Feb 16 2006

PETA Has Their Head Up Their Ass

The kooky sexbot website where human women flash their udders to show solidarity with milk cows is just another example of why sophomoric “ironic” porn can never be justified in a world in which beauty aspires to truth. It can’t even be justified in a world where “whipped topping” is a food group.


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  1. Puffin

    PeTA has pissed me off for years. A feminist vigilante group a la Guerilla Girls did a fab job of destroying some of PeTA’s billboards around L.A. back in the 80s. The ads showed a woman in a fur coat and stated, “It takes a dozen dumb animals to make a fur coat but it only takes one to wear one.”

    So the group climbed these monstrous billboards and painted stuff like “Fuck You, PeTA. Men kill animals. Men make the money off the sale of animals.” It was great. There is a book out there about animal rights & feminism by a woman whose name escapes me but it goes into great detail documenting how the animal rights movement tramples all over women’s inherent dignity in order to make the point that animals have inherent dignity. I think it’s called ‘Neither Man Nor Beast’ but I’m not entirely sure.

  2. Kaka Mak

    PETA’s really sucking it hard today–I posted just this AM about them and their latest naked lady ad–take a look–does this piss anyone else off? (I think my name will link you to it).

    To think, many years back I was a member of PETA–before the Lettuce Ladies and I’d Rather Go Naked crap.

  3. Miriam

    God! That shit pisses me off! Alec Baldwin narrates ‘If you’re drinking milk then you’re murdering cows!’. Not if you get your milk home delivered by a humane, locally owned and operated dairy farm that can’t AFFORD to let cows die from infections and muscle problems, you asshole! And the snippet of their website that says “drinking milk causes osteoperosis” WTF!!

    What’s bugging me most is the dichotomy between their “Milk Gone Wild” spot and the “Milk is Murder” movie. So the dignity of cows is more important to PETA than the dignity of human women? Clearly.

  4. Crys T

    PETA has always pissed me off, too. And what I really don’t get is that just about every vegan I’ve ever had any contact with can’t stand them, either. Besides animals, who the hell do they think they’re speaking for?

  5. Twisty

    Hawt girls!

  6. Crys T

    Actually, Miriam, though I don’t think specifically drinking milk “causes” osteoporosis, excess intake of protein (and those of us in the West usually waaaaay outeat our protein needs) put a lot of strain on the body and one result is the leeching of calcium from your bones. Milk is a high-protein food (which also means that your body doesn’t have an easy time absorbing the calcium in milk anyway), which contributes to excess protein intake. So, unless your diet is very, very low in protein otherwise, using dairy can contribute to developing osteoporosis–as well as damaging your kidneys and liver.

    I’m not a vegan or even a vegetarian, but there’s no use pretending that we “need” milk. We don’t. It’s a glandular secretion from a different species. And, incidentally, people in cultures where dairy isn’t used do tend to have far less occurrence of osteoporosis.

    I’m not likely to ever give up my cheese–not totally, anyway–but facts is facts.

  7. Crys T

    Sorry to triple-post, but I’d also like to point out that the whole propaganda mill that constantly puts horror stories in front us to convince us that we need to drink gallon upon gallon of milk and eat pound after pound of meat or face ghastly consequences–while simultaneously trying to convince us that the food that actually is good for us (eg beans, grains) is somehow “incomplete” or otherwise unfit for human consumption–is a classic example of the patriarchy, and specfically its subdivision of capitalism, in action.

  8. Josef K

    If this ad had been made by radical feminists, I think we’d all be slower to condemn it. After all, how often do you get any recognition in the media that breasts aren’t actually designed for looking at?

    Of course, PETA are taking the idea that breasts are all about the aesthetics, and instead of subverting that assumption, they’re using it to enhance their ad’s shock value. They’re milking women’s bodies like any other tool of the patriarchy.

    Women who try to challenge the idea that breasts are controlled by men’s desires are, of course, dismissed as “militant lactivists”, or just “disgusting”.

    … and, yeah, there’s a danger in re-framing breasts as food factories too, but at least it’s a challenging viewpoint.

    I’ve been a vegetarian for 15 years now, and I fucking hate PETA too.

  9. Josef K

    Sorry, that was a bit rambly. I didn’t mean to come across as a cross between a GCSE student and one of the green ink brigade. DEAR TWISTY We all enjoyed the trip to your workshop, I especially enjoyed learning about carpentry, Prince Harry is one of the lizard people, Pride and Prejudice is about society’s expectations, what time is Sesame Street on? They’re stealing my string!

  10. Violet Socks

    I actually agree with PETA’s philosophy on animal rights. I just need an animal rights organization that isn’t, you know, insane.

  11. Miriam

    Crys T, point taken. What bothered me about it was that they were making such a bold statement without backing it up at all. There were no links from that statement to a study that showed what you’re describing, no asterisk that says *when consumed as part of a high-protein diet, etc… As it was, without any conditions or evidence or asides, it was seriously misleading.

  12. Violet Socks

    JosefK, I just have to tell you that your second post was hilarious. (And your first post wasn’t so rambly!)

