler-esque." Women do not appear strong or empowered by these actions, they look like weak, simpering victims. They are chained, posed, and often portrayed as the victims of violence. In one case, they are carved up as meat -- but coyly posed and perfectly manicured the whole time.

And that, I think, is what I object to. It's not the nudity, it's the way it's presented. It is, at its very core, sexist.

Skin gets attention. Some people (comments above) seem very 20.Sep.2004 11:08

.

offended that any woman would decide to disrobe for any reason for animal rights issues, whether for a PETA campaign or not. The issue is nuanced, and what is pornographic or "overly sexual" or catering to the male gaze for one person...may not appear so to the next person...although it's all fair game for discussion. The woman in the statue of liberty get-up was getting attention for her skin as well as the costume. I also think many of the PETA campaigns are heavily ironic, and can't be understood through the black and white lens of activism in which we are quick to take offense at the hint of an "ism," regardless of context or what is meant. As in the explanation above, some might think that the meat carving graphic is actually a feminist statement, because it carries the implicit message that women are not meat.

not all nudity is sexist 20.Sep.2004 11:12

one more time

I've seen Nikki Craft's site and think the reason, execution and type of nudity revealed there compared to PETA is qualitatively different. The differences have been spelled out here already, but if you don't truly want to see them then you won't.

Women using their own bodies to protest the mistreatment of women's bodies is quite different than PETA's Board of Directors using sexually titilating photos of male-defined 'pretty' naked women acting sexy according to how our patriarchal society defines sexy. Nigerian women threatening to reveal their naked bodies to try and achieve some basic rights and justice from oil corporations is quite different from an exceptionally well-funded First World organization using hypersexualized images of women to draw attention to themselves, and I guess make some point about how vegetarians get more hot bi-sexy babe pussy than meat-eaters...?

As someone else pointed out, look no further than the lack of stiff or limp cocks in PETAs advertising to get a good whiff of the rank sexist shit they're selling.

Yes! 20.Sep.2004 13:56

To "One more time"

Exactly! Thank you! YES YES YES YES.

Point taken about a marketing campaign by an organization. 20.Sep.2004 14:18

hmm

However, women collectively or individually deciding to take off some piece of clothing to bring some attention or make some statement about animal rights is no less "legitimate" than the statue of liberty woman mentioned above doing it for some other cause (not women's rights). Many comments here are not about PETA's ad campaigns, but just about women being sexual/sensual/nude/showing their bodies for whatever reason in their activism for animal rights. Sounds like people have a problem with what particular cause one might disrobe for.

hmmm? 20.Sep.2004 17:03

hmmm="."?

I think almost ALL of the comments here have discredited any notion that this discussion is about there being something wrong with women's nudity, or about it having been for the cause of animal rights. There is a difference between sexuality and sexism, activism and cooptation, nudity and cheap exploitation. I think the commentors here have made that clear. It's up to the reader, though, to absorb it.

To make it easier, I have gone through and sampled some of the more pertainent paragraphs:

"I've seen naked protests, by the way, that rocked. The difference is, they did not glorify violence, and they did not portray women as hustler babes."

"Anything PeTA is saying about the circus is drowned out by the graphic and explicit promotion of S&M, violent pornography, and misogyny. PeTA is making a point of using a "supermodel" or "a tall, curvy blonde." They are making a point of showing these women as victims of "violent beatings". PeTA is saying violence to women is sexy."

"Yes, I've seen gorgeous, sexy women with loud voices baring parts of their bodies -- but in a manner that did not suggest that they were anybody's playthings. Instead, they were strong, muscular women pounding fists, they were powerful mothers breastfeeding babies along a police line, they were women covered with mud protesting biotech food, and they were nature-loving eco-feminists climbing trees au naturale. Peta images are none of these things. Peta images are replete with bikini-clad super models sucking in tummies and poking out titties and pouting sweetly. They are the women you describe. The women wearing "pleather" and teasing about S&M. They are women posing and prancing and waiting to be pawed. This is not sexy. This is sad."

"Tulie, while you may be making a decision and a choice you have a right to make - it doesn't mean your choices don't reinforce the sexism of our society and the commodification of sex and desire. It is not just that sex sells. It is that PETA's advertising caters towards a certain perception of women -- sends the message to every one who see their advertisement not only "go veg" but "women are your sex toys."

"Far above, there is a whole list of protests in which women have taken off their clothes. I have seen some of the same things. I never found it offensive, or demeaning. I found it beautiful. Because those women were embracing their own bodies and behaving like real, authentic beings. They were not posing for anyone's benefit, they were not pandering to the "tabloid culture" that makes a mockery of us all. PeTA is a different story. PeTA has colluded with that culture to continue to ridicule and objectify women. I am totally offended at the ridiculousness of PeTA's pathetic gestures. And I think you are being unnecessarily defensive in refusing to see this point.

