Fifty Shades of Chicken

TRIGGER WARNING: Contains graphic descriptions of rape and violence against women and other animals.

NOT SAFE FOR WORK: Contains graphic sexual language and disturbing images of violated animals.

Roasted chicken corpse bound in twine

Vegan feminists argue that oppression is intersectional. In particular, the ways in which women are exploited and harmed are very similar to the ways in which other animals are. A shining example of this intersection is found in Fifty Shades of Chicken, a cookbook that parodies Fifty Shades of Grey (a best selling novel which glamorizes submissive sexuality and violence against women).  Fifty Shades of Chicken, a book “for chicken lovers everywhere,” takes this disturbing subject matter to another level of degradation.

Throughout the book, a chicken’s body is used to replace that of a woman, and she is referred to as “Chicken” or “Miss Hen.”  The choice of “chicken” was not accidental.  Chickens eaten by humans are almost always female.  The body parts of chickens (breasts, legs, thighs) are often applied to that of human women, and human women are often called “birds,” “chicks,” “chickens,” or “hens.”

The cookbook features several images of a muscled, shirtless man dominating a chicken’s corpse with weapons, kitchen utensils, and binding (twine). In one image he is shown sodomizing her with an upright roasting device.  In others, he is shown penetrating her with a baster and shoving cream into her bottom with his fingers.  Most of the photographs of the finished “product” show the bird’s body splayed and ravaged.  She is posed pornographically to mimic a defiled human woman.

Man in an apron firmly places a chicken's corpse onto a funnel

The chef known as “Blades” sodomizes “Miss Hen” with the “erect member” of a vertical roaster.

The recipe titles are also disturbing:

  • “Popped-Cherry Pullet”
  • “Extra-Virgin Chicken”
  • “Please Don’t Stop Chicken”
  • “Jerked Around Chicken”
  • “Mustard Spanked Chicken”
  • “Cream-Slicked Chick”
  • “Chile-Lashed Fricassee”
  • “Skewered Chicken”
  • “Steamy White Meat”
  • “Bacon Bound Wings”
  • “Dripping Thighs”
  • “Thighs Spread Wide”
  • “Chicken Thighs Stirred Up and Fried Hard”
  • “Red Cheeks”
  • “Pound Me Tender”

And my favorite:

  • “Hog-Tied and Porked Chicken”

It is a regular smorgasbord of entangled oppression, violence, sexism, and speciesism.

These recipes are inextricably representative of rape culture.  Sexualized violence is presented as normative, the female body is objectified as a passive recipient of male desire and aggression, and the obligatory obsession with virginity and female purity is highlighted.

Shirtless, heavily-muscled man prepares to bind a chicken's corpse on a cutting board

Chapter Two, “Chicken Parts and Bits,” literally reenacts the fragmentation of the female body into consumable pieces which are wholly divorced from the person they once belonged to.  This objectification erases personhood and makes exploitative consumption all the more palatable.

The recipe instructions also entail graphic violence, domination, and control:

Much pleasure and satisfaction is to be had from tying up your bird.  Not only does it show your chicken who’s boss, but a tight binding ensures the chicken cooks exactly how you want it–evenly, moist, and tender.  It also closes off the chicken’s cavity, so the juices swelling within can’t spill out, at least not until you’re ready for them.  (p. 34)

Using large, strong kitchen shears and a confident hand, forcefully cut the backbone out of the chicken; first cut along one side of the backbone, then cut along the other side until it releases, then pull it out.  Gently spread the bird open, pressing down on the breast to flatten it (see Learning the Ropes).  Massage the flesh with 1 1/2 teaspoon of salt. (p. 116)

Position the chicken’s nether parts over the vertical roaster’s erect member and thrust the bird down.  Tuck her wing tips up behind her wings, behind her body.  Tie her legs together with a piece of butcher’s twine or cooking bands […] (p. 120)

It reads like a manual for serial killing.

Several gruesome pornographic narratives were included to preface the recipes and work the reader up into a hot bother for the pleasurable consumption awaiting them.  Take this example from “Backdoor Beer-Can Chicken”:

‘Hush,’ he says.  He smile and holds up a beer can.

‘Yes, baby, have a drink, I’m sure you need it.’

‘Oh, no, this is not for me, Chicken.’  He quirks his mouth into a wicked smile.

Holy f***…Will it?  How?

I gasp as he fills me with its astonishing girth.  The feeling of fullness is overpowering.

