Heavy Petting: PETA Compares Teen Girls to Unneutered Animals
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PETA has always caught flak for its publicity campaigns, which often seem to elevate the wellbeing of animals above the wellbeing of women. In the eighties the organization got tons of media attention by flinging blood at women in fur coats; they also earned criticisms from feminist groups for not dishing out the same treatment to men wearing leather. More recently PETA has earned the ire of feminists for using pornographic images of women to push their agenda as well as for their recurrent and ever-tasteful campaigns comparing women to livestock.
The animal rights group is certain to grab headlines with their new ad, which calls attention to the importance of neutering pets by parodying the parental sex talk. The ad opens with a surly teen girl sighing loudly as her parents plant themselves on her bed wearing "We need to talk about sex" expressions.
Mom: Honey, we need to talk ...
Dad: ... about sex. We think you should be having it sweetie.
Mom: A lot of it.
Dad: Get out there and nail everything you can!
[ ... ]
Teen girl: What if I get pregnant?"
Dad: So what? You should pop out all the kids you want! We can leave them in the shelter, dump them out in the street ... it's really not important.
The ad closes with, "Parents shouldn't act this way. Neither should people with dogs and cats."
The ad is really well-made and funny; it also does a great job skewering our weird, schizophrenic discomfort with teen sexuality. Another plus is that at no point is the girl entrapped, naked, in a cage, a la previous PETA efforts to shed light on animal cruelty. All in all it is not as offensive as it could be: way to go PETA, for putting out an ad that doesn't involve the symbolic slaughter of women.
Tana Ganeva is an editorial assistant at AlterNet.