While I was over at Creek Running North, I came across Chris' response to a new PETA ad. I jumped in at PETA and on their ads and activism ideas I suggested that they stop using naked women to sell their politics and tried treating women with at least as much respect as they demand for animals.
And here's the reply:
Thank you for your letter sharing your thoughts about PETA’s “State of the Union Undress.” We appreciate the opportunity to address your concerns.
Sarah Harley, the star of our ad, has said “there is nothing shameful or ‘wrong’ about being naked; I believe that women—and men—should have the choice to use their own bodies as political statements.” PETA wholeheartedly agrees. In fact, the tactic is actually age old; it has been used since at least the 11th century, when Lady Godiva rode naked on a horse to protest taxes on the poor. Consider, too, that it is the societies that allow women to wear revealing clothing in which women have the most rights and the most power. Likewise, it is the societies that punish women for wearing revealing clothing in which women have the fewest rights and the least power—they are considered chattel who must do as they are told. We would also like to note that we do not feature only women in our more provocative ads; please see the following examples:
The current situation is critical for billions of animals, and because it is our duty to continue drawing attention to the plight of animals abused in the meat, clothing, experimentation, and entertainment industries, we are willing to use all legal means at our disposal in ways that will capture the public’s imagination. Because we have found that people do pay more attention to our racier actions—and we consider the public’s attention to issues that affect animals to be extremely important—this will often entail our taking our clothes off. We understand that some consider our projects that include nudity to be controversial, but if our doing so shakes people up and even shocks them into discussion about the staggering number of lives at stake, then we are successful.
We must also note that we don’t rely on nudity for the majority of our outreach, nor do we use it gratuitously; it is intended to underscore our message, whether it is “I’d rather go naked than wear fur,” to emphasize the health benefits of a vegetarian diet, or to show the vulnerability of animals in laboratories or circuses. We make a point of having something for all tastes, from the most conservative to the most radical and from the most tasteless to the most refined.
This approach has proved amazingly successful—in just this past year, for example, major retailers, including Polo Ralph Lauren, Limited Brands, Ann Taylor, and Kenneth Cole Productions, made commitments to PETA to drop the fur from their clothing lines. Welch’s agreed to stop conducting deadly animal tests. Our campaign against the atrocities at KFC continues, and we’ve taken on new challenges as well. We’ve launched campaigns against Burberry and POM Wonderful, calling on those companies to stop killing animals. Please visit http://www.PETA.org/about/victories.asp for an inspiring list of victories.
We believe that America is ready to wake up to the truth about how animals are treated. We believe that America is ready to turn away from cruelty and embrace compassion and respect for all living beings. And, because we also believe that all this country needs to get the ball rolling is a little encouragement, PETA will work harder, shout louder, push further and, if we must, get “nakeder” than ever before. Please join us by visiting http://www.PETA.org/actioncenter/ for information on what you can do for animals.
Thank you again for providing us with this opportunity to explain our position on this important topic and for all that you do to help animals.
The PETA Staff
Now, if you are still awake, I should take this opportunity to admit once and for all that I really AM just a humourless, wizened, body hating radfem. I think, and have always thought that the human body should be hidden away and never mentioned or alluded to. It was remiss of me not to acknowledge that we live in a society that allows women to wear revealing clothes, therefore demonstrating that our scantily clad women have rights. I am sooooo thankful that I don't live in a (ahem) society where women are chattel. I am ashamed that I didn't understand that nudity is an "age-old" form of protest. I feel so stupid. I thank those intelligent, educated and not at all racist people at PETA for correcting me and explaining the real morality and ethics behind using a nubile, perfectly shaven, unlined, white, slender woman to draw attention to their noble campaign.