He rests me on the grill and I can feel the entire world start to engorge.  Desire explodes in my cavity like a hand grenade. (p. 137)

Or this story from “Flattered Breasts”:

Suddenly he seizes me and lays me out on the counter, claiming me hungrily.  His fingers pull me taut, the palms of his hands grinding my soft white meat into the hard granite, trapping me.  I feel him.  His stomach growls, and my mind spins as I acknowledge his craving for me.

‘Why must you always challenge me?’ he murmurs breathlessly.

‘Because I can.’ My pulse throbs painfully.

He grabs a fistful of kosher salt.

‘I’m going to season you now.’

‘Yes.’  My voice is low and heated.

He reaches for a rolling pin, then hesitates, looking at me.

‘Yes, please, Chef,’ I moan.

The first blow of the rolling pin jolts me but leaves behind a delicious warm feeling.

‘I.  Will. Make.  You.  Mine.’  he says between blows. (p. 62)

These narratives often present the chicken’s corpse as a willing accomplice. This is quite telling, given that she was beheaded and drained of blood days before she arrived in this man’s kitchen under saran wrap. This narrative of willingness is ubiquitous in rape cases and pornography. Even girls and women who are drugged or unconscious are frequently considered “willing.” It is therefore not surprising that a decapitated corpse, in the case of Miss Hen, is depicted as consenting.

As with other females, Miss Hen’s sexuality is strictly controlled and meant only for male entitlement. The relationship of domination that makes consent an impossibility, privileges men, and leaves women and Nonhuman Animals in a position of subservience is obscured.  Instead this chicken is “free-range,” implying that she has a choice in the matter.

What is worse, these actions are supposedly done out of “love” and for her pleasure.  It is not enough that women and Nonhuman Animals submit to male superiority, they must also be seen as enjoying their subjugation.  If the consumer was made aware of the immense suffering that lies beneath the surface of pornography, prostitution, exotic dancing, dairy, “meat,” “leather,” zoos, horse racing etc., the pleasure of that consumption would be challenged.  Previously unexamined oppression would come to light. What a buzz kill.

This book takes the male fantasy of ultimate control over a humiliated, submissive woman to its full fruition.  Men cannot legally coerce women into obliging sex slaves through force and fear.  They cannot legally fragment women into their body parts, strip them of their identity and self-efficacy, or pulverize and consume their bodies for sexual gratification (though more men than we like to admit do).  However, men can have the next best thing–they can humiliate, torture, dismember, and objectify a female Nonhuman Animal for pleasure. He can molest her, sodomize her, rape her, bind her, break her, “pork” her, and “slick” her with cream to the point of physical arousal and salivation.

Whether the victim is human or nonhuman, the script is the same. Control over the vulnerable is sexualized; domination and power is hot stuff.  And it’s completely legal, with full support from a patriarchal society.

He continues to fondle my liver with his fingertips until I can’t stand it.

He gently places my quivering offal into a skillet where some softened onions are waiting for me.  Holy f****** s***…we’re cooking in the middle of a party?  Everyone’s mingling and chatting, but I am not paying attention.  He stirs my insides with a deft wooden spoon, around and around [ . . . ] (p. 103)

As traumatizing as this book is on its own, what is perhaps most upsetting is the complete lack of criticism from the general public. The book racks up rave reviews by Amazon users who are beside themselves with laughter, folks who can’t get over just how darn clever this book is.  Violence against women and Nonhuman Animals is often trivialized, masked by humor, downplayed, and made more or less invisible…but surely, the triggering offensiveness of this book could not be ignored?  Not so. At the time of this writing, Fifty Shades of Chicken enjoys a whopping 5 out of 5 stars on Amazon.

The message could not be clearer:

Women=Nonhuman Animals=Sexualized=Dominated=Meat=Objects of Pleasurable Consumption

and

Nonhuman Animals=Feminized=Sexualized=Dominated=Meat=Objects of Pleasurable Consumption

. . . and apparently this is a hoot.

 


This essay was based on the work of vegan feminist Carol Adams.  For more information, check our her comments on Fifty Shades of Chicken posted on her blog.  See also the book’s promotional video on YouTube depicting a bird’s corpse being bound and cooked by an imposing looking  man accompanied by music and narration intended to convince the audience that the assault is “sexy.”

An adaption of this essay was published in 2013 in Relations: Beyond Anthropocentrism 2 (1): 135-139.

You can read more about intersections of sexism and speciesism in A Rational Approach to Animal Rights: Extensions in Abolitionist Theory (Palgrave 2016).


