Posts Written by Subhra

PETA, the greater good, and the dispensable woman

A couple of months back People for Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA), the animal rights group, announced its plan to launch a porn website that will also feature cruelty to animals. The connection between pornography and animal rights may seem far-fetched to some, but not to those aware of PETA’s campaign methods. It uses celebrity nudes and partial-nudes to promote awareness on vegetarianism and cruelty to animals. The celebrities who strip for PETA are usually women.

I am a vegetarian, having struggled for several years to give up meat before I could give it up. I gave in many times. Much as killing and cruelty bothered me, it was hard to give up meat when I loved its taste so much. A life event, together with the health benefits of vegetarianism was what made it stick for me ultimately. Naked women, with their perfect bodies strategically covered with vegetables did not figure into the equation at all – one way or another. But they did often make me wonder if women figure below animals in PETA’s hierarchy of life forms.

Even as I noticed the objectification of women in the campaigns, I also noticed that these apparently empowered women with voices and visibility did not mind being thus objectified. Many of them posed for free. Women who wouldn’t do it for the Playboy magazine did it for PETA. So while news of PETA’s new porn venture did not come as a ...