Feminists Protest PETA For a Change

Friend of Bitch (and Beaker Bitch blogger) Sarah Mirk posted a great piece over at Blogtown PDX yesterday on the new (and oh-so-unfortunate) PETA billboard in Florida, and the subsequent protest of PETA President Ingrid Newkirk’s book signing at Powell’s Books here in Portland. The offending billboard:

Seriously, PETA? I think I’ve lost enough weight already barfing at your ad campaigns

On Tuesday evening, the Portland Feminist Action League stood inside (and then outside once they were kicked out) of Powell’s and gave Ingrid Newkirk (and her fans) a piece of their minds.

Image via wweek.media on flickr
Reports Mirk,
The women sat quietly throughout Newkirk’s 40-minute long presentation as she discussed the lives of whales and the pain crabs feel. After Newkirk wrapped up showing a video of cute animals set to Moby music and started signing books, the dozen feminists took to the front of the room, handing out fliers directing people to [protest organizer] Fairchild’s blog and standing silently with brightly-colored signs like, “Misogyny is not cruelty free!”

Check out Sarah Mirk’s video of the protest (complete with cute-animals-set-to-Moby-montage):

I don’t know about you, but I have felt truly sickened by this recent PETA campaign (you know, just like I have felt truly sickened by so many past PETA campaigns). When will they wise up and realize that feminists could be great allies for them if only they’d stop offending us with their bullshit misogyny?!? Feminists love animals! (Well, most of us do, anyway.) At any rate, I hope these protesters got a few messages across to PETA. Messages like “Stop fat-shaming women,” “Stop disrespecting women,” and “Cut it out with your mistreatment of women.” What do you think?Related posts:PETA Gets the Onion TreatmentPETA is a Bunch of BullFeminism and Animal Rights… A First Step

by Kelsey Wallace
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Kelsey Wallace is an editor in Portland, Oregon. Follow her on Twitter if you like TV and pictures of dogs.

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15 Comments Have Been Posted


I'm not normally a conspiracy theorist, but given the extent to which PETA alienates other progressive movements with their campaigns, I'm taking more and more seriously the suggestion a friend made to me once: that PETA is either a counterintelligence organization or has a counterintelligence agent working highly within it. Like, someone working on behalf of big agribusiness or something. You can't say it's not possible.

more like

An animal rights industrial complex.

I know a few people personally that have lost weight and/or improved their health on vegetarian/vegan/raw food-eating lifestyles (I wouldn't call them diets). They do not support PETA at all and feel very strongly that PETA does not speak for them. Most especially, they don't force their lifestyles on anyone like PETA does.

PETA is insane. I am not a

PETA is insane. I am not a conspiracy theorist either, but I really believe that PETA does support, directly or indirectly, a lot of terrible things, from misogynist and racist propaganda campaigns, to organizations like the Animal Liberation Front.

this is an excerpt from something i wrote about them a while ago:
In 1992, some douchebag named Rod Coronado, an activist for Animal Liberation Front, burned down a Michigan State University research lab and destroyed 32 years worth of data and was convicted of arson. And who paid for his legal defense? PETA. He received two donations, which PETA claimed on their taxes, for $64,000 and $38,240. According to PETA's "vegan campagin director" (which already makes him sound like a douchebag), "If we really believe that animals have the same right to be free from pain and suffering at our hands, then of course we're going to be blowing things up and smashing windows. ... I think it's a great way to bring about animal liberation, considering the level of suffering, the atrocities. I think it would be great if all of the fast-food outlets, slaughterhouses, these laboratories, and the banks that fund them, exploded tomorrow." (you can check out their wikipedia page about it: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/PETA#Support_for_direct_action)

I am a vegetarian, and I believe in animal welfare, not animal rights. PETA is a money-making machine, how else could they afford these prime-time advertisements, big name marketing campaigns ("I'd rather go naked than wear fur"?) and giant billboards. Someone is laughing all the way to the bank. I'd really love to take a look at their tax records...

PETA doesn't represent all people who support animal rights

As a vegan, PETA really pisses me off. Their campaigns just turn people away from animal rights, which is sad, because PETA often has very good information on things like experimentation, the torture most food animals go through, circuses, etc.

I wish PETA would realize that animal oppression, the oppression of women, and racism, are interconnected.

peta = Please Euthanize These Airheads

People Eating Tasty Animals: Stupid misanthropes for animals since 1980

PETA is totally counter-productive for reals!

