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Wednesday, August 19, 2009

Liberal infighting

Feminists are incensed about the latest campaign poster, shown above, from PETA (People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals).

They say, predictably enough, that it demeans women. Jessica at Feministing described the billboard as "fat-shaming." Other feminists reacted similarly.

Tracy Reiman, a PETA spokesperson, said, "Trying to hide your thunder thighs and balloon belly is no day at the beach. PETA has a free 'Vegetarian Starter Kit' for people who want to lose pounds while eating as much as they like.

The billboard is certainly provocative, which is what an effective ad is supposed to be. But will it win over adherents? If I were a fat woman....I'm not sure how I'd react. By drawing attention to my obesity, it might give me slightly more motivation to slim down. But calling me a whale probably wouldn't endear PETA to me.

(Guys, on the other hand, seemed to find it funny. PETA's offices were evidently inundated with calls reporting beached whales after the billboard went up.)

PETA has always managed to draw attention to itself. The organization first gained fame when its members splashed paint on the fur coats of women in New York City.

It's hard to argue with their primary cause of preventing cruelty to animals. But it's easy to argue with their destruction of others' property. And with their tactics.

A few years ago PETA compared the farming of animals to the Holocaust. In their 2005 campaign, "Are animals the new slaves?" they juxtaposed pictures of chained animals with black slaves.

One PETA pamphlet titled "Your Daddy Kills Animals" showed a cartoon of a man cleaning a fish, and said, "Until your Daddy learns it's not fun to kill, keep your dogs and kitties away from him. He's so hooked on killing defenseless animals, they could be next."

Their most famous campaign involved naked women posing for pictures with titles like "I'd rather go naked than wear fur." The list of women includes Eva Mendes, Christy Turlington, Holly Madison, Khloe Kardashian, Naomi Campbell, Dita von Teese, Alicia Silverstone, Charlotte Ross, and many others. These models always struck me as having an exhibitionistic streak. They who wanted to pose naked and PETA allowed them to do so not only without any hint of moral opprobrium, but with an air of actual moral superiority. A real twofer. (Several of the women also posed for Playboy.)

I guess the idea was to make vegetarianism seem sexy.

To me, it made vegetarianism seem vain and self-indulgent.

As far as winning fat women to their cause with their latest billboard, they might as well try to convert all the members of the canine and feline families to vegetarianism as well. They'd have about as much success.


pelicanmarsh68 said...

(Guys, on the other hand, seemed to find it funny. PETA's offices were evidently inundated with calls reporting beached whales after the billboard went up.)
Oh geez...these evil men with their nasty comments...Ha!

PETA is screwing the pooch here, (no pun intended), and simply alienating normal meat-eating Americans from the lunatic fringe of animal-rights activists, who ascribe sentience and sovereignty to those species of God's Creation that we consume as the Alpha Predators on this planet.

Good job, PETA. Love the campaign. Keep it up.

John Craig said...

Pelicanmarsh68 -- Thank you for your comment (and for signing up). I agree, PETA has done a great job of alienating even other liberals who might otherwise be on their side.

I actually have some sympathy for their cause -- mammals are sentient and there's no excuse for torturing them a la Michael Vick. I just don't have any sympathy for the PETA members themselves.

I have nothing against hunting, I eat meat myself. But dogfighting etc. are another matter.

pelicanmarsh68 said...

Agreed. Vick and his ilk are detestable. I was referring to those animals we specifically eat as food, and I'm not too sure Americans consume dogs as a regular menu item! Well, hmm, maybe some do.

Either way, we agree on the dog-fighting issue. As a dog lover, and proudly so, I remember watching Dogtown on TV and they had a special episode wherein all the dogs rescued from Vick's estate came to Utah, at Best Friends, and were healed and helped out. Great stuff!

Looking forward to more of your posts!

Anonymous said...

Why do dogs and other pets deserve to be treated more humanely than other animals? As awful as it is, in dog fighting they sand a chance of surviving, being farmed to be killed for food is even worse. And how is hunting any better than any other form of animal cruelty?

John Craig said...

Hunting and raising animals for their meat are things that are done for human consumption. Having dogs fight each other is done purely for human amusement.

As far as dogs or cats not innately deserving any more humane treatment, than, say horses or cows, you make a good point. But cows that are raised on farms lead relatively benign existences until it's time to be slaughtered, whereas dogs which are trained to kill other dogs never lead anything but lead brutal lives.

Anonymous said...

Hunting in 21st century is definitely not needed to feed anyone, at least not in developed countries, it too is for amusement, just like dog fighting.

John Craig said...

That's true for trophy hunting. But I get the impression that most deer, rabbit, and turkey hunters -- who constitute the vast majority of hunters, at least in this country -- eat the meat.

pelicanmarsh68 said...

(To anonymous poster)
I can honestly say that as a hunter, I cannot and will not kill for sport. What's the point? I eat what I kill, period. When I fish, I strictly practice the "catch and release" method, unless I am looking for a nice fish meal that night. Being a steward of God's Creation mandates I treat it wisely and without taking it for granted. I understand the point of feeling it is no longer necessary for us to hunt as we are a developed nation and such food-taking adventures are no longer warranted. However, I would say that just because we have learned how to raise and slaughter animals to sell in grocery stores has not reduced the inner desire to exercise our dominance over animals that we specifically eat.