Corey Lee WrennDr. Wrenn is the founder of Vegan Feminist Network. She is a Lecturer of Sociology with Monmouth University, council member with the Animals & Society Section of the American Sociological Association, and an advisory board member with the International Network for Social Studies on Vegetarianism and Veganism with the University of Vienna. She was awarded Exemplary Diversity Scholar 2016 by the University of Michigan’s National Center for Institutional Diversity. She is the author of A Rational Approach to Animal Rights: Extensions in Abolitionist Theory.

whyveganism.com

How Farmers are Making Dairies Sexy for Men’s Health

Young white woman naked in a wheel barrow; she is covered in hay and wearing very large pump red heels

Macra na Feirme, a farmer’s association in Ireland, is creating a pornographic calendar to raise awareness about mental health problems and suicide in the farming community, particularly that of young men.

This project is gendered, as pornography predominantly involves the display of women’s bodies, while farming is masculinized. Women are the objects on display, while men are the subjects of concern.

Advertisement for Macra; A pair of legs and the top of a skirt is visible, a woman is sitting on a bail of hay in high heels

Calendar sales will go to the mental health non-profit Walk In My Shoes

What is interesting is that the campaign seeks to challenge unrealistic masculine gender roles (which discourage boys and men with depression from seeking help or admitting weakness), and yet those same roles are protected by framing the campaign in clear scripts of patriarchal dominance.

Importantly, the centering of men’s experiences also makes invisible the multitude of research that shows clear correlations between the sexual objectification of women and women’s higher rates of depression, anxiety, and self-harm, as well as lower rates of self image and self efficacy.

But more is going on in these images–we’re also seeing the romanticization and sexualization of speciesism. In one image, the Rose of Kilkenny (Ireland’s version of Miss America), poses seductively with a milking device. An instrument of torture for the Nonhuman Animals involved, but a very naturalized symbol of power, domination, and the pleasurable consumption of the female body for humans who interpret the image.

Woman in red high heels with legs exposed holds a milking device in the middle of a dairy, with the back ends of cows lined up on the machines visible in the background

What’s also made invisible is the relationship between mental health and participation in systemic violence against the vulnerable. Yes, the campaign seeks to bring attention to the emotional challenges associated with farming, but no connection is being made to the relationship between hurting others and the hurt one experiences themselves. Slaughterhouse workers, for instance, are seriously psychologically impacted by the killing and butchering they must engage. Dairy workers, too, are paying a psychological price for their participation. This isn’t just about “farming” in general, this is about speciesist practices in particular. Speciesism hurts us all: Nonhuman Animals in particular, male farmers as a consequence, and women who are objectified and hurt in a society where the exploitation of feminized vulnerable groups is normalized.

Indeed, I find it interesting that, for women who want to participate in a social movement, the “go to” response is so often to get naked or make pornography. It is a powerful statement about the gender hierarchy in our society and the limited and often disempowering choices available to women. Ultimately, it speaks to a considerable limitation on our social justice imagination.

 

Thank you to our Hungarian contributor Eszter Kalóczkai for bringing attention to this story.


Corey Lee WrennMs. Wrenn is the founder of Vegan Feminist Network and also operates The Academic Abolitionist Vegan. She is a Lecturer of Sociology with Monmouth University, a part-time Instructor of Sociology and Ph.D. candidate with Colorado State University, council member with the Animals & Society Section of the American Sociological Association, and an advisory board member with the International Network for Social Studies on Vegetarianism and Veganism with the University of Vienna. She was awarded the 2016 Exemplary Diversity Scholar by the University of Michigan’s National Center for Institutional Diversity. She is the author of A Rational Approach to Animal Rights: Extensions in Abolitionist Theory (2015, Palgrave Macmillan).

Vegans Must Watch Pornography

Content Warning/Not Safe for Work: Some description of violent pornography.

Movie poster for "Hot Girls Wanted." Girl curled up on a hotel bed, wearing only underwear and children's stockings to the knee. She is hiding her face.

By Professor Corey Lee Wrenn

I finally had the opportunity (and courage) to watch the new documentary, Hot Girls Wanted this afternoon. It is about the exploitation of teen girls in America in an industry that is known as “amateur porn” (a form of legal prostitution and sex trafficking). The film follows the short careers of some of these girls (I call them girls consciously because they are just barely out of childhood and it is this immaturity that is specifically exploited), documenting their experiences through their own words. Though the liberal position on pornography is that it is a “live and let live,” “freely chosen,” form of “employment,” the film really forces us to question how we can apply these neutralizing descriptions to what is essentially the highly violent, degrading, poorly paid, and high-risk exploitation of teenagers.

