Carol Adams will be at MooShoes on Thursday, September 16th at 7pm to celebrate the 20th anniversary of her ground-breaking book The Sexual Politics of Meat: A Feminist-Vegetarian Critical Theory. She’ll be discussing and signing copies of the new edition of the book.
Speaking of, I couldn’t help but notice that Pamela Anderson’s recent Peta ad–the one that was banned in Canada-–looks so darn similar to the cover of The Sexual Politics of Meat. I know the Canadians got hot and bothered about it (a Montreal official explained that the city’s decision was based on being pro-equality, not puritanical) but the image wasn’t all that shocking in my opinion–more a riff on the book cover. So I thought I’d check in with Carol and PETA and get their takes on the ad.
The ad in question
Regarding the book cover: it is misogynistic. It is a (male) fantasy about metaphorical sexual butchering of women.
Regarding the poster: actually, I have never seen anyone point out [that the Pam ad riffs on the book's cover image]. While many things could be said–that this image is misogynistic, that this image is an anti-homage to The Sexual Politics of Meat, a sort of “f you” to all feminist-vegans who have been saying, for gee, almost 40 years, that meat eating arises from and exists with a patriarchal world and we can’t end meat eating if we don’t challenge the patriarchal world view, here is a different, vegan-based response, a vegan challenge to a vegan organization: what vegan do you know thinks of animals like this, a living animal divided into parts of (future) meat? PETA, if your goal is to create a vegan world, why sexualize body parts and make them enticing? Why not either tell the truth (body parts are muscle and bone, bleeding) or show the animal her or himself and let the animal represent her need to be seen as individual, not as fragmented body parts? I don’t expect anything feminist to arise from PETA institutionally (the proclamations from women like Ingrid to the contrary that they are women and thus they are feminist). But shouldn’t we as vegans, expect PETA to represent a vegan consciousness?
Dan Matthews, Senior VP, PETA:
The iconic butcher’s diagram showing how animals are dismembered for their various cuts of meat was an ideal thing to parody. It allows us to focus on the how animals and humans have so much in common. As the ad says, “we all have the same parts – have a heart and go vegetarian.” Within 3 days of the ad being released PETA received over 800 requests for our vegetarian starter kits, so we consider the ad a huge success.
I guess it’s time for me to revisit Carol’s book and get a refresher course–the larger issues at hand are no doubt still relevant. But if Pam Anderson wants to speak up for animals and chooses to use nudity to express herself and her ideals, perhaps it’s patriarchal to ask her to put her clothes back on when this is how she’s comfortable exposing (oops, I mean expressing) herself.