Over the weekend, a Blisstree reader, Jacqueline Joan, made a compelling request that we revoke our support for PETA, based on our usage of a PETA photo in a gift guide featuring vegan wool alternatives. She called for other readers to help her in voicing concerns over PETA’s sexist ads, which unethically use women to promote the ethical treatment of animals:
Please comment at this link telling BlissTree that PETA is a misogynist organization!! BlissTree is usually decent and posts about how sexist it is for ads to sell women skirts to wear for running and make women feel that having biceps is too manly or how before/after pictures in weightloss commercials can be bad for women’s self-esteem. Maybe they don’t know about PETA’s fat-shaming, degrading, & objectifying ads that respect animals more than women. PLEASE join me in telling them!!
Jacqueline, you’re right: PETA isn’t a female-positive organization. And we know it. We’ve complained about their use of porn (essentially) to get attention for animal rights. We’ve included their ads in our list of the most offensive fat-shaming ads. Their use of fat-shaming and objectification of women get them attention (such as this), but ultimately, we think it’s a pretty stupid way to promote animal rights.
But bashing PETA isn’t simple for those of us who agree with some of their ideas: PETA is one of the most outspoken and well-funded resources for people who are interested in animal rights or a vegan lifestyle. In fact, they’re one of the only resources and organizations that are vocally pro-animal rights at all. As Blisstree’s Associate Editor (and author of the wool article that made Jacqueline so angry) Hanna Brooks Olsen put it: ”It’s hard to come down on them too hard if they’re the only game in town, so to speak.”
To be honest, I feel ambivalent about PETA. I’m not currently vegan or vegetarian, but when I was (for nearly 20 years), it wasn’t for reasons having to do with animal rights. I don’t think that everyone should necessarily avoid animal products entirely, but I also don’t think that the way Americans currently consume and produce meat is humane or healthy. And if PETA can bring attention to the problems with America’s current methods of food production; I think that’s a good thing for our health.
So will we bash PETA for objectifying and fat-shaming women? We have and we’ll continue to do so. But will we refuse to mention some of the good work they’re doing? It’s highly unlikely that we’ll discontinue discussion of veganism and vegetarianism anytime soon, and on occasion, that means mentioning and agreeing with PETA.
As for our post about alterna-wool gifts: We’re sorry if our use of PETA’s photo offended you. The post itself makes no mention of PETA, and we feel that the photo is so over-the-top that it’s hard to take it seriously. And, to my earlier point, this is also one of the only advertisements out there that clearly promotes the avoidance of wool for animal-rights reasons.