Posted by: hellonhairylegs | June 15, 2009

Using Women’s Bodies to Sell Noble Causes

Take a look at these photos:

(h/t to The Dawn Chorus. Miranda Kerr supporting the No Tree, No Me Foundation/ koalas.)

(h/t to everyone on the feminist blogosphere on PETA’s shenanigans, in this case feministing. PETA regularly gets women to strip for vegetarianism and anti-fur campaigns.)

(Jessica Alba in a Declare Yourself campaign urging Americans to vote)

Need I say more? I don’t, but I want to anyway.

[Beauty norms. These women are all thin, white (or whitened) and conventionally attractive. The whole “Women are restrained, and isn’t that so terrible AND SEXY?” with a side serving of “We’re not normalising or sexualising violence against women, it’s for a cause!” In the case of the Miranda Kerr shoot, buying a magazine as a bulwark against the guilt of not actually doing anything. The mindset behind these ideas. All of them boil down to, “Look at the pretty woman. You do good thing, you get to fuck her.” This may actually work in the short term, but in the long term all it does is emphasis women’s status as the one who gets fucked.]




  1. As a young vegetarian, I gave up on PETA pretty quickly. Even back in the early 90’s they were pretty sexist and terrible. In the past few years, they seem to have gone totally off the rails though.

    It is especially shitty because, sadly, they are the face of animal rights in America. At my new job this year I was CONFRONTED with ____ and ___ that PETA had done and trying to explain that they do not speak for me in any way, shape, or form didn’t work out so good.

    I really feel like veganism and feminism are very much intwinded in my own values. I am saddened that the face of animal rights in America is such a shitty misogynistic association.

  2. Of course, Jessica Alba identifies as Hispanic, not white – but she’s thoroughly whitened in that picture! I keep wondering why PETA (among others) use these tactics to attract women, but then I think that these thin, blonde, white women are meant to be “aspirational” for the rest of us!

  3. Dale, it often seems to be that “progressive” groups try to go mainstream by stepping on everyone else.

    Lilac, that bears thinking about. Way back when for me it was more a competition thing.

  4. Great call with that Jessica Valenti book cover too!

  5. Peta make me ashamed to be a vegetarian.
    But you know. Women and nature. They’re synonymous. Especially naked women and nature. We’re just such animals.

    God damn, I wish you could see sarcasm on the internet.

  6. @dalenixonisasexual “Great call with that Jessica Valenti book cover too”.

    Totally agreed. What is the deal with that cover?

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