It is a form of employment that hurts, lacks protection, and is devoid of security or benefits. The average career is only a few months, and girls have to pay to play. After paying rent to their pimp (or “agent”) and purchasing lingerie, hair and nails, STD testing, Plan-B emergency contraceptives, trips to the emergency room, etc., there is almost nothing left. What this means is that earning a living in this “industry” is impossible for most (girls and women that is, as men profit considerably). As the girls become “spent” in the industry and the returns dry up, they must resort to increasingly dangerous sex acts to remain in the game.

While the idea of true consent existing in this industry is always suspect, sometimes the girls who “choose” to do particular scenes change their minds once the abuse begins, but they are either too pressured or frightened to say “no.” The power differential between impoverished teenage girls and older male business owners and bosses, while already significant, is amplified considerably when sex, cameras, and contracts are involved.

The film does not contain as much disturbing imagery as does The Price of Pleasure, but it did share a number of scenes “starring” (a euphemism) some of the girls in the documentary, which, for all intents and purposes, appear to depict violent rape and assault. New to me, there is an increasingly popular theme in pornography known as “facial abuse.” In this genre, a teenager’s mouth is penetrated so violently while her head is beaten and yanked about that she will cry and throw up. Sometimes she is forced to eat the vomit on her hands and knees. All the while she is demeaned with misogynistic insults.

There are hundreds of films like this. One such scene included in the film featured a college student who introduced herself as a student majoring in feminist studies so that the male audience could masturbate to the fantasy of raping a woman back into her place and brutalizing her as punishment for advocating for liberation and peace. In addition to being gagged with a forced blow job, she is choked and slammed–screaming–into the floor.

The skyrocketing level of violence in pornography is no accident. As in many “free market” capitalist enterprises, there is a no holds barred race to the bottom, and the vulnerable pay the price.

The parallels between the treatment of vulnerable women in our society and the treatment of other animals cannot be denied. One of the girls in the documentary even points this out herself, explaining that she and others in the industry are treated like “meat.”  This is why vegans must “watch” pornography. We must keep an eye on its influence, its role in society, and its ability to shape human attitudes and behaviors.

In a world where we excuse this type of behavior against women as “normal” and even “natural,” in a world where approximately 80% of men tune into pornography such as that described here on a regular basis, we cannot expect anyone to take seriously the violence against Nonhuman Animals for pleasurable consumption. Veganism can never succeed in a pornified world. Pornography must be on our radar because pornography is the script of oppression. Any vegan worth their weight in salt must take issue with the status of women. At the root of it all is the neoliberal infiltration of society, the capitalist bottom-line. It is a structure that puts all vulnerable, feminized bodies in peril.

 


Corey Lee WrennMs. Wrenn is the founder of Vegan Feminist Network and also operates The Academic Abolitionist Vegan. She is a part-time instructor of Sociology and graduate student at Colorado State University, a full-time Lecturer of Sociology with Monmouth University, a council member with the Animals & Society Section of the American Sociological Association, and an advisory board member with the International Network for Social Studies on Vegetarianism and Veganism with the University of Vienna. In 2015, she was awarded Exemplary Diversity Scholar by the University of Michigan’s National Center for Institutional Diversity. She is the author of A Rational Approach to Animal Rights: Extensions in Abolitionist Theory.

Demande-t-on le Respect et la Justice ? Ou juste des chamailleries ?

Content Warning:  Discute de pornographie et de sexisme
Not Safe for Work:  Contient du langage grossier et des sujets explicitement sexuels

Translation by Christophe Hendrickx. See more French translations of critical vegan essays by grassroots activists by visiting his blog, La Pilule Rouge. The original English version of this essay can be found by clicking here.

 

By Corey Lee Wrenn, M.S., A.B.D. Ph.D.

PETA a posté sur Vegan Feminist Network aujourd’hui en réponse à mon article qui déconstruit leur campagne « Veggie Love Casting » . La campagne dépeint des jeunes femmes en bikinis et hauts talons effectuant du sexe oral et autres actes sexuels sur des légumes « pour les animaux ». Le communiqué est reproduit ci-dessous. J’ai mis en évidence les passages problématiques et les analyserait plus bas.

Les femmes intelligentes et sensibles qui ont participé dans ce clip ont choisi de le faire car elles soutenaient l’idée et voulaient agir pour aider les animaux. PETA les admire pour cela et ne leur dirait jamais qu’elles doivent se comporter d’une certaine manière afin d’avoir l’approbation de quelqu’un d’autre. PETA applaudit tout ce que les gens font pour aider les animaux et tente de montrer quelque chose qui plaise à tout le monde.

