You may have noticed this trend as well in PETA’s ad campaigns– attractive famous women posing nude for the sake of animals. The most famous one that comes to my mind is Pamela Anderson’s lettuce bra and panty ad promoting vegetarianism. Others are a bit more riskee (more riskee than Pam Anderson? Oh boy), for example PETA’s latest anti-exotic skins ad where Canadian actress Laura Vandervoort is sprawled over a rock in the desert wearing nothing but scaly body paint. While it may look like a page from a swimsuit calender this image is intended to draw attention to the exotic skins industry and the cruelty inflicted on animals whose skins are always in demand for the latest designer hand bags and boots.
We live in a society where sex sells so why not use it to raise awareness for a good cause, right? These ads draw quite a bit of attention but what are they really doing for the cause? I can’t find any comparable statistics to look at but alligator shoes and bags are still very popular which begs the question do these ads do anything more than present the public with some eye candy to ogle at? Which brings up yet another issue these ads are presenting, sexism.
These ads may be drawing attention to cruel and inhumane acts in the fashion industry but they are also reinforcing incredibly sexist systems of oppression. Why do the naked celebrities in these ads have to be women? I’ve seen a few with guys like Tommy Lee (“Ink not Mink”) and Chris Andersen (also “Ink not Mink”) but for the most part these are tough-looking ads that don’t show the entire body of the celebrity (both end just slightly below the waist whereas the ads depicting naked women celebrities expose their entire bodies) and the women’s ads include sexy poses which are more feminine, soft and welcoming. I kid you not, just do a quick search yourself and you’ll see this reoccurring pattern as well.
I’m personally on the fence about this issue because I was a vegetarian for four years and was an avid PETA supporter during that time. However, I’ve come to learn that some of their ads are very extreme (I guess sometimes you need extremes to get your point across. Besides, there’s no sugar-coating animal cruelty) and so I’ve managed to find my own balance between defending animals rights and living a non-vegetarian lifestyle. I still strongly support some of their campaigns (and as a result of their “Adopt, Don’t Buy” campaign I have become a firm believer in adopting pets and recently adopted a kitten of my own) but I don’t necessarily agree with the way they’re getting some of these messages across (like the naked women sprawled on rocks).
What do you think?
Introducing the newest member of the family, Chui. Thanks to PETA’s information about the benefits of adopting I found him at the Ottawa Humane Society and took him in.