Your Sexy Salad Days are Over, PETA

Just Fuck OffNothing makes me hungrier for ten rare pounds of feed-lot steak than PETA. Every time I learn about one of their “confrontational” new campaigns, sales I want to cram foie gras in my mouth, wear veal earrings and slip into a bikini made entirely of tuna. Then, I want to order dolphin sashimi, dress my cats in ermine and, in short, behave in a manner that distances me a million miles from this sexed-up Hello Kitty turn on food ethics.

PETA describes itself a “Sexy Celeb Supporter“. That this mission statement might be applied equally to push-up bras makes sense. Frilly and precious, PETA is far too tied up with its appearance to, say, take any practical steps toward animal welfare in the Gulf of Mexico.

You’d think an organization like PETA might want to roll its sleeves up and help manage this habitat calamity. No. But they did release this intriguing press statement. PETA says that if we want to help injured Gulf animals, what we really should do is stop eating meat.

According to PETA, the devastation of marine animal populations is the result of the pot-roast you ate last Thursday. It has nothing to do with BP.

No. I don’t understand it either.

As oiled seabirds die a slow, painful death, PETA turns its attention back to core business: titties.

Big titties.

PETA’s newest Rad and Refreshing billboard takes a slice of British cheesecake to make the claim that a high-fat diet ends in a low-fat penis. The model, by-the-by, is called Chantelle and she started her climb to vegetarian stardom on the greasy poles of motorcycle trade shows. Then, she won a Reality TV contest. Now, she’s here to school you boys about the health of your omnivorous dongs.

Chantelle might be very nice and I’m glad she’s turned her charms into cash. God knows, I’d hold a flaccid wiener for money if I had the décolleté for it. It certainly looks easier than writing. Far be it from me to go on and interminably on about the objectification of flesh; processed into a sausage skin or otherwise. It’s not Chantelle I find repugnant. It is the sex reflex of her current employers.

WTF is it with PETA? Who among their number holds a sub-standard MBA and the shop-worn conviction that “sex sells”? Sure, sex sells some stuff. Sales of cars, footwear and quality linen can all be improved with sex. But, sex doesn’t sell everything. There’s a range of goods and services that cannot be convincingly promoted with sex. These include, but are by no means limited to, bank loans, floor coverings and responsible eating.

It’s easy to change into a pink pair of frilly panties. It is far more difficult to change what’s inside the pantries of the world. When it comes to what we put in our mouths, we tend to resist good advice. Sometimes, though, we might hear something so rational that we begin to think before we shop.

Personally, I could not resist the plain talk and neat thought of Michael Pollan. It was Pollan who drove me to buy only ethically grown meats. In small portions. And it was Pollan who alerted me, and many vegetarians, to the shocking practices of agribusiness. In short, we learned that the production of plant foods can be just as unethical, unsustainable and crap as the raising of meat.

But. The ethical flaws of a vegetarian world-view aside: Pollan got inside my gut. And he did so with reason, research and argument. And I have no wish to know what color panties he wore when he wrote The Omnivore’s Dilemma.

This is how you change consumption for the greater good. You just can’t achieve it with a pair of tits and the threat of a floppy wang. And, you can’t achieve it by being racist tools.

Did you see this PETA dump on first nation people from back in February? The same “consciousness raising” vegans that used several of the world’s most expensive titties to save a few contaminated rabbits were making fun of the Inuit. Seriously. Who gives a flying frankfurter if the Inuit club a few seals? They don’t have nationhood, dental care or iPhones. Who in their right mind would begrudge these people a few dozen marine mammals?

For years now, this organization has colluded with famous idiots. Using the vacant mechanism of celebrity, it has attempted to jam the machine of animal slaughter. It has asked Naomi Campbell (still an unapologetic fur-wearer) to pose nude for its anti-fur campaign. It has lured vegan Playboy models into its employ and draped them publicly in lettuce leaves. Yes, girls, it’s apparently fine to inject poison into your tits and show your asshole to Hef and the world for money. But eating little lambs is Just Not Cool.

I hope Gaia is sick on them all.

But, aside from leaving all those animals to die in the Gulf, PETA’s saddest fail is its stupid beauty pageant.

Every year, it unstraps the bong from its smug vegetarian face and names Sexy Vegetarians. None of whom, as it happens, this guilty omnivore wants to eat. (OK. Except for Alyssa Milano.)

