Cross-posted at Fem2pt0.
Well, folks…PETA is at it again. No strangers to utilizing sexism and misogyny, they’ll do whatever it takes to garner attention for animal rights. With their latest ad campaign, they prove that nothing is too taboo to manipulate. Their latest offensive ad, “Boyfriend Went Vegan and Knocked the Bottom out of Me,” exploits domestic violence survivors. WTF?! This shit has got to stop.
In PETA’s latest ad, a woman limps and wears a neck brace, apparently from the rough sex she has with her boyfriend as a result of his newly found vegan diet. From PETA’s website:
“All over the world, regular guys are choosing a vegan diet, unaware of the erotic consequences. As a result, an epidemic is spreading among their “loved” ones: BWVAKTBOOM, “Boyfriend Went Vegan and Knocked the Bottom out of Me.
“For years, women have been open to the physical, emotional, and karmic benefits of veganism. But now, more and more men are discovering the perks of a plant-based diet. More specifically, a dramatic increase in their wang power and sexual stamina.
“Unfortunately, the consequences of all this mind-blowing intercourse can often lead to sex injuries such as whiplash, pulled muscles, rug burn, and even a dislocated hip.”
Yeah, okay. Let’s get something straight here. I love hot sex. I’m down for hot sex. But PETA’s not emulating or celebrating erotica. There’s nothing funny or arousing about a woman limping with a collar around her neck. Violent injuries like whiplash and a dislocated hip?! That’s fucking domestic violence. And what the hell is a “regular” guy?? An abusive asshole?!
As a feminist vegan and a domestic violence survivor, I’m disgusted and outraged. Abuse is never okay. Domestic violence is not a joke. It shouldn’t be trivialized and used as a goddamn marketing gimmick. Enduring and surviving violence is a horrific experience that you can’t truly comprehend unless you’ve faced it yourself. Love should never hurt. Ever.
But Lindsay Rajt, PETA’s Associate Director of Campaigns and Outreach, the same oh so lovely person who thought the PETA porn stunt was such a great idea, seems to think the ad is just a joke. She said:
“The piece is tongue-in-cheek. People who watch the ad all the way through see the woman has a mischievous smile. She’s happy to go back with him. It’s playful.”
Wow. There’s nothing “playful” about limping and needing a fucking neck brace. I hope to god somebody thinks twice before uttering the mansplaining bullshit to me, “Oh, it’s a joke. Lighten up.” Yeah, I get PETA’s trying to be all snarky and funny. As I wrote about rape jokes, they’re not edgy. They’re lazy, misogynistic, insensitive and violent. And the same goes for domestic violence jokes. There’s nothing funny about mocking someone’s trauma.
Joking about domestic violence trivializes survivors and their pain. In the U.S., nearly 1 in 5 women has been sexually assaulted and 1 in 4 women will face domestic violence in her lifetime. Society often shames and blames victims of rape and domestic violence. But people don’t bring violence on themselves. Abusers are the ones to blame, not survivors. Domestic violence isn’t just something that occurs between two people in a relationship. Either your mother or sister or friend or you yourself may have been abused. It’s an insidious epidemic that affects us all. The last thing we need are jokes that dismiss survivors and undermine the severity of domestic violence.
Society teaches us men are assertive, having uncontrollable urges (a la “boys will be boys” mentality) and women are passive, their sexuality something to control. In PETA’s video, the woman’s boyfriend has such an out-of-control sexuality that he ends up abusing her body. There’s nothing funny about that. Just like Fiat’s sexist ad for the Super Bowl, PETA’s ad associates and normalizes violence with sex and sexual arousal. Even when abused, women must be sexy.
The media often subjugates women’s bodies, particularly in the form of violence and death. The proliferation of these disturbing images contributes to our rape culture that normalizes and glorifies sexual violence and misogyny. Violence against women in the form of rape, sexual assault, domestic violence, and femicide are all devastating crimes we need to take seriously. Yet time and again, we witness the media’s pornification of women’s and girls’ bruised bodies and corpses. And PETA is no different.
I’m thrilled when a person or organization speaks out against animal cruelty. But PETA would gain a lot more supporters if they didn’t keep pissing people off with their shock tactics. They’re alienating and enraging potential demographics. As I’ve said before, PETA will use any methods to draw attention. They call themselves “press sluts” and use sex and nudity because they know it “works.” With their images of women shackled, abused, murdered and as cuts of meat, PETA is a cog in the machine that continues to denigrate women. I don’t know why the hell I’m surprised they would go this far.
This ad, like most of their advertising campaigns, has absolutely nothing at all to do with a healthy lifestyle or saving animals. It’s all for shock value. As the largest animal rights organization globally, their messages matter. I can’t tell you how many people I’ve encountered who assume you support PETA if you’re a vegan or an animal rights activist. It’s a fucking travesty that they continue to spread this toxic bullshit.
As a vegan and animal rights advocate, I believe animals should never be used or exploited for humans’ consumption or enjoyment. So it’s ironic PETA thinks it’s okay to use exploitation of women’s bodies just to further their agenda. I’m a feminist vegan because I don’t believe in oppression or exploitation of either animals or women.
I’ve said and written it before, and I’ll continue to do so until this douchebaggery stops. I shouldn’t have to turn my back on feminism in order to support being vegan. It disgusts me PETA’s ads continuously objectify women and glorify violence, perpetuating the message that women merely serve as sex objects for the male gaze. And PETA’s latest campaign shows they have no sympathy or compassion for domestic violence survivors who they apparently think only exist as punchlines in their ads.
I’m fucking tired of PETA turning women’s bodies into a battleground in which to wage their cause.
Sign the petition, “Tell PETA Violence Against Women Is Never Okay.”