Skip to content

Twilight’s Abstinence Porn Morphs into Activist Porn (re: Christian Serratos nude PETA ad)

November 10, 2009

PETA, or People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals, has an ugly habit of sexualizing women in its campaigns (as in their latest ad of Twilight‘s Christian Serratos below). Yes, she is gorgeous, and yes, we can assume she was a “willing” model for the ad (as willing as corporate capitalist patriarchy allows her to be…). But, why must women and PETA bare it all for questionable attention grabbing purposes? I am aware people are judged based on appearance (and women more so than men) but I question exploiting our celebrity obsessions in the name of activist causes. Yes, this ad will turn heads. Yes, it will likely oomph Serratos’ celebrity status in the short run. But, in the long run, it will not turn more people into animal rights activists or make them care about the mistreatment of animals — rather, it is more likely to arouse their less, um, political desires…

I also wonder how many of the women posing nude for PETA do so as they can “get away with it” because it’s for a cause? While sex workers, strippers, nude models, etc, are regularly derided as “slutty” or “immoral,” does posing in the buff for PETA function as “activist porn”?

Instead of PETA’s regular trade in nudity for a cause, I think they should join forces with a group just formed by my dog and cats– AFEW, or Animals For the Ethical Treatment of Women.

Here are my cats, suffering from headaches after viewing the new Christian Serratos image:

cats

MeOWWW, my head hurts now.

As female felines who love fur, they nevertheless were insulted by the suggestion that sexualizing women is ok (Madeline, the one on the right, named after Roald Dahl’s feisty feminist character) was further appalled that the picture was an obvious attempt to advertise for the New Moon release, while Matilda (on the left) felt the woman pictured could really use a sandwich…

As for my dog Eloise, this is what she looked like before seeing the latest PETA ad:

ellie

Happy go lucky!

This is her after, sad and pensive and wondering why a group that claims to care about all animals does not care about female human animals…

CIMG1784

So sad...

Capitalizing on female nudity is a norm for PETA, as regularly and brilliantly noted by Renee of Womanist Musings. As she writes of PETA, “exploiting women is their stock and trade.”

Posting a number of their ads, including ones of women in cages and wrapped in saran and labeled as meat, Renee asks:

What more evidence could possibly be needed of PETA’S willingness to exploit women to send their message about animal cruelty. It says that they believe that the only purpose women have in this movement is to supply the tits and ass.  These images are demeaning and reductive.

The ethical treatment of animals is a very important cause, but so is the ethical treatment of women. Commodifying and sexualizing women’s bodies is not something I can support – especially when the organization doing it would NEVER run a similar ad of a male body!!!!  I love animals – human, dog, canine, feline, etc – but I don’t agree that the end justifies the means in PETA’s case. They need to find better ways to spread their message – ways that do not rely on the unethical exploitation of women and that reify the message that only certain types of women (thin, large breasted, caucausion features, no body hair…) are beautiful…

As a side note, I wonder what Meyer thinks of the ad… I assume posing nude is not in keeping with her Mormon belief.

5 Comments leave one →
  1. Angela permalink
    November 16, 2009 6:16 pm

    Thanks, Natalie, for your insightful and, I think, correct assessment of the dubious ethics of campaigns that exploit one group in the name of protecting another. I am an ardent supporter of animals, but also of people. I’ve often wondered if ad campaigns like this one actually are counterproductive to their cause because they undermine the credibility of the organization–for every person who is drawn to an ad like this, are five so put off by its sexploitation that they turn away from a good cause? So I join you, Madeline, Matilda, and Eloise in supporting AFEW–and more importantly, so does my cat, Dusty :-)

    • natalie wilson permalink*
      November 20, 2009 5:41 am

      Thanks Angela! We welcome Dusty with open paws and claws!!!

  2. infamousqbert permalink
    January 20, 2010 9:20 pm

    AFEW already has a pin! i have one!!

    http://www.etsy.com/view_listing.php?listing_id=35650799

    • natalie wilson permalink*
      January 21, 2010 4:13 pm

      Whoa! How cool is that?!? Thanks for alerting me!

  3. Zoe permalink
    December 18, 2010 6:58 am

    Wait, Madeline is named after Roald Dahl’s feisty female character, not Mathilda?

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

Follow

Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 115 other followers

%d bloggers like this: