Speaking of Women's Rights...: Porn For Pets?

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

Porn For Pets?




It’s no secret in the anti-violence movement that abuse of and cruelty to animals can be an indicator of a propensity toward domestic or sexual violence. So you’d think that Legal Voice and our allies in the women’s movement would be supportive of animal rights and anti-cruelty groups. And we are, mostly.

But that support, at least for me, screeches to a halt when it comes to People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals. PETA’s flamboyant approach to seeking support could be intriguing . . . if it didn’t involve pornography and the exploitation and objectification of women. What are they thinking?

Well, apparently they are thinking they’ll get attention, and to some degree, that’s a correct assumption. But it’s time for feminists and our supporters to call PETA out and demand they stop pushing their own agenda by making it harder for those of us working for equality, safety and justice for women to combat harmful stereotypes and cultural themes.

Maybe it was effective when PETA put out the ads showing celebrities saying, “I’d rather go naked than wear fur,” maybe it was eye-catching and (to some people) amusing. But it was still objectifying women. I tried not to get too worked up about it (there is such a thing as being too feminist or PC, after all), and for the most part, succeeded. Then there was the picture of an obese woman with the caption: “Save the Whales. Lose the Blubber. Go Vegetarian.” Offensive, unnecessary, stupid and discriminatory.

This week PETA plans to have naked women lying on the sidewalk in Spokane, Washington, to “lie like dead fish in front of a sushi restaurant.” So wrong, in so many ways. What is the connection between being naked and being a fish (aside from the fact that fish don’t wear clothes, but really – so what?). And why women? Maybe no one wants to see a naked man lying on the street. More likely, PETA is buying into and perpetuating the centuries-old tradition of exploiting women as objects of lust.

It gets worse. In an attempt to get more people interested in PETA, the organization is launching a porn site. No typo: A PORN SITE. And no, I am not going to link to it. You can read about it here, though. And don’t worry: no animals were harmed in the making of the site. Whew, that’s a relief.

Really, PETA? REALLY? Sure, it may attract even more attention --- from people who are already interested in naked women and men. And yes, I know that pornography is an issue that divides people in the feminist and women’s rights communities, and it’s one on which I am not taking a stand. But whatever your view about that, it seems clear to me that PETA’s site is about sensationalism and exploitation, which doesn’t further any feminist agenda. Here’s hoping that the majority of porn viewers are not natural PETA supporters, and that the whole project is a bust. (No pun intended.)