  13. Sharoni

    PETA recently had a naked girl type protest in our town plaza – right across the street from some very chi-chi fur selling stores. I’ll bet they’re killing off their supporters, though, because it was 26 degrees outside that day, and here they are, pulling their “I’d rather go naked” stunt for the amusement of all the gawking lawyers and tourists having lunch. They chickened out, though, I was told (by a lawyer having lunch) that they were wearing sandwich boards, not just running around naked. Shucks!

  14. Josef K

    Violet Socks, thank you!

  15. Clare

    PETA has been pissing me off for a long time now. It’s almost to the point that I have a knee jerk reaction to anything they do which is a real shame since I think animal rights are incredibly important. HOWEVAH, trampling on women’s rights in the name of animal’s rights is not ok. And the way they do it just pisses me off. The are constantly using naked, half nekkid, “I’d rather go naked”, can’t have a fur “down there” women to point out the horrible things we do to animals. All it does for me is point out the horrible things we do to women. Objectification much?

    When this milk ad first came out, I emailed them about their willingness to objectify women all in the name of saving animals, but they never wrote me back.

    Maybe if I was super hot and included a picture of myself topless along with the email I might have gotten a response?

  16. robin

    I guess I’ll jump in here with an unpopular opinion:
    although PETA can be bizarre and fanatical, they have also been one of the few groups to effective a change in the abhorent use of factory farms by fast food purveyors such as McDonalds. Sweet talk was not going to do it: they went hard and nasty after McDonalds because that’s what it took.
    Although PETA’s campaigns are often freaky, I can’t help but get a sense that people’s disdain for PETA is sometimes couched in a larger disdain for PETA’s cause.
    I cried when I viewed that video. The sight of the struggling cow hanging by its feet as its throat was slowly cut sickened me to no end. The absurd image of the uddered women faded pretty quickly from my mind in the face of the cruelty which followed.
    Crys T asks, “Besides animals, who the hell do they think they’re speaking for?”
    I imagine PETA thinks that speaking for animals who cannot speak for themselves is plenty enough.
    Miriam asks,”So the dignity of cows is more important to PETA than the dignity of human women?”
    This statement seems rather dismissive of the reality of animal suffering.
    The daily unremitting pain, fear, and trauma experienced by factory animals goes way beyond “dignity” or lack thereof. We are all degraded by our participation in such horror.
    The big nasty fact of this is as invisible to most people as is the insidious degradation of women inacted daily by the Patriarchy.
    PETA is out there swinging hard, and they do go way too far sometimes, but I can’t help but think the overall reduction in suffering as a result of their work outweighs the harm they might do.
    I do not object to raising animals humanely for meat or milk by the way – I just don’t want the price of my burger to include scenes such as those shown on that video.

  17. Violet Socks

    I agree with you, Robin, but PETA must be doing something wrong if most vegans hate them. (Though I have noticed that the most vociferous criticism comes from liberals who eat beef jerky with gusto, just suggesting a bit of a guilt complex there.)

    I would like to think PETA has had an overall good effect, but some people argue that their tactics are actually counter-productive. It’s a difficult call.

    This is how radical I am about animal rights: I think animal species should have representation at the U.N. I shit you not.

  18. Joida

    I am vegan. I believe strongly in ending the suffering of animals. But it is never right to objectify, exploit, and degrade women for any cause. Women always tend to come last in so-called progressive movements. You’d think that since most of their supporters are women, PETA would be different. There’s patriarchy at work for ya.

    And explain to me again how portraying women as cows will stop people from drinking milk? I feel that PETA is no longer an animal rights movement. Their message has changed from “animals are suffering” to “see, we can objectify women, we’re cool too!” They’ve become a joke.

  19. Teenagecatgirl

    Not that I’d ever endorce the use of naked women to ‘sell’ anything, but I’d find the whole nekkid chiks thing far more appealing if the campaign actually was ‘I’ve got my own fur, thanks’, and featured nekkid chiks with giant muffs and hairy legs.
    Of course, that could be just an aspect of my current level of drunkeness.

  20. mythago

    robin, their asshattery turns off people who might otherwise be receptive to their message. They’re far more interesting in playing shock-the-carnivores than actual progress.

  21. Liz

    I tried to click on the dancing nipple to read the FAQ but couldn’t seem to, um, latch on to it. Do they offer any cites for actual peer-reviewed scientific studies supporting their claims that milk causes osteoporsis and so forth? Clearly I’m not their target demographic, I couldn’t even find my own keyboard amidst the massive confusion of all that crazy squirting and gyrating. But they certainly succeeded in alienating me, and came close to convincing me that Vegans Are Not My Friends.

  22. Les

    I’m a vegetarian and I’ve been and on-again off-again vegan for a few years.

    I went to the NOW rally in Central Park in NYC during the republican convention in 2004 and PeTA was there, at the NOW rally, passing out vegetarian pamphlets backing “Chris P. Carrot” for president. The had a man in a carrot costume / business suit who was the “presidential candidate” and some other vegetable in a men’s business suit as the veep. And with the men in vegetable outfits, there were young women in skimpy, skimpy, skimpy, tiny outfits. At the NOW rally.

