Monday, July 19, 2010

I am offended by this ad

The Toronto Star reports (and rather gleefully, I should add) that the following ad "is a tad too sexy — even for the famously sultry City of Montreal":

Apparently, a city official calls the advertisement sexist and "not something Montreal could endorse".

Montreal, people.

In Pammy's words:

"In a city that is known for its exotic dancing and for being progressive and edgy, how sad that a woman would be banned from using her own body in a political protest over the suffering of cows and chickens. In some parts of the world, women are forced to cover their whole bodies with burqas -- is that next? I didn't think that Canada would be so puritanical."

You obviously have your own opinion about whether this ad is sexist, smut, or "you GO girl" empowerment. But it's pretty damn tame for PETA, who have at other times shown the Canadian ex-pat topless and in a lettuce bikini. They show skin, someone gets mad, people talk about it, and PETA gets the attention it so desperately craves. Old story.

In fact, the most offensive part of this whole tale is how hackneyed the ad concept is. Real live PETA protesters have been doing this one — in a far more daring way — for years.

UPDATE: Interesting note from PETA regarding their use of naked women in ads (via @Treehugger):

"First, please know that PETA isn't using women's bodies. Women are using their own bodies. The women who use their bodies as political tools do so willingly and gladly, and they don't like to be told to cover up by other women who don't agree with their choices. They feel that they have the right to express themselves in this way, and they don't want some women dictating and criticizing them for how much skin they wish to show any more than women who lived during the early days of feminism and before wanted men to tell them to cover up.

As for PETA, we recognize the simple fact that there's a lot of competition for consumers' attention, so we are creative and provocative in order to make sure that people do turn around and stare and then learn something about the cruel industries that we fight. Our activists and celebrity supporters gladly use their bodies as a sure-fire way to draw attention to how animals are exploited. The women are not exploited--they are happy to participate in a social cause. They show about as much flesh as you might see at the beach. They are proud to be able to use their bodies for a good purpose--to draw attention to the suffering of elephants who are beaten bloody and forced to live in chains and to the plight of other animals who endure torture, isolation, terror, and violent death. And it works--Olivia Munn's participation in our anti-circus campaign prompted more than 300 clothed people to participate in our protest against Ringling Bros. at the Staples Center in Los Angeles last week.

As an organization headed and founded by a woman and staffed largely by feminist women, PETA knows about the serious problems that women face, both here in the U.S. and in countries where women are forced to cover up and shut up. Impassioned individuals have been "going naked" since Lady Godiva protested taxes. We believe that all people should be free to use their minds and bodies as political instruments."

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