Thursday, October 18, 2007

In Light of Our Recent Animal Ethics Discussion. . .

Thoughts about the intended message here?


PalmTreeChick said...

She could wear cotton!!

Beth said...

"Sex sells?" Although I don't want her body nor do I wish to become vegetarian. Maybe the ad is for those with weak identities, the ultra-impressionable.

Charlynn said...

This must be a part of the "I'd rather go naked than wear fur" campaign. I'm not a fan of some of PETA's shock techniques to illustrate their point of view (in my opinion, the facts are shocking enough by themselves), but in this case, the "shock" of a near-naked celeb does fit the slogan. If it weren't for the slogan, I don't think I'd like the ad. It would just be another way of marketing the female body because "sex sells."

Regardless, hooray for Alicia Silverstone so publicly declaring her vegetarianism. If I recall correctly, she's been a vegetarian for some time.

Charlynn said...

Addendum - Beth, you beat me to it on "sex sells." Even if it doesn't sell, it does grab attention.

Caroline said...

Vegetarians are naked?

nixtress said...

I'm very much against PETA and it made me sad to see Alecia join their campaign.

My guess is "If you don't eat animals you won't be fat!"

Ha! I wish lol.

KateHarding said...

Being vegetarian will make you too tired to get up off the ground? :)

cggirl said...

lol this is so funny.

caroline your comment is hysterical.

also, nixtress i agree with you that basically thats what they are saying. actually alicia is vegan and has gone on and on about how that helped her lose weight and her skin cleared up, bla bla bla.

i'm a vegetarian too. and i have a round tummy and a huge butt and great big boobies (which are natural and not gravity defying). where's my f-ing poster?

actually i think it's here:
or maybe that one:

Thanks Kate Harding for that post by the way.

Body Shop rocks.

wellroundedtype2 said...

Love the idea that being vegetarian makes you too tired to stand up... but maybe it's meant to say to impressionable young men -- not all vegetarian chicks are "crunchy" -- vegetarians are HOT.
It would make more sense if she were a porn star to have her in that pose. Although I wouldn't mind if male vegetarian movie stars were to similarly pose...

wellroundedtype2 said...

I think it's a fantastic idea for a round bodied vegetarian to come forward and do a version of this ad.

What rubs me the wrong way about PETA is that it wants to achieve animal rights at the expense of human rights.

Hey, aren't human women also member of the animal kingdom? Aren't fat people human animals?
Don't we have rights?

Rachel said...

I am a vegetarian and I refuse to join PETA. I've had some negative personal experiences with them during protests. I also hate their blatant sexualization of women, i.e. their "Sexy Pilgrim" campaign at Thanksgiving.

Does anyone else here think it's ironic that they are promoting a vegetarian lifestyle while portraying Alicia Silverstone as a piece of meat?

LG said...

"Does anyone else here think it's ironic that they are promoting a vegetarian lifestyle while portraying Alicia Silverstone as a piece of meat?"

Well said, Rachel!

Alyssa said...

Caroline, LMAO!!!
Rachel, AMEN!!!!!!!

I guess it's ok to exploit women and further the advance of eating disorders, as long as what you ARE eating doesn't have meat or dairy in it.

Rachel said...

I'm a different Rachel, I am definately NOT a vegetarian (oooh, just think of the bacon...!) and my entry to the caption competition...

"my, what a large cucumber... I may swoon!"

On a slightly more serious note, I wish advertisers would just give me an f'ing break! Or at least put some nekkid men up on billboards. *sigh* Cucumbers and all!

zubeldia said...

I'm a card carrying member of PETA. I don't love all of their campaigns and I don't like this one. They use tactics like this simply to get coverage (as they have here), and the truth (sad truth) is that it works. Pamela Anderson is well known for her PETA campaigns.

PETA have done some wonderful things for animal protection. Many of the laws passed to secure the (minimal) welfare of farm animals (which are still treated horrifically) have been passed with the help and support of PETA. It IS a shame that they are not mindful of body image issues, but they are an animal rights group. I am not a fan of this, though.... but look at the exposure they're getting, even here?

I hope that people might examine the message behind the ad.. perhaps to look at the reasons for why people become veggie or vegan.. .that it inflicts great, great harm on animals...

I am very passionate about both animal rights and women's rights. I actually think that these issues are intimately connected.. for example, there is a strong correlation between domestic abuse and animal abuse (i.e. a man is likely to commit domestic abuse if he abuses animals). Studies indicate, too, that folks (mostly men) who view animals as expendable objects who are put on this earth for human wants are more likely to view women through the same objectifying lenses. This doesn't shock me in the least.