Tout le monde n’approuve pas les tactiques de PETA – et on peut choisir de ne pas montrer nos vidéos si c’est le cas – mais nous serons certainement tous d’accord pour dire qu’il est plus efficace de concentrer notre temps et notre énergie sur les abuseurs d’animaux plutôt que de nous chamailler.

Si vous souhaitez en apprendre plus sur les autres campagnes de PETA, ou visionner nos publicités comprenant des hommes, vous pouvez visiter le site www.PETA.org. Merci encore pour tout ce que vous faites pour promouvoir le véganisme et pour faire de ce monde un meilleur endroit pour les animaux. 

A white woman deep-throating a cucumber.

Une image de la campagne.

PETA déclare ne pas avoir dit aux femmes d’agir de cette manière, mais c’est une justification malhonnête. De toute évidence, PETA a mis au point la campagne et a engagé les participantes. Ce n’était pas un mouvement populaire spontané pour la promotion du sexe avec des légumes pour les animaux non-humains. En parlant de cela, est-ce qu’avoir une relation sexuelle avec des concombres ce que sont supposées faire les femmes si elles veulent aider les animaux ?

D’une certaine manière, PETA a raison de dire qu’on ne « dit » pas aux femmes d’agir de cette manière. C’est parce que PETA normalise le militantisme sexiste comme militantisme adapté aux femmes. Les militantes s’engagent de plus en plus dans le mouvement pour les droits des animaux avec la connaissance de ce qu’on attend d’elles (Gail Dines désigne ce phénomène de socialisation comme « prête au porno »). Les campagnes pornifiées sont aujourd’hui normalisées dans l’imaginaire politique du mouvement. Elles sont considérées pour acquises comme étant utiles, malgré la recherche psychologique sociale démontrant que ce n’est non seulement pas efficace, mais également contre-productif.

Les tropes incorporées dans la réponse de PETA visent à protéger cette normalité et méritent donc qu’on s’y penche.

1. Choix

Le “Choix” est un concept qui fonctionne généralement pour détourner l’attention sur le problème de l’inégalité structurelle et qui place la responsabilité sur l’individu·e. Il masque les privilèges et renforces l’oppression.

Les femmes « choisissent » de travailler dans le porno car une société patriarcale leur offre des options extrêmement limitées. Les femmes font ce « choix » car elles grandissent dans une société qui leur inculque que leur valeur est liée à leur attractivité sexuelle et leur disponibilité sexuelle (au contraire des hommes à qui on enseigne qu’ils peuvent réussir grâce à leur force, leur leadership, leur intelligence, leur esprit, etc.).

The Girls Gone Wild tour bus. Depicts two blonde white women, reads "Do you have what it takes?"

La plupart des actrices porno proviennent de milieux défavorisés et/ou de foyers violents et ont des carrières extrêmement courtes (environ 3 ans, une durée qui a fortement diminuée). La grande majorité des actrices porno gagnent très peu d’argent. Nous parlons ici de quelques centaines d’euros pour chaque film, avec une proposition de film toutes les quelques semaines environ. Une fois qu’elles ont « tout fait », elles sont usées, et n’ont plus d’utilité pour l’industrie. Ça vous dit quelque chose ? C’est exactement la manière dont les humains traitent les poules pondeuses et les vaches laitières : comme des ressources sexuelles périssables. Les femmes continuent à consentir d’effectuer des actes sexuels de plus en plus dégradants, douloureux, ou dangereux afin de rester dans la course le plus longtemps possible. L’industrie expose les femmes à ces conditions de travail précaires et dangereuses sans aucune sécurité garantie. Si c’est là le « choix » qu’ont les femmes, il y a quelque chose qui cloche réellement avec notre système de travail.

Je ne blâme pas ces actrices (militantes?) qui travaillent pour PETA. Elles font juste leur travail, et essayent de gagner leur vie. Certaines se sont peut-être même amusées et ont aimé participer. Au lieu de cela, je blâme le patriarcat qui élève les femmes comme ressources pour les hommes. Je blâme un mouvement social qui est supposé être basé sur la paix mais qui à la place exploite les vulnérabilités des femmes pour la levée de fonds. Sous le patriarcat, les règles du jeu penchent en faveur des hommes au détriment des femmes (et des autres populations vulnérables, dont les animaux non-humains). Toutes les femmes sont des produits d’un patriarcat qui les incite à croire : « Votre valeur sociale = Votre disponibilité sexuelle ».

