Save the Chickens; Objectify the Women

So there's this animal rights group (whose name I'm not even going to use in this post because I refuse to give them the publicity, but suffice it to say if you can name one animal rights group, it's probably them), and they really, really, really want you to stop eating meat—which is a fair enough goal, except for their habit of treating women like meat in their campaigns.

Their latest stunt just about beats all: They created an ad (which I will not embed), ostensibly to be shown during the Superbowl, featuring women clad in revealing boudoir apparel getting sexy with vegetables.

[Below image may be NSFW.]

There is no narration to the ad—just video of the women in compromising positions with various veggies, set to a metal porn soundtrack, and interspersed with three message cards reading, in all caps: "Studies show…vegetarians have better sex…go veg."

AlterNet's Isaac Fitzgerald, who's got the embedded ad in his piece about it if you really want to see it, notes that the studies on which the group is relying to make the claim that "vegetarians have better sex" actually just "link meat consumption to impotence"—which means that there is no relevance for women even in the research underlying this advert; in concept, imagery, and ultimately in message, women are nothing more than the promised reward for men who don't eat meat.

Dangling women as the cookie for meat-eschewing men, I don't guess I need to point out, is not merely misogynist, but heterocentrist, too.

Isaac, who succinctly notes, "Bottom line: [This group] has no business stepping on women's rights in the name of animal rights," also deftly deals with the probability that this group never intended nor expected, despite their protestations to the contrary, this ad to be accepted by the Superbowl advertising committee. Now they're relying on its totally predictable rejection of the ad to generate controversy and garner attention for their cause.
Despite being rejected by NBC for a Super Bowl ad slot, "Veggie Love" is being talked about by everyone from Whoopi Goldberg on "The View" to the New York Times (Whoopi actually went as far as to re-enact the ad with a lettuce head because ABC refused to let "The View" air "Veggie Love").

This type of buzz is, of course, what [the group] set out to accomplish with its risqué ad. Thanks to the Internet, a new type of marketing is quickly becoming popular. Called by some "parasite" or "leech-media tactics," the concept is simple: Create buzz for your product or message by creating a video that is controversial or provocative, release it online, watch it scream across the intertubes, and soon thereafter the corporate media.
Where, finally, the original message will be completely eclipsed by feverish dissection of "the controversy."

All of which, naturally, makes patently absurd the group's claim that the women in the videos are "choosing to stick up for animals who never get a choice when they are abused on factory farms and then brutally slaughtered, and we applaud our models, as well as all our activists, for exercising their freedom by speaking up for those who have no voice."

Would that the women in the video really were sticking up for animals and giving voice to the voiceless. But they're just players in a game in which their objectification serves no higher purpose.

And, even if it did, the rest of us didn't consent to the compromise on behalf of their crusade.

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