I understand the disgust over exploitation of women in exchange for exploitation of animals. I personally do not equate animal rights w/ women’s rights, but I acknowledge that some feminists/womanists do. I do try my best to give animals the dignity and respect that I believe we owe to them.
But I am trying to wrap my head around the ire aimed at the women who voluntarily put themselves in PETA ads. In the same way that I support women who want to work in the porn or sex work industry* b/c it is their choice, shouldn’t we also support their choice to use their bodies for that purpose? How is it less of a valid choice to expose yourself for the titillation (pun intended) of men (or women), but not to support a cause you believe in? I am not casting judgement on those to abhor these PETA ads, but I honestly want to know what makes this less of a supportable choice than traditional sex work in their minds? FTR, I actually like the idea behind the “I’d Rather Go Naked Than Wear Fur” and “Ink Not Mink” (also featuring Tommy Lee, Miami Ink’s Ami James and Dennis Rodman) ads that I have seen, fur in fashion being one industry that I am firmly against. But if a woman is paid for pictures of herself by an organization that she supports, how is this different than being paid by a porn mag or a for being in a movie?
There are several ads by PETA that I don’t approve of, including the ones about fur being gross featuring pubic hair, or w/ women packed in plastic or in cages in torture like situations. There are several that I feel are quite racist that should have been more thought out by the photographers and PETA. There are a few shaming people for eating meat, which I couldn’t do even in my strictest vegetarian days. There are countless others. I could do w/o those, but still those women (and men, like David Cross and Steve-O) are making a choice to support something they believe in, much like I am doing right now w/ this blog.
At the end of the day I support women. I believe that women can be trusted w/ their own bodies to decide what is or isn’t right to happen to that body. Women are smart enough to make that choice for themselves. I hope that they are thinking about those choices. I don’t believe that it is furthering the feminist/womanist cause to shame women for making the choice to be involved in PETA ads. You don’t have to support PETA and what they are doing, but why are we not supporting women in their choices over their own bodies?
*It should go w/o saying by now that I support rights for people who are in sex work that didn’t really have a choice. I support protection and rights for all sex workers, and believe that we should work harder to make it safer for them. I also believe that we should put more effort into ending forced sex work and human trafficking.