Le “choix” s’appuie sur un ensemble très restreint d’options définies pour les femmes par le patriarcat. Si nous voulons avoir une discussion sérieuse sur le « choix », je suggère que nous obtenions une réponse claire de PETA quant à leur choix intentionnel de femmes pour la levée de fonds et l’attention des médias, et la raison pour laquelle des femmes sont placées disproportionnellement dans des scénarios dégradants, souvent (même si pas dans ce cas-ci) en simulant la souffrance et la mort horrible d’animaux non-humains. Comme dans toute pornographie, les campagnes de PETA sexualisent l’humiliation et la violence envers les femmes.

2. Viser un large public

Les personnes susceptibles d’être attirées par la pornographie ne seront probablement pas intéressées de s’investir sérieusement dans la justice sociale. La pornographie consolide l’oppression et renforce la notion que certaines personnes sont des objets de ressources pour d’autres, plus privilégiées. C’est loin d’être le genre de structure qu’on est en droit d’attendre pour remettre en cause le spécisme. Pour rappel, la recherche démontre que les campagnes de PETA repoussent en réalité les téléspectateurs qui peuvent aisément reconnaître que les femmes sont rabaissées.

3. Critique de la culture du viol comme de la « Chamaillerie »

Une femme sur 3 sera violée, battue, ou abusée d’une certaine manière une fois au cours de sa vie. Cette violence est fortement liée aux médias misogynes, et PETA non seulement crée mais promeut les médias misogynes. Décrire la critique féministe de cette violence systémique comme étant de la chamaillerie est insultant et banalisant. Faire front contre la violence que j’endure, contre la violence que des millions de femmes endurent, n’est pas de la chamaillerie, c’est de la justice sociale en action.

4. Hommes contre Femmes

Nous ne vivons pas dans une société post-genre/post-féministe. Les corps des hommes et des femmes ne sont pas vus ou traités de manière égale. On ne peut pas simplement déclarer : « Nous utilisons aussi des hommes ! ». Ca ne compensera pas la misogynie utilisée dans la majorité des actions de PETA. 96% de l’objectification sexuelle présente dans les médias inclut des femmes. Les femmes sont également bien plus susceptibles d’être victimes de viol, d’abus sexuels et de violence conjugale. Il est injuste de balayer les représentations sexistes des femmes juste parce que le corps d’un homme est utilisé de temps à autre.

Cet argument est particulièrement absurde dans le cas de PETA. Les publicités de PETA mettant en scène des hommes représentent dans l’ensemble des hommes qui sont aux commandes de leur espace social, et leur pouvoir ainsi que leur statut sont renforcés. Certaines de leurs affiches représentent des hommes ridicules. A nouveau, il n’y a aucun sexisme sérieux en jeu. Nous trouvons ces affiches idiotes car les hommes sont rarement objectifiés sexuellement et représentés dans une position soumise. Les hommes ne sont pas affichés dans des positions sexuelles soumises ou comme victimes de violence, seules les femmes le sont.

Prenez par exemple cette image d’un acteur de Bollywood militant pour PETA. Remarquez le regard confiant face à l’objectif, son pouvoir sur la situation, et sa capacité de contrôle l’espace autour de lui et de créer du changement. Remarquez cette posture qui affiche la confiance.

Indian Bollywood actor freeing birds. He is shown giving direct eye contact to the camera and displaying his power and strength.

En revanche, examinez cette affiche typique de PETA représentant une femme nue. Elle est montrée dans une position soumise, vulnérable, pas sur ses pieds, à la merci du téléspectateur. Ses yeux ne font pas directement face à l’objectif, mais le regarde au contraire par le bas. Elle caresse doucement le lapin; il n’y a pas de contrôle sur son espace. Ses fesses sont relevées pour suggérer la disponibilité sexuelle.

Reads "I'd rather show my buns than wear fur." Shows a naked white woman prostrate on the ground touching a rabbit.

L’argument que le sexisme n’existe pas dans les campagnes de PETA car des hommes nus sont aussi utilisés de temps en temps est un leurre.

Nous ne pouvons pas mettre fin à l’objectification des animaux non-humains par l’objectification des femmes. Nous ne pouvons pas mettre fin à la violence envers les animaux non-humains par la violence envers les femmes. Il est temps de décoloniser le schema militant.

