Surprise, surprise. PETA — whose previous nude babe campaigns have shown that they have more of an interest in saving animals rather than promoting gender equality for humans — have really outdone themselves with their latest campaign. A billboard placed in Jacksonville, Florida reads “Save the Whales. Lose the Blubber: Go Vegetarian” next to a drawing of an overweight woman in a bikini. This campaign has really nailed two of the advertising industry’s favorite prescriptions for lazy concepts: puns and sexism. And let’s not even get into the fact that “save the whales” is completely the opposite of PETA’s supposed “lose weight” message. I guess when PETA’s founder and president Ingrid Newkirk isn’t penning books about throwing pointless parties for puppies, she is inspiring her team to come up with genius ad campaigns. A thousand One Shows for PETA, please!
The billboard has already been appropriately labeled as “fat-shaming” but let’s not ignore the sexism in the campaign. Women are overly concerned with their body-image (as they should be, PETA is saying) and the only way they would take a cause like vegetarianism on is if they were told that it would help them lose weight. Considering that PETA is notorious for putting nude, skinny, pretty and often silicone-enhanced female celebrities in their ads it is plainly obvious that they are not only riding on a the wave of an unrealistic and unhealthy body image for women, but they are promoting it. Why do the women in PETA’s ads have to be nude and often accompanied by sexually provocative puns in the ad copy? What does being naked and sexual have to do with a vegetarian lifestyle? PETA is famous for using women’s sexualized bodies as a way to promote animal rights. And how committed to animal rights could an organization be if they just want to attract people who are interested in mimicking famous porn stars or are only interested in losing weight? Vegetarianism and veganism is more than fad diets, they are complete lifestyles that require a lot of dedication. Considering that most people don’t stick to diets (or at least that is what I guess by seeing all the fad diet books and tips there are out there) you would think that PETA wouldn’t even bother marketing to the people to whom fad diets would be appealing.
But, again, I guess actually promoting animal rights instead of promoting celebrities and an unhealthy body image for women isn’t really what PETA is all about. So go ahead with your idiotic and tired PR stunts, PETA, while you alienate the non-celebrities who would have considered joining your organization! We will all just stay back here and eat a steak in your honor.