We are living in a world which likes to objectify - both women and animals. it's what allows us to abuse them so readily, and it's what leads women to abuse to themselves. Imagine if people with eds actually had empathy and compassion for themselves, if they saw themselves as worthy and important in meaningful ways? I believe it would be very difficult for us (including myself) to starve or purge or binge.

We live in a culture which encourages us to abuse others and ourselves, and I think PETA - in their own way - is an organisation which is at least attempting to foster kindness and compassion.

I find it hard to be critical of those aims even when they use ads like this.

Sorry, this was a bit of a tangent.

cggirl said...

LOL rachel excellent cucumber comment.

Also, ladies, while I agree with your comments about how alicia is presented here as man-bait, i think this ad is very much aimed at women!

"Go veg and you will be thin and sexy like me."

I don't think guys will see this as a convincing reason to becomes vegetarian; the slogan isn't "i only date vegetarians" it's "i AM a vegetarian". We are supposed to want to be like her - and to it is VERY clear that the point is she is thin, therfore sexy, and it's all because she doesn't eat meat.

(And by the way i'm sure there are many women who use vegetarianism and veganism as another way to limit their eating. I'm not saying that's what vegetarianism is, but just that someone who already has disordered attitudes about food might twist it around and use it that way.)

P.S. If her slogean WERE "i only date vegetarians" then men would just think "ok i will pretend to be veg". lol.
Of course a poster of some guy with hot chicks hanging all over him, saying HE is a vegetarian... maybe men will be silly enough to fall for that.

April said...

How is showing a beautiful naked woman who is thin exploiting women and promoting eating disorders? Is there any evidence whatsoever that Silverstone has an eating disorder? Or is that just the label that people like to put on anyone who isn't overweight?

Perhaps we will have to agree to disagree on this one...


cggirl said...


i think the point is that a beautiful naked thin woman has nothing to do with what she is supposedly promoting.

and that beautiful naked (or scantily clad) thin women are constantly used to promote anything and everything even when it has not relation to, nor should it logically require, a beautiful thin naked/semi-clothed woman to represent whatever it is.

This is just one example, and I don't think anyone is blaming alicia or saying she shouldn't look the way she looks, we are just examining a broader issue of which this is an example.

She isn't selling anything even REMOTELY related to her skin/body/sex-appeal.

And yet, in this culture, i guess EVERYTHING is related to that.
Imagine a world in which the best advocates for PETA (or some other organization) were simply extremely accomplished people from all walks of life, with varied sorts of appearances (as people have when they aren't chosen FOR a specific body-type or look that they have). And those people, people who are presumably admired by many of us for their accomplishments would maybe make us stop and think "gee, I admire this amazing writer/thinker/philosopher/athlete/business-person/human-rights-lawyer/astronaut. i have always felt this perosn is intelligent/kind/admirable/honorable and maybe i will listen to whatever convinced him/her to go veg, and just see if it convinces me too." I mean we should all think for ourselves, but if ANYone is going to have some influence or open my mind to something, it will not be based on their looks/weight. i feel it shouldn't...

But instead, it's just about some girl's sex appeal. So yeah, it's those two things - the fact that women's sex appeal is used to sell anything and everything, and the separate issue that sex appeal is synonomous with extremely thin and inrealistic "ideals".

I feel like I'm totally explaining the obvious but i guess not everyone sees this as obvious...

And if it's not clear why it's demeaning to use women's sexuality to sell everything, then again - what i think is obvious - it implies that that is what defines our worth, it encourages viewing us as a sexual object.
I'm not saying women must not be sexual or that it is some big no-no to use that in advertising, but the fact that its in EVERYTHING, things that are so friggin unrelated to sex-appeal, is worth looking into.

whew. sorry to rant so long. and april, i'm sure i haven't changed ur mind or anytihng i just wanted to specify what we're talking about here.

cggirl said...

(eek. pls forgive all my typos and spelling/grammar errors, was typing fast)

cggirl said...

ok, this might be a little off topic and this might upset some people, but it is generally related to what we discuss here and i'm just gonna say some stuff.

see, i recently saw this documentary called Thin about and eating disorder clinic. And the worst thing by far was the young girl so horribly anorexic and her mom who is anorexic too, and this girl never had a chance. u have to see it, how they sit there picking at their food. and the documentary in general is intersting.

cut to, just now, i'm reading april's comment and i check out her blog.

i think to myself, "in what universe is this CR business not an eating disorder?
it's just another name for anorexic behavior."