    Using women’s bodies is part of every single PETA campaign that I’ve ever witnessed. Their fur campaigns especially make it clear that they value livestock over human women. If they’re so against murdering animals for clothing, why don’t they go annoy some leather-clad bikers? No, they ignore leather and go after the female-gendered animal product wearing. Because they hate women and see them as weak, easy targets.

    I would get 100% behind PETA if they weren’t so obviously misogynist. Their NOW thing was so mistimed and inappropriate as are so many of their campaigns that it makes me suspicious that they’ve been infiltrated by the beef industry and are being manipulated to alienate their natural allies and make vegans and vegetarians look stupid.

    hate peta. hate.

  23. Emma

    This is how radical I am about animal rights: I think animal species should have representation at the U.N. I shit you not.

    I think they should get the UK’s place on the security council. We don’t seem to be doing anything positive with it.

  24. Les

    Oh, as an aside, there is a lot of good evidence about the milk osteoporosis claim. The calcium in milk isn’t very bioavailable. if you’re worried about your calcium, take a supplement like bone-up. You’re way more likely to absorb it and thus, it’s better for you.

    Milk-consuming cultures have a very high rate of osteoporosis. Non-milk consuming cultures don’t. This is not genetic as immigrants have the bone density of the culture that they move to. There’s evidence that milk is directly the culprit, but, alas, I can’t recall it right now.

    But seriously, milk is full of hormones designed (in the “intelligent design” sense) to stimulate growth in baby cows. It’s not really good for humans, especially adult ones.

  25. Sarah

    ” No, they ignore leather and go after the female-gendered animal product wearing. Because they hate women and see them as weak, easy targets”

    -not true. PETA have significant campaigns against leather,fur seems higher on their agenda because it is often ‘raised and processed’ in countries where even worse animal rights abuses take place. and none of their objectifying of women (though unacceptable) is because they hate women, it is because our society has developed in a way that if you want people to pay attention to what you’ve got to say, tits work. It’s unfortunate, it should be stopped, but it’s true.

  26. Kate

    I am as appalled by the mistreatment of animals as any farmgirl meat-eater can be. I believe agriculture does not have to be synonomous with raping the environment and being cruel to our fellow mammals but unfortunately it often is.

    I also think PETA have done some good work — and also have done some crazy stupid things — but at the same time this sort of shit gets up my nose.

    As an aside, if we halted agriculture full-stop and stopped using cows for any of their products, what would we do with them all? Set them free? In Australia that would be even more cruel, because they’d probably all die in from hunger, of they’d breed and take over land that is being used by native animals and so on and cause even more widescale environmental damage than we people have already done.

    It really is bizarre that we’ve set up a system whereby domesticated cattle are reliant upon humans for their survival in many places, even if they’re also harvested for their products. Kind of a symbiosis.

    Sorry, just musing.

  27. Chris Clarke

    Alec Baldwin narrates ‘If you’re drinking milk then you’re murdering cows!’.

    I share many of the concerns (not to mention the disgust) expressed about PETA in this thread. But the above statement, if one construes “murder” to include the sale of male calves as veal, is true. Cows are bred regularly to keep milk flowing, and half of all calves born will be (aaaaaahhhhhh can’t help myself) udderly unsuited to grow up and take jobs in the dairy industry, on account of being males. So either a farmer takes them on as charity cases and feeds them for the rest of their lives, or she sells ’em as veal-based life forms.

    Which means that people who eat dairy products and adopt a “meat is murder” line are misinformed.

  28. thebewilderness

    How I loved PETA. They had the info, they put it out there and took the position that you were a decent human being and could make the choice that was right for you. I loved that about them. I stopped using products that were tested on animals. I changed the way I fed my family. It was great. Knowledge is a wonderful thing. Sometime in the eighties, I think, they seemed to give up on us and adopted the ‘scare em straight’ approach of the patriarchy. Sad to see.
    The milk is bad because they changed the regulations several years ago to permit far too much hormone and antibiotic additions to the feed. Same thing with the grains that have been genetically modified to be resistant to glypsophate(poison) the food value is about 13% what it was in the 1930s. The use of corn syrup(modified) as a sweetener in prepared foods and the reduced food value of grains is the main reason the obesity level has skyrocketed. Just another gift from Ronnie Rayguns. The food supply has been trashed by the patriarchy to benefit agrobusiness.I think I spelled that wrong.

  29. SisterJ

    PETA lost me when they compared animal slaughter to slavery in one campaign, and the holocaust in another.

    In deciding which is more important (cause or effect), it seems the answer depends on which side is easiest to target. If prostitution is a problem, law enforcement goes after the prostitutes because they’re weaker, less likely to have access to a real lawyer, and less likely to garner sympathy from a jury. Here, of course, the prostitute is the supplier. But is she the cause? Surely, the john’s addiction to sex-on-demand is the cause? No? OK.

    Then, let’s check the “war on drugs”. Addicts are the easier target in this battle (for the same reason prostitutes are). Even though sex-on-demand addicts (johns) are not arrested, self-medicating addicts ARE arrested because, clearly, their addiction is the cause, right? Unlike the sex-on-demand addicts who are just innocent, hard-working men with (frigid/feminist) wives at home. Yes? OK.

    If you’re still following, then you understand PETA’s way of (not) thinking. They’re clearly following the patriarchy’s rule book. On page one, in big letters, it says “Go After the Easiest Target”. In PETA’s battle, the easiest targets are those women who choose to wear fur.