Being free to be sexual is entirely different than pandering to the notion that a woman MUST be sexual if she wants to get attention. Being free to be sexual when moved has NOTHING to do with the use of women's naked and semi-naked bodies to somehow make a political point about animal rights, or any other "commercial."

"My only problem (and many others, definitely) is with PeTA's tactic of sexualizing violence and portraying women as meat. It is offensive and ineffective. Perhaps I'm wrong, but you see an attack on this tactic as an attack on animal rights in general, which it is not."

"The difference between those cases and the PETA case is a complex one easier to see than to explain. I'll do my best, though. One of my favorite protest pictures of all time is one of several masked anarchists standing on the steps of some capital somewhere, waving a red and black flag. None are wearing shirts. The one in the middle is a woman. When one looks at the picture, it evokes a sense of strength and solidarity. It's beautiful. There is a sense that the people in the photo are comrades, as they stand shoulder to shoulder. There is no sense that the woman is there to titilate or entertain."

"On their website and in their street actions, PETA uses women's bodies to gain attention for their cause. The women are used simply as a "means to an end." These are not spontaneous actions by women who just decided to disrobe in public, they are nationally co-ordinated campaigns that are sold to the public with press releases that someone on this site aptly described as "hustler-esque." Women do not appear strong or empowered by these actions, they look like weak, simpering victims. They are chained, posed, and often portrayed as the victims of violence. In one case, they are carved up as meat -- but coyly posed and perfectly manicured the whole time.
And that, I think, is what I object to. It's not the nudity, it's the way it's presented."

and finally, "Women using their own bodies to protest the mistreatment of women's bodies is quite different than PETA's Board of Directors using sexually titilating photos of male-defined 'pretty' naked women acting sexy according to how our patriarchal society defines sexy. Nigerian women threatening to reveal their naked bodies to try and achieve some basic rights and justice from oil corporations is quite different from an exceptionally well-funded First World organization using hypersexualized images of women to draw attention to themselves."

So, if I take off some clothes and draw meat lines 20.Sep.2004 18:12

hmm

on my body to say something about animals at a protest (and I may have a body that is seen as sexy by pop culture), that is as "acceptable" to most here as the woman who took off some clothes, drew lashings on her body, and wore a statue of liberty cap to say something about America? Cool. Or...are the lashings the woman drew on her body o.k. with most here? Did using her female body to represent the violence to America actually glorify violence against women?

Anyway, while I'm interested in hearing what everyone has to say, I can't really accept what the "proper" activist use of my body is, whether it comes from patriarchy or some feminists.

Already commented on the organizational use of women's bodies, although, to be redundant, it's also true that feminist organizations have used meat lines on women's bodies to make a point about women not being meat.

Ergg... I also want to say that I think that 20.Sep.2004 20:09

hmm

to me it looks like there is a lot of basic agreement in this long discussion. It looks like much of it is a matter of shades of grey, and degree of freedom that as individuals we prefer to have to practice our activism.

This is the medias fault, not Peta 28.Sep.2004 19:32

Ann Gould

I just want to add that there is so much sexual exploitation everywhere, walk down the street or go to the mall and I see girls all the time wearing practically nothing or clothes skin tight. Mgazines, Television, Radio, even commercials show this and push this. It is everywhere and everything is at fault for this. It is totally unfortunate that we live in such a sexualized society, Viagra ridden, porno-type society. If Peta were to stop their demonstrations TODAY. There would still be this crap EVERYWHERE and would still continue. The only difference is that Peta would not get their message out about the extreme cruelty that these animals suffer.
I understand why Peta does what they do because unfortunetly the media barely will show up otherwise. That is the problem with the media and our whole world, not Peta. Peta held a press conference with a Big-time Whistle-blower with the Ringling Brothers Circus who witnessed horrific animal cruelty and a lion dehydrating itself to death(the most painful way to die) and no media showed up!!!
I don't like what Peta HAS to do to get media but I can understand why and even if Peta stopped today-This Sexualization is so so rampant and it will all continue. The only difference is that the animals would have even less than a voice. Our society is sick, not Peta. It's pathetic that even on many commercials, you can't have an ad for a bag of Dorito's without sexual references.
This IS unfurtunetly what sells and unfortunetly what everybody does. Unfortunetly this is one of the only ways to get attention in the media and I would rather Peta get through a message of extreme suffering rather than the media show a bikini-contest for the best implants or an interview with a play-boy bunny. Atleast with Peta, something may come out of their message of cruelty rather than all of the other mindless, purposeless sex junk out there that the media will end up showing instead of Peta's message.

re: Ann 29.Sep.2004 10:00

Vineeta

Everyone else is treating female people like disposable hoes so why can't Peta? I don't think so.