Les informations fournies sur l’industrie de la pornographie dans cet essai sont tirées du documentaire, The Price of Pleasure.

 

Corey Lee WrennMs. Wrenn is the founder of Vegan Feminist Network and also operates The Academic Abolitionist Vegan. She is an instructor of Sociology and graduate student at Colorado State University, council member with the Animals & Society Section of the American Sociological Association, and an advisory board member with the International Network for Social Studies on Vegetarianism and Veganism with the University of Vienna. In 2015, she was awarded Exemplary Diversity Scholar by the University of Michigan’s National Center for Institutional Diversity. She is the author of A Rational Approach to Animal Rights: Extensions in Abolitionist Theory.

PETA’s Sexy Pregnancy Campaign Against SeaWorld

By Corey Lee Wrenn, M.S., A.B.D. Ph.D.

Trigger Warning: Discusses pornography and the sexual exploitation of pregnant women.

Not Safe For Work: Contains discussion of pornography and erotic imagery.

Anti-Seaworld ad by PETA featuring Marisa Miller, a young white woman, nude and pregnant in a bathtub covering her breasts with her arms and looking at the camera from below

Supermodel Marisa Miller, widely regarded as a “sex symbol” for her work with Victoria’s Secret, Sports Illustrated’s swimsuit issues, and Maxim, has posed nude while pregnant for PETA’s SeaWorld ad campaign.

Because the media space is so saturated with sexualized images, pornographers consistently seek to push the edge with more and more taboo or sensational sexualizations.This means that children will be sexualized, grandmothers will be sexualized, pregnant women will be sexualized, etc. This is not to say that children, grandmothers, and pregnant women can’t or don’t feel sexual or enjoy sexual agency–the point is that pornography tries to encroach into spaces where women and girls are traditionally honored and protected from being viewed as a sexual resource to men as a marketing ploy. It is the taboo that sets them apart and sells product. Of course, with, many pornographers taking this route, what was once “taboo” is now accepted and normalized.

PETA protest against Seaworld float in Macy's Parade. Two nude women with body paint like orcas sit in a bathtub holding a sign, "Could you live in your bathtub? Boycott Seaworld!"

PETA also takes a more “traditional” approach in its Seaworld campaign by featuring nude women in public protest who do not appear to be pregnant.

There is definitely a connection between SeaWorld’s imprisoned whales and women in PETA’s ads, but it is not the connection PETA hopes we will decipher: vulnerable demographics are exploited for gain, and this exploitation is seen as entertainment.

We, the viewer, are invited to feel good by consuming, to feel good by gazing at a naked woman and then (maybe) donating to PETA, and to feel good by gazing at a trapped whale and paying admission and buying stuffed Shamus. More importantly, we see it as something the participants “enjoy” doing, and we are discouraged from thinking about the ugliness that lies behind the scenes. In all likelihood, Miller probably did enjoy it, being a supermodel is a career for her. However, we should consider how pornography hurts vulnerable women who do not have the same privilege and access available to wealthy white women. It is important to acknowledge how capitalist framing can obscure the exploitation involved with consumption with imagery of choice, independence, individualism, enjoyment, pleasure, and other good feelings.  SeaWorld uses the same rhetoric to justify the imprisonment of their whales: they love what they do. They’re enjoying themselves, so sit back and enjoy the show.

While lacking a feminist critique, Jezebel covers the campaign and admits similar confusion:

A pregnant Miller chilling in a tub makes me think SeaWorld is a place where pregnant Orcas chill in tubs. While that’s by no means a great life for an orca, it’s not exactly the right message.

Clawfoot bathtub with orca reclining inside, a baby orca is diving into her belly

Image from Jezebel

But maybe the image isn’t meant to be a metaphor at all. Maybe it’s just a continuation of PETA’s long-used tactic of stripping celebrities down as a way of titillating their audience into some kind of low-level version of awareness.

OK, fine. It’s probably that. But it’s still a crappy ad.

Indeed, the level of awareness is quite low. Social psychological research demonstrates that using sex to “sell” ethics backfires. Protest observers actually find the degradation of women to be a serious turn-off. Outside of social movements, research also finds that “sexy” advertising can distract an audience to the point where they don’t even know what was being sold to them.

 

Corey Lee WrennMs. Wrenn is the founder of Vegan Feminist Network and also operates The Academic Abolitionist Vegan. She is an instructor of Sociology and graduate student at Colorado State University, council member with the Animals & Society Section of the American Sociological Association, and an advisory board member with the International Network for Social Studies on Vegetarianism and Veganism with the University of Vienna. In 2015, she was awarded Exemplary Diversity Scholar by the University of Michigan’s National Center for Institutional Diversity.