I don't want to say I'm anti-PETA, more like I'm pro-PETA reform. PETA can do better and needs to change it's policies to represent *everyone* regardless of size, gender, race and sexual orientation.

I also think it's possible that they could be infiltrated by Agribusiness. At this point I feel like they're getting funding from the beef industry or something. I really want to change PETA or have an alternative organization to rival them in a way that says, "Caring about animals means you're a caring compassionate person, not a crazy mean psycho that uses Animal Rights as an outlet to abuse society in negative ways"

thanks for posting the article. Love you Bitch!


I was approached by PETA at a concert, a punk concert in Canada. They were asking all kinds of concert-goers to sign petitions for animal rights, but didn't actually say what the petition was for...it was very vaguely worded. I didn't sign my name since I wasn't sure what exactly I was signing, but I watched almost every sign it. They stood beside/in the line to buy t-shirts and it seemed most people signed just to get them out of the way. Mass signatures from mostly teenagers doesnt seem like a good tactic but they were all unique signatures, so each one counts.
I support animal welfare and ethical treatment but not PETA or their tactics.

Just one little thing

I don't mean to nitpick out of the sea of disgusting things about PETA and thier ads, but I think it's important to mention that this campaign is misinformation as well. I have struggled with weight gain since going vegitarian because I am new to balancing my diet in this way. PETA is just using the same old 'miracle diet' campaign that had yielded big bucks for many other exploitive entities in the past. It is true that vegitaranism can be good for health and thus help weight mantinence, but you could also technically live on French fries and candy bars. I'm tempted to agree with aforementioned conspiracy theories, but I think it is more likely that PETA is working according to the old addage 'any publicity is good publicity.'. I feel that in this case jerkwad publicity makes them look like asshats.

Anyone interested/have the

Anyone interested/have the know-how to start a Feminist PETA-esque website? like...FETA...Feminists for the Ethical Treatment of Animals. I don't know how to create a website, and maybe this already exists, but I think it would be pretty awesome. And to address the last post, I totally know what you mean about being vegetarian and struggling with weight gain. Not only do I have PCOS, which causes me to gain weight rapidly and sometimes for no reason, I tend to be protein deficient, so it's really hard for me to maintain a vegetarian (and certainly not vegan) lifestyle. I'm also dead broke, so even though there are great high-protein vegan options, I can rarely afford them. My body works best with protein and no carbs, and it's definitely a challenge. So actually, if anyone has any helpful tips for these problems, please share!

Feminist PETA-ish Website

That sounds like a great idea! I wouldn't know how to go about such a thing, but if it were created it would be something I would look at a lot.

That wouldn't be hard to do

That wouldn't be hard to do at all! You could start off with a social group with one of those make-your-own-social-network sites like Ning.com, and ask any members with the know-how to help create a fancy-looking website and give donations to buy the domain name. I would certainly be into that if you set up such a network/website.

I support PETA

I'm a proud and loyal member of PETA.

I guess I believe that intelligent women in a woman-founded and women-majority organization have the right to use a little humor, sex, and shock value to get their message across.

Feminists could take a lesson from PETA. A little more humor and less bitter anger might help advance their cause.

Oh really?

Following the W.C. Varones advice, perhaps feminists should start using humor based on eating meat or wearing leather, since apparently the trick to advancing your cause is to be laid back and humorous. If by laid back, you actually mean ignoring the fact that relying on cultural shorthand, stereotypes, and tropes entails all the cultural baggage (misogyny, racism, classism, sizeism) that other groups have worked so hard to fight against.

Peta: Like violent porn? You'll love being a vegan!

Ingrid Newkirk has defended herself, in a New Yorker article and elsewhere, by saying "sex sells." Fair enough. The nude models anti-fur ad, the Pamela Anderson lettuce bikini ad, well-done, clever and effective. But where's the balance? Where's Leo DiCaprio and Keanu Reeves nude on a pleather sofa?

The same with their demonstrations using public nudity. Public nudity is great, especially in protests. But it seems that 95% of these "protesters" are young, thin, attractive women, placed in often gratuitously degrading positions. Just who are you trying to appeal to, Ingrid and what exactly are you trying to accomplish? Your average meat-eating, hetero male is going to stop in the KFC parking lot, leer at the naked chick posed inside a glass cage like an animal, laugh, eat his chicken and go home.

PETA has done tremendous good for animal welfare in a practical sense, and as a vegetarian I respect that but its ads and tactics are making me more and more disgusted. Ingrid's gone Hollywood.


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