PETA: People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals or People for the Unethical Treatment of Women?

Why degrade women to promote rights for animals?

PETA’s agenda to force vegetarianism through explicit and sexist photos that are shocking to say the least prove that they don’t understand the first thing about ethics. As a woman, I am ashamed that their campaigns are deemed acceptable. The media expose and objectify young women constantly, but we know this creates an unrealistic image for women. As an advocate of healthy self-confidence coupled with the belief that women don’t owe beauty to anyone, it saddens me that these advertisements are still shown today. Healthy has many different appearances. In the advertisements PETA gladly show, they are creating an unrealistic body image and solely relying on objectifying women and selling sex to gain attention. Without a doubt, there are other ways to get people’s attention on an important issue without acting unethically. Head over to their banned Super Bowl advertisement and decide whether or not you think they have taken this too far. Banned PETA Super Bowl Ad

In addition, PETA has polls on their website each year voting for the “hottest vegetarians.” You and I know that this doesn’t motivate people to stop eating meat. Isn’t that their goal in the first place? PETA Vice President Bruce Friedrich says he welcomes the criticism, mostly because it helps make the case that the controversial ad campaign gets people talking about his organization’s animal rights issues. He suggested that the group is following in the footsteps of Jesus. He states, “We are not the first to walk this road: Jesus himself defied the conventions of his day and outraged local religious and government leaders in order to ensure that his message of compassion was heard…I’m convinced that when iconography is used in an effort to make the world kinder and more just, it is fulfilling the highest goal of humanity: to strive to enact God’s vision of justice and peace on Earth.” Many say that the girls in the advertisements willingly participate in being objectified, so PETA is not to blame. If the models do so willingly, does that make the act less offensive?

Most recently, Alexandra Burke strips naked in PETA fur protest and claims she felt fabulous in her birthday suit. Check out the photo here: Alexandra Burke for PETA

When it comes to a case like this one, I don’t think, “all publicity is good publicity” because PETA thrives on making ads that lack creativity and integrity. Clearly, PETA’s agenda is not met through their current strategy and begs the question: Why do they continue to waste time and money on an ineffective, offensive strategy? 

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2 Responses to PETA: People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals or People for the Unethical Treatment of Women?

  1. Kaitlyn H. says:

    PETA’s continual advertising campaigns of exposed women don’t strike me as offensive. I think that these campaigns are effective in grasping the attention of a variety of audiences from young to old. Too many people are focused on the fact that these campaigns are huge displays of nude women to realize the concept of, “I’d rather go naked than wear fur,” that is behind it. The campaigns also recruit many celebrities to take up the cause and further promote it, even after they pose in the advertisements. Furthermore, PETA recruits women of all different body types so as to not create an idea of an unrealistic body image. For example, in one of their previous campaigns Khloe Kardashian, who is a more muscular female, was recruited by PETA to be in one of their campaigns, to show young girls that there are all different and accepted body types. In another campaign that uses Joanna Krupa as the model, she is dressed down to only underwear with fur sticking out of it, and has the caption, “Fur Trim: Unattractive, don’t ruin your look with fur trim.” Even though it’s an odd picture when it is first looked at, the idea and theory behind it when it is all put together is the kind of thing that draws people into it, and allows it to be separated from any average advertising campaign. Overall, I think that PETA means well with everything that they do. They’re not just putting a nude model on a billboard for the fun of it, but rather they’re using these models to represent a cause and to grasp the attention of various audiences.

  2. lydia.durkovic says:

    The concept of shockvertising is hardly a new one. Companies have been using controversial and sometimes graphic images in their advertising campaigns for decades, so PETA’s approach is by no stretch of the imagination anything unique or new. In my personal opinion, PETA’s campaigns simply implement the “sex sells” concept that is so commonly used as a marketing tactic in today’s society. Yes, while the Superbowl Ad was maybe a little over the top (especially given the fact that alot of younger children watch the Superbowl with their families), there have certainly been more inappropriate commercials in the history or advertising. I think it was appropriate that the ad was banned from being shown in that particular situation, but don’t see an issue with PETA having it on their website or something like that. If companies like American Apparel can get away with using clearly exposed females in their advertisements, I don’t see why the standards should be any different for activist groups like PETA, who actually use the attention to raise awareness about a public issue.

    The greater issue at hand here is the moral standards of the advertising industry as a whole. Do we allow companies to take the “sex sells” approach over the line? Also, for one company to be punished or called out for using this tactic, all of the other companies who have used this approach in the past would have to be called out as well, and that simply won’t ever happen. Objectification of women in advertising is common on too large of a scale to ever be stopped, and as long as women continue to volunteer to be objectified in ads for a paycheck, the issue will never be solved.

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