Steak & BJ Day: Because Women’s Cancer is All about Pleasing Men

Not Safe For Work: Contains graphic discussions of sex acts. Website discussed is pornographic.

Content Warning: Intense degradation of women, particularly women disabled with cancer.

Close up of a woman's bottom, legs spread. She appears to be naked except for an apron and a pair of underwear with the organization's logo printed over the back of the panties. The logo is a cartoon of a steak and a pair of lips.

On “Steak and BJ Day,” women are encouraged to please the men in their life by cooking them a steak and performing fellatio . . . to “help punch cancer in the face.” You know, because breast cancer, a perfect excuse to serve men.

The event’s corresponding website is a veritable celebration of degradation and male entitlement.  The small print is all that distinguishes it from a run-of-the-mill pornography service, but I’m still not convinced. Multiple detailed and graphic instructional essays and videos are available to teach women how to give “the perfect head.” Here’s Step #11 “The Blowing of the Load” from “Blowjob 101”:

Spitting it out means like. Swallowing means love. And gargling with cum makes you look like a crazy slut that probably has STDs. Most guys don’t care about where it goes eventually, but there are some ways to keep it sexy and fun. If he’s into it, he may want to cum on your face. It’s just cum and you trust him. It has to go somewhere and it’s good for your skin. Wherever it goes, wipe it up soon. No one can relax and fall asleep when paste is hardening around them.

Swallow it or wear it if you want to demonstrate perfect servility.

Website visitors can also learn how to cook a steak, purchase merchandise, or pleasure themselves to a gallery of pornographic images of naked women cooking and cleaning for men. Only young, thin, attractive white women, though, all of whom have large, full, and undiseased breasts. Based on the imagery of the website, there are clearly age, weight, racial, and health restrictions to participation in Steak & BJ Day.

Cringing yet? Don’t, because this is actually for a good cause!

In 2015 we’re supporting Coppafeel® – a charity formed to raise boob awareness, fight cancer and save lives. 1.7 million people a year are diagnosed with breast cancer, and who knows how many more are indirectly affected.

You read that correctly. A deadly, painful, miserable disease that disfigures and kills millions of women is really all about saving women’s breasts so men can “cop a feel” and keep the blow jobs and steaks coming.

Beyond the clear pornographic aim of Steak and BJ Day and aside from the atrocious sexualization of a deadly disease for men’s enjoyment, it is also vital to acknowledge clear intersections between the objectification of women’s body parts with the objectification of Nonhuman Animal body parts. The organization’s tag line:

Rumps and Romps. Fillets and Fellatio. Sirloins and Sucking. Best. Day. Ever.

Women’s breasts, mouths, vaginas, and buttocks are put on a plate for men’s pleasurable consumption alongside the slices of lightly cooked and bloodied cow’s flesh. The language used makes the degraded body of the woman indiscernible from the degraded body of the cow. This is all about paying homage to patriarchy. Nothing is sexier in a patriarchal relationship than the humiliation and death of the vulnerable. In this case, the vulnerable could include cows tortured and killed to produce steak, women hurt and humiliated in the performance of androcentric sex acts, and women suffering and dying from breast cancer.

The intersection of these values is especially visible in the below image of a partially nude and sexualized woman covering her breasts with rotting flesh for the male gaze. The pain, vulnerability, humiliation, disease, death, and objectification of vulnerable bodies is considered a turn on.

Thin white woman on her knees, kneeling in front of a plate with silverware and blood. She is rubbing bloody steaks over her breasts and looking seductively at the camera

Actual image from the website

To those who have loved ones impacted by breast cancer or are struggling with the disease themselves, I can only imagine the humiliation they might feel if they were exposed to this “charity’s” imagery and claimsmaking. Beyond the misogynistic nature of the campaign, the fact that animal flesh consumption is known to be a primary cause of cancer makes this approach not only offensive, but conceptually backwards. Appealing to male privilege to raise awareness for women’s health is also suspect. Historically, women’s diseases have been trivialized or ignored due to patriarchal prioritization of men’s interests. But, again, I do not believe this to be a project with a primary goal of fighting cancer. This is pornography: the sexualization of suffering and subjugation. The cancer variable was likely thrown on superficially as a means to justify this grotesque display of male entitlement. Drawing attention to the fact that women are suffering and vulnerable to death and disfigurement is probably an added bonus: more female pain to fetishize.