Can I stand on your face? Is it ok for social advocates to shit on each other?

PETA (People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals) rose to promenance in 1981 when they were successful in getting the first conviction of an animal tester on the basis of cruelty to animals. Since then they have been involved in cases and campaigns as diverse as convincing McDonalds to introduce animal treatment standards and new training regulations introduced in the US for entertainment animals. I’m not here to talk about the good of what PETA has done for animal welfare however, I’m here to discuss whether or not it’s ok for one social advocate to kick another social advocate in the face, to achieve their own goals. Whose face is PETA kicking right now? Well us, feminists.

For some time now PETA has been using nudity in its campaigning. Starting with the “I’d rather go naked than wear fur” project, it has increasingly used the sexualisation of its models, not just their nudity, to garner support, particularly with one of its most high profile supporters, Pamela Anderson. Anderson has been involved in a number of PETA campaigns, most notably the “all animals have the same parts” project which pictured Anderson in a bikini and a sexualised pose with her body segmented like an old fashioned butchers diagram. This was just the start however, earlier this week PETA announced its plan to launch a fully fledged porn site, with an animal rights flavour.

So, is it ok for one social activism campaign to shit all over another social activism campaign just to get hits? Should the animal rights activists be using the sexual objectification of women for their own benefit, effectively stamping all over feminist and women’s rights campaigners in the process? Continue reading