Focus on Media problem 29.Sep.2004 13:12

Samantha Belden

First of all I want to say these woman have a choice about they will do and what they will not do at these protests. The focus should be "Why is it that our media will hardly at all pick up important stories about extreme animal suffering unless there is something sexual involved?" This is the real question. Why aren't people calling and emailing the media right now? I haved watched the O'Reilly Factor on Fox and every night there is ALWAYS some story or comment having to do with something sexual. Watch the previews for sitcoms, almost eveyone has a sxual reference. I just saw a toilet paper commercial with undertones of sexuality.! I am a woman living in this society and this should be the focus. The media is what the concentration should be on.

Sexism does not justify itself 03.Oct.2004 11:17

No Excuses

Yes, objectification of women is everywhere in our culture. As is racism, classism, and violence against animals. I have difficulty understanding how Peta can justify more of it? Pandering to that sort of thing to make a point is every bit as unforgivable as doing it for a commercial. The fact is, it didn't "sell" anyway. Even fewer people and cameras showed up for this protest than for the whistle blower protest.

Yes, this is a complex issue. And yes, we should definitely be assailing the corporate media to demand that they stop objectifying us to sell their products. But at the same time, we should be demanding of each other that we not suck up to that mentality. If we know the corporate media is wrong to do that, why would we want to encourage them to do it, why would we want to pretend there is no other way? Why on earth would we want to join them at it, rather than beating them for it, rather than putting a stop to it? I, for one, want it stopped every bit as much as I want violence against animals stopped. I'm very surprised that Peta can't see that.

Why can't the Media be held accountable? 04.Oct.2004 14:46

Samantha Belder

Why cant the focus be the Media-Can't something be done to change the media? I agree this is the REAL issue here and it's sad the media has to be this way. I am a woman and I'm not saying I necessarily "agree" with what Peta has to do but nobody is even talking about the issue of Ringling Bros Circus electricuting and beating their circus elephants. This just seems like a dammed if you do, dammed if you don't situation. I don't agree with the Sexual stuff and I don't agree with animal cruelty either. Our media needs to be over-turned so important issues are truly covered and the media needs to stop mostly looking for the "story with sexualty in it" to be covered. Our whole media society is to blame. It's all such a shame.

thoughts 06.Oct.2004 10:43

Georgia

I am very impressed by the thoughtful responses to this protest. Protests of the circus would not be necessary at all if everyone considered the interrelatedness of different oppressions so carefully. Unfortunately, this is not the case. I have been going to peaceful animal rights protests for the past 15 years and I have *never* seen a huge response from the public (Ringling Brothers protests in the Bay Area-very visible spots but few people care or most of those who do are too uncomfortable to think about it). You normally make one or two good connections with people from talking to them, handing them a flier or just standing there with a sign and that's all you can hope for from this method (naked women or not). There are other techniques. If you feel that they are better, use them!

PeTA is admittedly working with mainstream values to reach the masses. The "enlightened" feminist thoughts expressed here are not common. The animal rights movement is in a very early stage in its development (I am disgusted by how many activists for other oppressed groups are not vegan! But, at the same time, there is no way to push this consciousness on anyone). I don't agree with PeTA's soft-porn technique (subtly or not so subtly mixing violence with sex). But there are women who consider manipulation of the male gaze empowering. Others find it degrading. I do oppose what PeTA is doing but I don't think they should stop. Stifling people's expressions won't help-even if we whole-heartedly disagree with them and think they are doing more harm than good at the moment. I think we should each act in the way that feels comfortable to us. Otherwise, we will become stagnant as activists.

This has already been stated, but just to emphasize, we each have a responsibility to protest animal abuse and a right to do it in our own way. PeTA is not the enemy. It is important to express our views to them, when we disagree with their actions, but condemning them does no good to a movement which is very delicate at this stage. I believe everything done with the intention of ending animal abuse is a good thing (even if it feels very wrong to some of us who have a different way of seeing the world than most people). We are all moving in the right direction even if some activits are taking, what I believe to be, a less direct route by working within the mainstream. There are so many different levels to this movement and different stages of thought on the subject. There are enough barriers to our success already in place-Let's not create more for ourselves by eleminating techniques which some people are clearly empowered by.