    Ironically, PETA’s campaigns against fur have increased the slaughter of reptiles. If the snakes and leather don’t bother them, and PETA still thinks fur is the most important issue, they should put down the patriarchy’s rule book for a moment and really go out on a limb. I mean, take one for the team.

    What would they think of throwing their infamous buckets of blood on some big drunk (armed) hunters? Now, THAT would be cutting edge. Risque.

    If the very real probability of being shot is daunting, they could wait for famous hunters to return to their natural habitats (wearing business suits with leather shoes and belts). Here’s the short list to start:

    -Ted Nugent
    -John Kerry
    -Dick Cheney

    I would just like to end by saying that we’re all animals. But some animals are more animals than other animals.

  30. ozma

    I hate to say it but their attempt to gross you out about milk made me laugh. It’s like when your brother licks your piece of pie so he can eat it. I’m off to drink a glass of milk before bed.

  31. Maureen

    Maybe it’s just me, but I’ve always wondered if teenage girls going vegetarian just when their bodies really start to need iron isn’t helping the patriarchy; teenagers aren’t usually that conscientious about taking iron supplements, and I’ve read reports showing links between anemia and low math scores.

    And yeah, the above statement is partially me trying to justify the kefta kabob sandwich I ate for lunch.

  32. Crys T

    But why should going vegetarian necessarily result in insufficient iron intake? I mean, it’s not like most meat-eaters have properly balanced diets that supply them with all the nutrients they need, either. And, from what I’ve read, most iron supplements aren’t terribly good for you anyway.

    It’s starving yourself or otherwise taking up wacky fad diets (you know, the kind that require you to eat nothing but pineapples or whatever) that leads to problems like anaemia, not being vegetarian or vegan.

    But getting back to PETA, I don’t give a damn personally if they have managed to raise consciousness about animal rights issues if they’ve done it by shitting on women.

  33. Luckynkl

    I don’t drink milk. Not because of PETA or politics. And not just because I don’t like milk. But because I’m pretty sure the only ones who were meant to drink cow milk were baby cows.

    I suspect it was all just another attempt by the patriarchs to devalue women and take away from them what only they can do and profit from it. It was also another way to get infants out of the bedroom and out of the way of the patriarchs. Who are jealous of and compete fiercely with infants for women’s breasts and for their attention.

  34. Dim Undercellar

    I stopped paying attention to anything PETA did after they announced they were coming to my old college campus with a “Drink Beer, Not Milk” campaign.

    As in, literally, “Pour beer on your cereal in the morning”.

    MADD and SADD pitched a fit. The local DARE unit pitched a fit. The leadership of the local AA chapter pitched a fit. The churches pitched a fit. I was trying to decide exactly how much ground beef I would have to buy for an effective counter-protest.

    Then they decided to skip our campus. Disaster averted. I haven’t listened to a word they’ve said about anything since.

    Seriously. “Beer, Not Milk”??

  35. Roozen

    Amen Crys T! You wrote everything I was thinking :)

  36. Sharoni

    Good morning, Twisty, thought I’d see what’s going on this a.m.

    And Dim, I doubt they were SERIOUS, just going onto a college campus they were trying something that they figured would appeal – college students = beer? Stupid anyway. I think that animals should be treated fairly, but I wear leather, I eat meat, I occasionally drink milk. I would hate to think of my beloved dog being treated the way they treat cattle, but I’m not running the beef industry, either. PETA is just another way for somebody to get in your face and try to tell you what to do. I’m soooooo tired of everybody from the pope to the pres to your local church group trying to run everybody else’s life I could puke. Why don’t they just manage themselves and stay out of my life? I blame the patriarchy for allowing this to go on.

  37. Amber

    PETA! Where only the women are treated like meat!

  38. Violet Socks

    Why don’t they just manage themselves and stay out of my life?

    I bet animals feel that way too.

  39. Ms Kate

    IMHO, radical Vegans are just as bad as the WWJD crowd and any other “my way or the highway” organization.

    I mean, come on. You could completely derail a PETA meeting by dropping down a pot of tea and asking “anyone want some honey”. Hours of empassioned debate over whether honey is exploiting bees, etc. would ensue.

    My niece stopped being a strict vegan after running a vegan restaraunt and having to deal with the purity of essence brigades. She also got put off when visiting friends in another city where people were spending vast quantities of time and energy organizing a protest over the rumor that a local eatery had possibly mistakenly used soy cheese made with rennet. “(throws up hands) AND THERE IS AN ILLEGAL INVASION GOING ON!”

    If you look like entertainment, and act like entertainment can you ever be taken seriously?

  40. Ms Kate

    I stopped paying attention to anything PETA did after they announced they were coming to my old college campus with a “Drink Beer, Not Milk” campaign.

  41. mythago

    And, from what I’ve read, most iron supplements aren’t terribly good for you anyway.

    Having anemia isn’t terribly good for you anyway. If you want to argue alternatives to red meat, feel free. If you’re going to pretend that ‘problems like anemia’ are simply caused by fad diets instead of good, healthy vegetarian eating, the nicest thing I can think of to say is that you don’t know what the fuck you’re talking about.