This is the problem with using one-size-fits-all sex. When mass culture spews out its sausage feed of lust, it can look as appetizing as head-cheese.

PETA, I am a principled eater and my omnvorism is certainly up for sale. But you simply will not buy it with your sexy, celeb-supporting processed meat.

31 comments for “Your Sexy Salad Days are Over, PETA

  1. Ang
    June 5, 2010 at 10:27 am

    so refreshing to read an honest assessment of PETA without it spinning off into redneck-gun-toting-meat-eating land! I’m appalled at how they shamelessly use sex & women to “make a point” while passing judgement on others…..condescending to the idiot masses who can’t make an informed decision without boobs in their faces. I’m all for ethical treatment of animals but I’m also all for not stooping to bonehead level to get eyeballs on a message. They can’t have it both ways….the rabid defense of and demand for respect for animals and the shocking disrespect for & whoring of women.

    I wonder if they have any stats to prove whether the T&A approach works or if they just like feeling like part of the big leagues?

    at any rate, its time for steak.

  2. June 5, 2010 at 2:52 pm

    Hey, Ang. I too was wondering about the metrics used in assessing the effectiveness of the titty campaigns.
    In more important queries: do you sell 1940s platforms?!

  3. grant
    June 5, 2010 at 4:07 pm

    nice post. thanks.

  4. Ang
    June 6, 2010 at 9:24 am


    I wish I had some!!! Well, I do have a silver pair (on my site) and a green suede pair not available yet, I have sequin-work to do. What size do you need?

    In other news, I think you’ll appreciate this happy story. Today at my boutique I sold an old pin-back button that said “GIRL WATCHER” to a lovely woman who told me she was buying it for her 17 year old daughter who had just come out to her last week. Brought tears to my eyes I was so happy for them both to have such a wonderful relationship!

  5. Kat
    June 6, 2010 at 2:40 pm

    It should be noted that the Inuit also do not have vegetables and represent a massive flaw in all anti-omnivore arguments … they survived almost entirely on the meat of their land, not the fruits. Of which there were few. If any. I’d like to see them try subsistence living on vegie they grow.

    • June 6, 2010 at 2:48 pm

      Happy-clappy first world liberalism that seeks to impose a western standard on all peoples makes me sick. I loathe PETA for daring to prescribe against a totally sustainable practice. It’s none of their business. Just, I believe, as the practice of wearing niqab is no business of western feminists.
      Having said this: I do know our current level of meat consumption in the west just ain’t going to work. Unless, like the Inuit, we honour and use the entire dead beast, we’ll really have no choice but to eat Textured Vegetable Protein. Actually, no choice other than eating awful lozenges of faux-meat grown in Petri-dishes.

  6. June 6, 2010 at 4:19 pm

    Ang! As I’m a million miles away from your collection, I’m happy just to look at your site and drool for the present. The Cinderella Lucite slippers are heaven.

  7. Motor
    June 7, 2010 at 6:26 am

    PETA operates under the simple principle that animals are not ours to eat, wear, experiment on, or use for entertainment.

  8. June 7, 2010 at 12:17 pm

    PETA operates under the simple principle that we are all mindless cocks.

  9. Bel
    June 8, 2010 at 10:25 am

    Awesome post. PETA are a fkn embarrassment these days.

    Helen, have you read Johnathan Safran Foer’s “Eating Animals”? I’ve heard it recommended along with “Omnivore’s Dilemma”.

    • June 8, 2010 at 7:03 pm

      Thanks for the link, Katrina. Although, I’m not certain if gratitude is the right reflex on being charged with hypocrisy.
      I’m afraid I don’t understand your point. Where, exactly, does the hypocrisy inhere?

  10. June 8, 2010 at 8:43 pm

    Helen, while I may not disagree with some of your analysis, condemning an organisation for using, commodifying, degrading and oppressing women (or being sexist), while actively engaging in consuming behaviours that do all of the above to female non-humans is hypocritical.

