Saturday, January 27, 2007

Oh PETA, you're so right...

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 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 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.

Friday, January 26, 2007

Fat, So?

I went to a Yoga class. I got my sweat pants on and bought a bottle of water, said goodbye to my family and set off for unknown territory. It was a small, established class, I have never done Yoga before, and I don't do well at new things that involve other humans. I sat in the car for a few minutes debating whether or not to just forget the whole thing and go home where I know I'm safest. Recently, when I feel myself falter in this way I know that I have to act positively and boldly, and somehow I seem able to make myself do it. So with some hundred voices shouting in my head that I'm too fat, too old, too ugly, not posh and middle class enough, too loud and mouthy, just too much loud fat woman for people to take, I walked in to my first class.

So. I was without question the largest person in the room. I was, however, not the least fit. I stretched and felt self-conscious. I pulled at my top and my pants, adjusting them so that (I thought) no flab was exposed. I attempted every pose and rested during those that were far beyond my ability. After about half an hour I was really feeling stretched and warm, my heart rate was raised and my skin was glowing. I was enjoying myself! It was only in the final ten minutes where we rested in the dark, meditating, that I realised I had become completely unself-conscious. I had been utterly unaware of my appearance, size, exposed bits etc for at least half of the class. It was a revelation. It was freeing. I left the class feeling happy and confident, I conquered my chronic shyness (which manifests itself as brashness and inappropriate comedy!) and just spoke to people. I look forward to my next class on Monday. And I know it's a cliche but I really and truly feel taller.

I Heart Twisty Faster

Here is a quote from Twisty's latest and deliciously ferocious post:

Femininity is a set of practices and behaviors (boob jobs, FGM, ‘beauty’, the ‘veil’, the flirty head-tilt, pornaliciousness, BDSM, fashion, compulsory pregnancy, marriage, et al) that are dangerous, painful, pink, or otherwise destructive; that compel female subordination; that exist only to benefit Dude Nation; that are overwhelmingly represented by ‘girly’ feminists as a ‘choice’; and that are overwhelmingly represented by godbags and other irritating conservatives as ‘natural instincts’. In fact these practices and behaviors are nothing but inviolable cultural traditions in abject compliance with which comfort, contentment, and personal fulfillment are inextricably intertwined, and from which deviation is discouraged by the threat of ingenious punishments ranging from diminished social influence, to unemployability, to ridicule, to imprisonment, to rape, to murder, to the policing of feminist blogs.

Go and read the rest of it. It burns. In a very good way.

Monday, January 22, 2007

Blog For Choice!

It's today. So here's my answer to the question: Why am I pro-choice? I'm pro-choice because I believe that every woman should have control over her own body. Every woman should be able to make informed, rational and supported choices about reproduction. And in case there was any confusion, that includes financial support in cases where abortion is decided against. No woman should feel that she does not have the resources to continue a pregnancy. No woman should feel that she cannot afford to terminate a pregnancy. No woman should be bullied into continuing a pregnancy.

I believe in women. I believe that we are to be trusted to make our own choices and decisions about whether life begins at conception and I respect the individual and her opinions. I do not accept the idea that abortion is murder, but I will try to respect the opinions of those who do. I wish the anti-choicers would afford me the same courtesy. Here's hoping!

Happy Monday!

Get your pens and pencils out, I'm pointing you at a wonderful resource for dealing with those everyday bigots... If you scroll down the menu on the left there are sections that explore power relations within families and social groups, showing why it isn't always easy (or even safe) to challenge your racist parent or sibling. Then it shows you how to do it. It's excellent.

And here's your video treat for this week: The amazing Tori Amos. Unforgettable, inimitable, wonderful. Have an astonishing and powerful week you women!