    And what SisterJ said.

  42. robin

    I’ll just throw one more comment in:
    Have the overall efforts of PETA increased the suffering of sentient beings in the world or decreased it?
    My guess is the latter.
    As I mentioned before, I sense a lot of amused disdain for the whole issue of animal suffering in comments here which seems to go beyond the question of PETA’s tactics.
    Did anyone actually WATCH the part of the video which followed the stupid part with the milk women?

    Now, on to the cuteness of Twisty’s dog:
    he is adorable.

  43. Hazel Stone

    I’m not a vegetarian, but this is the first I’ve heard of PETA being anti-woman… At least back when I had a working TV, I thought they made a point of having naked men AND women when they did they’re “I’d rather go naked” bit. At least every photo I’ve ever seen of that had both.

  44. mythago

    >As I mentioned before, I sense a lot of amused disdain for the whole issue of animal suffering in comments here which seems to go beyond the question of PETA’s tactics.

    That’s funny. I sense a lot of frantic handwaving to ignore PETA’s tactics because of the issue of animal suffering. Since my guess is as good as yours, I can just as plausibly say that they’ve actually hurt the cause of protecting animals.

    Why do you think people didn’t WATCH the video after the stupid part? Is an advocacy video really effective if people drop out halfway through?

  45. Piig

    I have been veg and an animal rights activist for twenty years. I used to volunteer at Peta headquarters, but eventually the misogynist ad campaigns drove me away. Which is too bad, as it was Peta literature in combination with an article on the Animal Liberation Front that turned me on to animal rights activism in the first place. I resent Ingrid Newkirk and her band of decision makers making a laughing stock of the animal rights movement, and taking women down with them in the process. I resent having to criticize an organization that despite its misogynist faults does help animals in a myriad of ways. I just wish that I could hand Newkirk copies of Carol Adams’s The Sexual Politics of Meat and The Pornography of Meat and have them finally make the connections between misogyny and meat-eating for her.

  46. Princess of Cybermob

    Where I live animal rights aren’t even on the radar. I think it’s incredibly sad that PETA, that seems to have, like Violet Socks said, an agreeable philosophy on animal rights, degrades women at every opportunity. Like Robin points out, animal suffering is real. And something needs to be said and done about it. PETA’s way is not the right way, thats for sure. But please don’t think less of animal rights because of the stupid ads.

  47. mythago

    But please don’t think less of animal rights because of the stupid ads.

    That’s the problem, unfortunately–to people not already somewhat aware of the issues, PETA *is* ‘animal rights’.

  48. anne

    Ok, now I have to weigh in. Maybe I misunderstood you, mythago, but anemia is not caused by vegetarianism. It *can* be caused by a poor diet, but vegetarianism – planned in a healthy way – is not one of those diets. I’ve been a vegetarian for 15 years and have never had any sort of diet-related anemia.

    I am definitely an animal welfare advocate… and I detest the way PETA goes about its work. Instead of contributing to over-the-top shenanigans that turn more people off than on, I donate money to the Humane Society, write letters and make phone calls to my representatives regarding animal welfare issues, and I volunteer here most weekends –

    Bert is lovely, btw. I love goldens!

  49. WookieMonster

    OK, yeah, if you carefuly plan a healty vegetarian diet it can be very healthy, however, how many teenaged girls just getting into vegetarianism actually do the research and plan a healthy diet and how many just stop eating meat?

    I know when I was vegetarian, I tried very hard to do the research and eat healthy, but due to lack of resources I just couldn’t find the information I needed at all, and I ended up starting to eat meat again just so that I would stop getting bruises every time someone touched me. My sister was also vegetarian for many, many years and her boyfriend used to be a vegetarian chef and knew his stuff, but she had to start eating meat when her hair started falling out and even pre-natal vitamins in addition to iron supplements didn’t help. Now she only eats organic family farmed meat, and her health is much better, I don’t see that as a huge problem.

    Don’t take it personally, maybe healthy vegetarianism is a great option for you, but for many different reasons it isn’t possible for some and just isn’t the right choice for everybody.

  50. Chris Clarke

    As I mentioned before, I sense a lot of amused disdain for the whole issue of animal suffering in comments here which seems to go beyond the question of PETA’s tactics.

    If I gave that impression, it was not my intention. I can’t even watch Animal Cops without a box of kleenex.


    I was always very concerned, when I was a vegetarian, about getting enough iron, so I made sure – when possible on a poverty budget – to eat lots of leafy green, and other stuff reputed to contain iron. I was able to avoid anemia, most of the time.

    Although I did change dentists at one point back then, and the new guy took one look in my mouth and looked up at me and asked “are you a vegetarian, by any chance?”

    “Yes, why? Are my gums too white?”

    “No, you just have some tofu stuck here.”

    Kidding! He talked to me about some incipient periodontal problems I was showing which he thought were characteristic of lack of vitamin D and calcium. So more greens for me, and I moved from Buffalo to California so that I could go outside.