    Your arguments would be more credible if you were coming from a non-oppressive position ie vegan. I wrote more about this here:

    • June 9, 2010 at 10:11 am

      Seriously. That’s a bit pecan-nutty, Katrina. By your logic, only those who shun Camembert are permitted to critique horrible advertisements. Or, presumably, anything.
      First, I’d say you really shouldn’t presume to know what is in my larder. And, by what moral means it got there.
      Second, I’d say you should only read blogs that are vegan certified. Just so you dudes can all agree with each other.
      Third. no amount of conceptual gymnastics can have me believing this Mary Daly-esque idea that animal rights is a particularly feminist issue. (BTW, this piece of mine isn’t particularly feminist. It’s actually just a critique of shitty marketing.) This is not to say that animal liberation is not a pressing issue; it’s just to say it is not linked, despite your evocation of eggs, necessarily to gender.
      Finally, your absolutism and your assertion that I am “oppressive” is just insulting and inclines me to listen to nothing further you may have to say on the matter.
      Like PETA, you may wish to rethink your marketing strategy.

  11. June 9, 2010 at 10:45 am

    It’s a lot easier to not see the links than to really examine the issues just as it’s easy to take aim at PETA instead of investigating and offering a feminist analyis of other oppressions. The latter’s obviously too much like hard work.

    You may not agree with PETA’s marketing stratgegy (there are elements of it I find problematic too) but it works for a lot of people. If I had a pound for every person I’ve met in 20 years who’d gone veg or vegan after watching a PETA video, I’d be retired in the south of France.

    These ads are only a very small part of what they do but it’s what the media jumps all over – and that’s more a damning indictment of mainstream media in terms of what they will or won’t cover. Plus the media’s perpetuating of the stereotypes of vegans as stick thin, pale creatures with dreadlocks, thus PETA’s attempts to counteract that.

    It’s great that you’ve been influenced by those authors into thinking more about food – obviously not hard enough though given you stated you still eat meat (whether it’s in your larder or fridge). Unfortunately the numbers of people willing to read those books are far smaller than those willing to check out a PETA campaign or video (even if they are led there by sexy women). Sometimes it takes a variety of marketing strategies to get to different people.

    Many of your criticisms are valid, but I stand by my original point that calling out PETA for being sexist and racist while being speciesist yourself is hypocritical. You may not like what I say, but as we both know if you put something out there in the public arena, be prepared to cop some flack. I’ve got an upcoming piece on meat-eating for The Drum and I fully expect to be inundated with comments like yours. C’est la vie.

    Have a good day.

  12. June 9, 2010 at 10:55 am

    Katrina. I hardly mind critique. If I did, I’d block it with the click of a mouse.
    “Comments like yours” eh? That’s nice.
    Trust your high horse is given occasional spells at a nice biodynamic farm.

  13. June 9, 2010 at 5:47 pm

    PETA’s lack of humour is the secret to their success with vegans

  14. Mark Vice
    June 13, 2010 at 12:30 am

    Great post!

  15. muze
    June 16, 2010 at 9:19 pm

    Animals eat other animals, so why is it wrong for me? I’d like to know. Oh and if we have built industries to consolidate the process for everyone, isn’t that more productive than each of us having to house/raise/kill/butcher our own? It’s far less cruel. I’m not trained in the most efficient way to kill my lunch, or that of my cat.
    When I retrieved the injured bird from the mouth of my cat and rang the vet he said to put it out of its misery by wringing its neck. Wouldn’t recommend that to someone who hasn’t done it before. If I have to do it again I’ll try not to rip the head off like I did that time in my angst to do the job properly.
    Puss didn’t get it back for lunch either – didn’t want to encourage him.

  16. Amanda
    June 18, 2010 at 2:42 am

    I’m vegan and I hate PETA with a passion. They are fat-phobic, exceedingly sexist and their tactics are completely opposite of my own. I care passionately about animal rights, but I see PETA as doing far more harm than good in that respect.

    I’m confused about this part of your post though: “It has lured vegan Playboy models into its employ and draped them publicly in lettuce leaves. Yes, girls, it’s apparently fine to inject poison into your tits and show your asshole to Hef and the world for money. But eating little lambs is Just Not Cool.” Your language feels like slut shaming and I don’t understand how you could say that posing naked (for whatever reason) is so much more egregious than eating meat, which these women do not believe in. Do I think PETA should be using naked women to sell animal rights? No. But I do think it’s fine for an adult woman to consentingly pose nude for whatever reason she likes.

  17. June 18, 2010 at 8:06 am

    Hi Amanda. And, my warmest thanks for dropping by. What can I say: on the average day, I’ll defend my japes to the death. In this case, though, I fear you’re right. The joke fell flat. As these words have appeared on Jezebel and in a few other fora, I fear it’s too late for an edit. I will write a pro porn post to make up for it. Would that help?

