Thursday, June 4, 2015

The Sexual Politics of PETA

It turns out that PETA, or formally known as the People's Ethical Treatment of Animals, has produced their fair share of advertisement campaigns equally as sexist and shameful as those employed by the meat industry. As we've seen through our discussion on the Sexual Politics of Meat by Carol Adams, the meat industry has a tendency of exploiting and sexualizing the female body to appease males into buying their products. Ultimately, these images reinforce gendered tropes in our society that divide men and women on the basis of diet and power. Men eat beef while women eat salad and men are powerful while women are docile. The two notions are interrelated to the meat industry.

However, I find it ironic for an organization that prides itself on the ethical treatment of animals to disregard the one animal they seem to be mistreating the most: human beings. The lack of respect PETA has shown to the female body is just as insulting as the meat industry's.


The most obvious thing to note between all of these pictures is the focus on what's deemed "attractive" by PETA. Like the meat industry, PETA also equates meat and other animal byproducts with images of women. In this case, however, the additive offense stems from the amount of body-shaming these ads illustrate.

Since society has deemed hair on women's body unattractive, PETA decides to equate that with the fur-pelting of animals. I think their thought process in that one was that women would see these ads and think: "Yeah! I hate having my own hair on my body so why do I want the fur of an animal's, instead, am I right!?!?" I also don't think I have to highlight the fat-shaming in these ads, either. Through these images alone, PETA seems to think that the only way women can be proud of their bodies is if they are thin -- and the only way to be thin is to stop eating meat altogether and go vegetarian! It's not like it has anything to do with a healthy diet and exercise or anything and it's not like women who don't meet these standards can't be proud of their body, anyhow.

Anyway, these are just a few of the ads I've compiled that focus on body-shaming. Other offensive ads you can come across involve things like this:

(P.S. I hope my sarcasm comes across clearly through my writing).


  1. Thanks for sharing. I definitely agree that Peta is using to sex advertise veganism and vegeterianism. I'm sure that they sexualized the ads so that their message was more provacative and overall had a greater impact. I do think that perhaps it was not very appropriate for Peta to sexualize women just like the meat industry does. But, we can stick to the old phrase.. "fight fire with fire" in the sense that sex does sell and if we can use sex, regardless of gender, to provide a better message then maybe Peta was all too bad. Anyways thanks for sharing, I thought it was very interesting and some of the ads were pretty funny.

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  3. These pictures are honestly quite surprising to me. I have never seen them myself, but i'm glad you brought it up on here. Its hard to believe PETA has chosen to take this approach, targeting women in this way. It's almost worse the way that they're doing it too, because unlike the Carl's Jr. advertisement that we examined early this quarter, PETA doesn't leave much room for the imagination or for analysis to be done. They lay it all plainly out there for the public to view and are quite blunt about it, but their bluntness is not attractive and i don't believe the message is coming across too well. I've always wondered why PETA has taken this approach, as i has only been exposed to their celebrity nude ad campaigns. It's never made much sense to me why they choose to do so, but in a way it makes sense—they do it to get attention, much like what most advertisement in the media do. It's to get the audience to react in some way. In that case, i think they have succeeded.