    I’m not a vegetarian anymore, in part due to moving in with an expert on Cantonese food 17 years ago and succumbing to the lures of cha siu bao.. I had a wild boar tenderloin the other day that was so damn good that it took all my willpower not to borrow the cell phone at the next table and buy Twisty an emergency plane ticket to San Francisco. But though I may occasionally poke fun at certain conceits of certain vegetarians – like a co-worker who told me I shoud eat salmon instead of beef because it was “lower on the food chain” – I have nothing but respect for the vegan way of life, and may well head back that way someday.

  51. Summer

    I’m sure those things can cause anemia, but I can’t imagine you think these are the only causes…

    Two-years ago, I was unfortunate to suffer with a protracted bout of patriarchy-induced anemia because a dipshit ER-doc-dude insisted for hours that I had gas, despite my insistence that something was really wrong. He even tried to send me home with painkillers.

    Alas, I was bleeding internally–had lost 1000ccs in my belly by the time the female doc finally showed up and wheeled me off to surgery. Had Dr. Dude had his way, I’d have gone home, taken a pain pill, and slept to death.

    So, you see, the patriarchy can cause anemia, too. Just FYI.

  52. mythago

    anne, you did misunderstand me–I never claimed that a lack of meat causes anemia. I was responding to the poster who said that dieting leads to anemia, and that iron supplements are bad for you.

  53. Summer

    My comment above was in response to Chrys T’s assertion:

    “It’s starving yourself or otherwise taking up wacky fad diets (you know, the kind that require you to eat nothing but pineapples or whatever) that leads to problems like anaemia, not being vegetarian or vegan.”

    Thought I had included that in my post–whoops.

  54. rachel

    i’m yet another vegetarian/vegan who seems to be pretty disgusted with PETA’s tactics. i don’t think there’s anything i can add that hasn’t already been said, but i did email PETA a couple of weeks ago with my concerns and this is what i got in response. i just thought you guys would be interested in seeing it – maybe it’d be an idea for more of us to email and register our disapproval.

    Thank you for your email expressing concern about nude activists and
    models. We appreciate the time you took to share your thoughts with us.

    As an organization staffed largely by feminist women, we would not do
    something that we felt contributed to the very serious problems that
    women face. “Naked” demonstrators and billboard models choose to
    participate in our actions because they want to do something to make
    people stop and pay attention. Of course we also feature men in our ads:

    * http://www.PETA.org/pdfs/ADmola.pdf
    * http://www.FurIsDead.com/pdfs/ad-kristoff.pdf
    * http://www.FurIsDead.com/feat-cross.asp

    We believe that people should have the choice to use their own bodies to
    make social statements. This tactic has been used since Lady Godiva rode
    naked on a horse to protest taxes on the poor in the 11th century. If
    people choose to use their bodies or sexuality to convey a message,
    aren’t those who would censor them guilty of repression?

    We feel that there is nothing shameful or “wrong” about being naked.
    Fortunately, we do not live under Taliban rule, and we should not feel
    as though our bodies are something to hide. However, we do believe it
    would be oppressive to imply that it is acceptable for males to
    participate in “naked” events but not females.

    These activists are dedicated to helping foxes who are electrocuted and
    skinned by the millions for the fur industry, calves who are torn from
    their distraught mothers and slaughtered for the meat industry,
    elephants who are beaten bloody and forced to live in chains year after
    year in circuses, and the billions of animals who suffer from torture,
    maddening isolation, starvation, terror, and violent death at the hands
    of uncaring industries.

    We feel that all people should be free to use their minds and bodies as
    political instruments to bring attention to animal suffering, and we
    appreciate any effort to help those who have no voice.

    We respect your right to disagree with our tactics, but we hope that you
    will continue to support projects that you do agree with.

    Thank you for providing us with this opportunity to respond to your
    concern and for all that you do to help animals.

    Kind regards,

    Jamie Anderson, Administrative Assistant

    People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals
    PO Box 36668, London, SE1 1UN
    020 7357 9229 ext. 221

  55. anne

    Sorry for the misunderstanding, mythago!

    And apologies to Twisty for taking over her comments section with my malarkey.

    Entirely unrelated.. I have begun running again as of late, and I have always had some mantra or another that I chant to myself when I’m breathing particularly hard in order to take my mind off the pain – it has become the phrase “I blame the patriarchy” over and over. Yep. I know I’m a dork, but that’s ok.

  56. robin

    I too donate money to the Humane Society, as I think their work is really good. But now it seems that even the Humane Society is not totally pure. They featured that idiot Rick Santorum in a recent newsletter as a supporter of animal rights, and I’m sure most of us know what a jerk he is on gay and lesbian rights issues. What to do??
    Trying to live an ethical life can be complicated!
    As for PETA: Mythago, my guess about the organization’s efficacy was based on reading about how huge fast food companies and clothing retailers were pressured and shamed by PETA into either forcing their suppliers to improve conditions for factory animals or discontinuing fashions involving animal trapping, to name just a couple of examples. These companies had to feel their financial bottom line was at stake before they would make these changes, and it took some serious bullying to do it.
    What was your guess based on?

  57. Txfeminist

    Environmentalism, animal rights, and human rights are all interrelated. In countries such as Burma, you can clearly see that. Where human rights are violated, so the environment is also ravaged. Where the environment is ravaged, human life and animal life is degraded and endangered.

    Earthrights International speaks to this issue far more eloquently than I can.

    I wish PETA would get on the bandwagon. Human dignity and animal rights are deeply connected.


  58. MCH

    Robin: In my mind, if Rick Santorum is pro-animal rights, then why shouldn’t pro-animal rights folks support him on THAT issue? One can continue to oppose him on the rest of his idiotic agenda.

    Methinks that anyone one may support on any issue or issues dear to one’s heart is bound to have something in their lives one will find objectionable/unethical/unacceptable. Santorum’s a somewhat extreme example of this, PETA somewhat less so. Sometimes I wonder if progressives’ need for something close to ethical/ideological purity is detrimental. I think some comprmise is unavoidable. (I’ve had my share of problems with this myself, and I apologize if this came off as harsh, because it’s totally not what I’m trying to do. Just rushing through my typing…)

    Of course, PETA’s being a bit wacked out (as usual, sigh) and that’s definitely bad. They annoy me greatly. Perhaps their tactics stem from thinking America’s brain is off and BS-style Rove-style scare tactics and “Girls Gone Wild” is the only way to get attention. People tend to be turned off by facts and arguments, but respond to emotional manipulation and fear and titillation… And this is “civilization”… bleck.

    Twisty: This blog is excellent. I’m a guy who always thought of myself as enlightened, but I keep learning more about feminism and patriarchy every time I come here. I’ve always agreed with feminism and knew about the patriarchy, but there’s always more angles that I’ve missed… The more insidious stuff goes under my culturally blinded radar (for obvious reasons!)….great writing and great perspectives to be found here. And best of luck with your ongoing health battles! (Oh, and tell Alternet they have an outdated link for you…)

  59. Ms Kate

    In recent times, I think Supersize Me and it’s discussion of human health, meat industry, etc. has done far more than PETA to highlight and address these issues with youth. My husband’s students saw it as part of their religious education and the pizza and burger inhalation stopped cold. My own kids gave up fast food for several months now (we usually only go when we are on the road).

    Mad Cow Disease hasn’t hurt either.

  60. Sharoni

    I have no “amused disdain” for animal rights. My heart bleeds when the issue is brought to my attention. Unfortunately, with all the other things going on, I don’t have time to pay attention to everything. It’s hard that we have to pick and choose causes because there are so many. In this period of time I give my time to homeless and/or battered women and cancer patients, and some time goes for the illiterate. Otherwise I have to earn a living, take care of my family, pack my house, sell my house, move two states away, set up a new house, care for even more family, find new causes to work for, and where do I find time for the animals? I’m afraid all I can do is donate, and not much of that. I blame the patriarchy that there is not enough time in life to take care of everything that needs caring for.

  61. mythago

    What was your guess based on?

    The fact that PETA is not the only group pressing for humane treatment of animals, but the one first to take all the credit. From the huge backlash against animal rights in general from PETA’s behavior.

  62. Chris Clarke

    What mythago said.

    And what’s worse, PETA chooses to ignore completely a far more widespread cruelty against other beings, beings who have no one to defend them, no one who will speak for them – except, that is, for the people who recorded this song.

  63. Ron Sullivan

    Since I’m in a nit-pickin’ mood and there’s no copy to edit, I’ll point out that the photo of a calf that accompanies that site’s flash about how dairy = veal is a shot of a white-faced Hereford, not a dairy cow.

    Wonder how they feel about plant pus?

  64. Burrow

    OK, yeah, if you carefuly plan a healty vegetarian diet it can be very healthy, however, how many teenaged girls just getting into vegetarianism actually do the research and plan a healthy diet and how many just stop eating meat?

    I became a vegetarian at 12 (ethical reasons) and I so did not eat any sort of researched diet, mostly because my family refused to cook me anything other then the usual food, where I would only eat the vegetables. (Lucky for me though my family is Italian, so we ate a lot of pasta anyway.) I survived, without anemia, an active teenage life and sprung into a healthy adult (Veggie for 19 years! WOOT!) I am pleased to say that I have a functioning healthy body. Yeah so I might be a little taller (I’m pretty damn tall) and a little less skinny, but everything works well enough for me to bike everywhere, play water polo, and have what people tell me is an odd amount of energy for someone my age (kids love me.)

    Although if you don’t eat plenty of veggies in teh first place then I could see a problem, I just loved my brussel sprouts (still do.)

    I sent a letter to PETA awhile ago and I got a similar bullshit response. Maybe I can dig it up. Actually, maybe I should write them again and tell them if they don’t stop exploiting women I’ll start eating meat! Maybe that’ll work. (And I won’t btw, I’m veg for life.)

  65. kate

    I remember being introduced to PETA in the eighties, they had literature that focused solely on their issues at hand, not using women’s bodies, but using more or less descriptions and photos of what really happens to animals. I often think about those photos and they definately educated me.

    I guess PETA hasn’t gained enough mileage over the years by showing fur farms or boxed-in veal calves. So they go for entertaining the patriarchy to make their point.

    I fear they won’t get much mileage as those who give the most attention will give little thought beyond, ‘Look at the chic!” or “Shit, I’d love to do her!”

    PETA appears to my observation, to be run by a frat house or possibly Tom Green of sucking udders fame, rather than individuals who have a true thinking argument to offer for their cause.

