So PETA used women dressed as “sexy pilgrims” to hand out fake turkeys and advertise against the eating of meat last week. With that piled up on the naked ads and the general use of sex in their advertising, I’ve started to wonder if PETA has any faith in their own message. If their message is truly worthwhile and important, shouldn’t PETA be able to sell it without selling the sex as well? Now, I know these women (and men, but I’m going to focus on women here) had a choice. They were paid and came to work of their own free will. But does that make PETA’s tactics ethical or any less pathetic? No- essentially, I see this constant use of sex as PETA saying women are less important than animals. If some degradation sells their message, why not.
As a young mom, technically millennial (though most of the time I refuse to claim my own generation- see Nicole’s post for reasons), and blogger I’m often drawn into debates on the “freedom” of women in today’s society. I use quotes because compared to our ancestors and many women in countries around the world, we’re damn lucky here in the good ol’ USA. We have to right to education, religious, freedom, and the ability to run our lives according to our own desires. I truly believe that feminism means that women can choose whatever they please as an occupation house wife, mom, dancer, politician, scientist, awesome geek blogger.
However, I’ve noticed a disturbing trend with the millennial generation this freedom is being interpreted to mean literally ANYTHING. Walk down the street practically naked and scream harassment if someone looks at you? Sure. Use degrading terms to refer to yourself, but flip out every time someone else says it back to you? Why not. The concept of responsibility and moderation have been lost on the babies of the ‘80s. Just because you can do something, doesn’t mean you should. Just because sex sells, doesn’t mean you should be in the business of selling it.
Now, I don’t have a problem with PETA’s base message. I eat meat and wear fur and leather, but I respect those who choose not to. Other people’s choices in no way diminish my own, nor do they threaten my way of life. It’s their methods that I object to. The devaluing of an entire gender through advertising does threaten all women. We are constantly screaming about not wanting to be objects- we’re people, we’re equal we deserve respect. And that’s true. But that respect isn’t free. We have to take responsibility as women to protect ourselves. Dress and act how you want to be treated. If you want attention dress for it. If you want to blend into a brick wall, I have a great Shakespeare costume for you.
And you men out there? Act like the gentlemen you hopefully are. We’ll all be better off.