Canada Bans Pam Anderson’s “Sexist” PETA Ad

Pursuant to my earlier post on PETA’s ads

Canada Bans Pam Anderson’s “Sexist” PETA Ad: Last week, the city of Montreal banned Pamela Anderson’s new PETA ad, slamming it as “sexist.” In the advertisement, Pamela’s bikini clad body is divided and labeled as various cuts of meat. This image is coupled with the slogan: “All Animals Have the Same Parts.”… (via Change.org.)

The irony here, for me, is that this ad is an example of those I singled out for (qualified) praise – for having, at least potentially, a double edge to their message, critiquing both the meat industry and the treatment/depiction of women as pieces of meat.

According to an official spokesperson, Montreal’s ban is based on concerns that the ad “goes against all principles public organizations are fighting for in the everlasting battle of equality between men and women.” PETA might have responded in kind, by arguing that the ad is engaged in that battle, as well as in PETA’s primary battle over the treatment of animals, by raising the issue of the objectification of women in tandem with the obvious attempt to highlight the origins of the “cuts” of meat in the bodies of living creatures – making an ad/argument that “cuts” both ways..

Unfortunately, PETA did not go this route. Rather PETA senior vice president Dan Mathews defended the ad by saying, “I think that city officials are confusing ‘sexy’ with ‘sexist.'”  Which suggests to me that I was right in the argument I made in my original post, that PETA has lost sight of other issues in its concern for, as I put it in an unnecessarily derogatory phrasing, the fluffy bunnies.

Arguing that using a naked or nearly naked woman in its ad is just sexy, and rejecting any concern about the way women are routinely deployed in this way to sell things, shows that PETA really doesn’t get it. It is possible to be a sexist vegan jerk, but it isn’t the sort of change in which I am interested.

And it is distressing that change.org chose not to try to take on these issues in a serious way, just dealing with the ban and clearly taking PETA’s side (and also giving the article a very misleading title – suggesting that the ban is nationwide, rather than just in one city). Even more distressing are the comments that accompany the article; reading some of them it felt like the entire women’s movement had simply vanished… These comments or at least many of them show just how effective the backlash against feminism has been, and also how it has been coupled with aspects of the neocon entrepreneurial/aspirational ideology that has completely reshaped the American political, social and cultural landscape over the last two decades.

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