    And yes, it smacks of the woeful division in our society of most protest groups, who split by the ingrained patriarchal pull of competition and can’t seem to come together and work for a broader common good, with their issues interlinking.

    Reminds me of when I was an activist for poor women’s issues, us, the environmentalists and the gay rights folks were constantly pitted against eachother for funding, media attention or constituencies. None would risk any little peice of the system in power that they had worked so hard to garner in order to assist the other.

    And likewise, none could see how their fighting over crumbs served only the status quo at the expense of all of them.

    PETA is effectively engaging in the same; hogging the trough provided by the patriarchy when in reality if all groups put their strengths together, they could haul their own water and not need the ‘powers that be’.

    PETA has lost its soul.

  66. jennifer

    I have no issue with PETA, ideologically, but I never quite got over ” this ad. That was the end of them getting my money. But I’m not sure why even I was surprised by this — after all, their ads aren’t aimed at people who are able to think. Like all ads. “Look — here’s something you already know — run with it! Girls who don’t shave are BAD!!”

  67. jennifer

    Sorry — this ad.

  68. zuzu

    -not true. PETA have significant campaigns against leather,fur seems higher on their agenda because it is often ‘raised and processed’ in countries where even worse animal rights abuses take place. and none of their objectifying of women (though unacceptable) is because they hate women, it is because our society has developed in a way that if you want people to pay attention to what you’ve got to say, tits work. It’s unfortunate, it should be stopped, but it’s true.

    I would give them a lot more credence on this issue if they were, say, throwing red paint on fur-wearing gangsta rappers instead of elderly socialites. PETA activists recently threw flour on Paris Hilton and a designer who uses a lot of fur. What about P.Diddy? He wears fur. Oh, but he has armed bodyguards.

  69. Julian Elson

    I like this animal welfare ad:


    It was put out by the Humane Farming Association, Animal Rights International, and Animal Welfare Institute. It was humorous (in a sort of ironic, incongruous way), informative, and certainly eye-catching. (it certainly caught my eye when I saw it in the New York Times, with the headline/picture mismatch)

  70. Dustin

    I saw this ad some time back when the ad had supposedly been barred from airing, iirc, during the SUperbowl. What struck me was that, although presented with the long “meat is murder” section online, there was no way they were going to buy a 3-minute commercial slot, especially during the Superbowl; the only part that could have ever been intended to air is the “milk gone wild” part. I simply could not and cannot understand the point of that section. “Girls are hot, girls are hot, girls are hot, whoa! they got udders! Ha!” It’s funny, I suppose, in a “yeah, all breasts are is udders” kinda way, but I fail to see the connection between this and abuses in the dairy industry. And I fail to see how showing this ad will make anyone else, especially the target audience of people who aren’t already sensitive to animal rights issues, any more knowledgable about these abuses or effective in combating them.

    What I do see, however, is the connection between a patriarchal system that says that women are here solely for sexual and visual use by men and a patriarchal system that says that animals are here solely for use by “man”. The dominion over the one is intimitely tied to the dominion over the other. This makes for nice cultural critique, but not PETA advocacy: by perpetuating the consumption of women as sexual objects, they are in effect perpetuating the consumption of animals and animal products as nutritional objects. By perpetuating the disregard for women as thinking, feeling, acting beings, they are in effect perpetuating the disregard for animals as, well, at least as feeling beings.

  71. Kate

    Jamies Anderson of PETA in response the an email: “We feel that all people should be free to use their minds and bodies as political instruments to bring attention to animal suffering, and we appreciate any effort to help those who have no voice.”

    The irony of this statement seems lost on the writer. In the interest of reducing or ending the exploitation of animals who are ‘voiceless’, they further engender and condone the use of and exploitation of women as nameless, faceless and voiceless tools of amusement and pleasure.

    They have completely co-opted to the system that promulgates exploitation of all beings and completely lost their message.

  1. Satellite Heart » Blog Archive » Todays link=a-lisciousness

    […] PETA Has Their Head Up Their Ass at I Blame The Patriarchy The kooky sexbot website where human women flash their udders to show solidarity with milk cows is just another example of why sophomoric “ironic” porn can never be justified in a world in which beauty aspires to truth. It can’t even be justified in a world where “whipped topping” is a food group. […]

  2. feministing

    Holy cows.

    PETA has stooped to a new low. You must check this out. Via I Blame The Patriarchy….

  3. pissed off rants of the day at Buried Voices

    […] I’ve been following the comments section of the post on PETA at I Blame The Patriarchy. [Warning: random ranting follows.] It makes me sick the way PETA objectifies women. It also makes me sick when people rationalize PETA’s objectification of women by saying that animal rights and feminism unrelated issues. Animal rights is not just that issue. For people who really care about animal rights, it’s an issue of compassion, which can’t be so easily compartmentalized. Social justice in general is about compassion, not ideology! You can’t pick and choose to be compassionate on one issue and not compassionate on another, and still be compassionate. Why is it that women are continually on the list of items that can be compromised when the going gets tough, like office supplies and other frills? Why do we feel that it is okay to objectify women and make sexist jokes in any situation, for any cause? […]

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