  18. Liene
    June 18, 2010 at 12:07 pm

    Hork hork, as the cats in the Married to the Sea comics say. Count me in the crowd of sane vegans (we are out there, and we are most definitely not every vegan; sigh) who also loathe PETA. Every time I see their damn name in some bit of news, I cringe. They make me ill, they lie, and pretty much everything Amanda noted above. Great, so they think going vegan fixes all health issues? Is that why they’re trying to raise my blood pressure? I go back and forth on thinking they’re ripe for conspiracy theories — they’re so insane.

    I am off to continue respecting myself, having a sense of humor, and trying my damndest to ignore those fools.

  19. June 18, 2010 at 12:13 pm

    Warm thanks for your giddy good wit, Liene. Wanna lend some to PETA?
    To be clear: I have nothing but admiration for those who eschew animal products. Would that I were so determined.

  20. June 27, 2010 at 11:20 am

    What I find interesting about PETA is that they exist to piss people off. They aren’t trying to change the world, they are trying to look like radical ratbags, so that the RSPCA’s and Michael Pollan’s of this world look more reasonable. They are providing an extreme that is so extreme that it draws the animal welfare mob in a very attractive light.

    Just like the socialists make the Labor party seem conservative. Oh, yes, they are conservative, silly me. But you get the idea.

    So much as I appreciate your comments, I think you might be missing the point.

    • June 27, 2010 at 12:27 pm

      And, as much as I appreciate your comments, I fear you have missed the point of my piece. PETA is largely known as a “sexy celeb” organization. They are not nearly known for their animal lib radicalism as much as they are for the famous tits they employ to peddle their wares. Ask most people what they know about PETa and they will not say, “violent action against animal experimentation” but “tits”.
      Comparing Pollan to PETA, in the terms you have elected, is like comparing a serious work of non-fiction to a text message. I.e. It really doesn’t hold. PETA is known for its advertisements, not its actions. (Which are, themselves, pretty questionable.) PETA has elected to exist in a vacuum of nonsense. They defend this nonsense to their disappointed members by insisting, “the female body is a beautiful thing and ladies should not be ashamed.” They go so far as to suggest that those nations where women wear fewer clothes are those nations where women enjoy greater liberty. Read it here. Fabulous. Now I have a new reason to loathe PETA: they are vile little under-informed colonial racists as well as tatty celeb suckers.
      Again, as I have said in many fora: the thing that I am critiquing here is NOT Peta’s extremity. Rather, it is their ORDINARY AND PREDICTABLE knee-jerk, shit-house sexism that is the object of my loathing. This anti-fat message is not, in any way, “extreme” or commendable. It does not encourage people to see Pollan or the RSPCA/ASPCA or humane society in a more appreciative light. Publicly, PETA is known, by its own admission, as a “sexy celeb” peddler.
      Again, I think you have missed my point.

  21. Cat
    June 27, 2010 at 6:35 pm

    PETA makes my meat laced blood boil.

    My support is with the RSPCA, as a welfare organisation they have an active and legitimate voice and influence in government, whereas PETA as an animal rights organisation are more interested in animal snuff films and their own publicity.

  22. Chris
    January 24, 2011 at 5:43 pm

    Ah Helen… the thinking Bogan’s crumpet. But I agree with Lara, you’ve missed the point entirely of PETA’s existance.

    Katrina, if you have read any of Helen’s rants elsewhere online, you should know by now that if you take a different view than Helen, she’ll either a: insult you b: try in a wordy fashion to make you feel beneath her or c: call you a troll.

    Helen is a notquite-intellectual who makes up for lack of true smarts by attacking (insert flavour of the month) for fun and profit, and her shrieking fans holding similar bogan-with-half-a-brain views unfortunately give her encouragement, much as bogan-with-half-a-brains would cheer-on seeing Helen and her youthful breasts in the Wet T-Shirt competition at the Summernats.

    Yet Razer sometimes interests me, not sure I know why just yet. Her articles lack any common thread beyond aggression and lesbianism, so maybe I’m waiting for her to find out who she is beyond an angry lezzo who ‘loathes’ stuff. Maybe then she can start being a real writer, and stop publishing this ignorant, quarter-researched stuff online.

  23. t.Riddy
    September 22, 2011 at 12:38 pm


    Pitching your rant as faux-intellectual banalysis doesn’t work. Trollerz gonna troll.

  24. September 23, 2011 at 3:59 pm

    How very kind, t.riddy.

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