And please, if u think this lengthens ur life, please read The Obesity Myth or something, the facts really don't support that theory.

Then i thought "who the f am i to tell anyone they have a disorder?"
It's not my business. But, this CR blog and countless anorexia blogs - all obsessively dealing with food etc - are up ther online so i guess it cant be TOTALLY offensive for me to spout my views. After all, it's all out in the open and people can just ignore me as i'm sure they will.. or respond and say their opinions as well...

Anyway, if u wanna live like that then fine, whatever. even if i'm right, ur only hurting urself so thats ur choice and ur responsibility. But i think back to "Thin" and i think that these women whose blogs i see are in such a place.... I don't mean specifically just april, a LOT of commenters here seem to have similar "lifestyles, i look at their blogs sometimes and wonder what they are looking for here on this blog... And I think to myself, good god, these women are going to have children some day.

and THAT scares me, what these children - esp daughters but sons too - will inherit and learn.

all this obsession... how people who devote blogs to their diet, who in some cases (i think, i could be wrong) have trouble holding down a job because it interferes with their dieting, can then tell themselves they have a peaceful healthy relationship with food - this astounds me.

well, i'm sure im not changing anybody's mind but i did feel like expressing it and hey all the other people can share their opinions so.

And had i not seen Thin and that mother-daughter hell, i wouldn't even say anything.

btw, here is an interesting post of Kate's where she links to an interesting article.
and i love that this thin woman ate, before she went on this diet, MANY more calories than people somehow think they "should" eat or than people think a slim person eats. it's just an interesting read (tho she too says that if she ever got overweight she would do some balanced diet to lose the weight, but i'm guessing because she was thin she has never seen that those things don't necessarily work. but i digress, that's not really the point. u should read kate's post and the article she links to.)

aanyway im sure people will be pissed at me now. and maybe i shouldnt look at their blogs anymore because it just upsets me and then i react and then that upsets them and it certainly wont change anybodys mind.
and maybe as a result i shouldn't read, or i should ignore, some of the comments on this blog. because i don't want to be the bitchy commenter. esp since it's not my own blog i'm only a guest.

so i guess, that rant out there, i should shuddup. slam me if u wish.

April said...

I have written extensively about how CR is different from EDs. For example, unlike almost all the women who post here, I don't hate my body. I love my body. And my life. So I want more of it.

I don't spend countless hours wondering how I could stop hating myself. Cause I never hated myself in the first place.

I spend some time figuring out how I can be my healthiest, and feel my best. Is that a crime? Feeling my best isn't about stuffing my face with crap. It's about taking care of myself, on ever level. Physical, mental and spiritual.

Have trouble holding down a job? What the F are you talking about? I'm probably the most successful union organizer in the country. Sometimes I overeat when I'm on the road... big deal. It's something I'm working on. Just like I'm working on new skills in my meditation practice, and improving my workouts and learning how to cook new dishes.

You should really read more, or think more, before you post. Or maybe your own head is so fundamentally disordered around food that anyone who can exercise any sort of self-control is going to bother you.


April said...

Just to be quite clear: I was replying to ccgirl, not Dr. Stacey. Dr. Stacey has never, as far as I know, made such uninformed and insensitive comments about CR or me personally.

In fact, I really like Dr. Stacey.
And any day now she's hopping down to Philly for a cup of coffee good enough that it doesn't need cream and sugar!


Alyssa said...

April, cggirl was simply stating her opinion, which you both have every right to do. She even said in her comment that it was just her opinion, and it was not meant as an attack on you or anyone else. That's what this board is meant to be, a safe place to express ourselves.

cggirl said...

Alyssa thanks for that.

And April thank you also for your response, i did read what you wrote.
of course, I disagree with your assesment of me when u say about me "your own head is so fundamentally disordered around food that anyone who can exercise any sort of self-control is going to bother you" but u have every right to say it, especially considering what i went and said...

And, as always with these things, i still think pretty much the same as i did and u still think pretty much the same as u did but at least we both got it out there.

And just as u said we will have to "agree to disagree" about the original issue of this post, so i guess we must agree to disagree on what is disordered and what is healthy, and on what does or doesnt constitute a good example for children and other people we might influence.

I'm glad u did say the things u wanted to.

April said...


Thanks for your note, and I encourage you to continue reading my blog and reading about CR in general and perhaps re-evaulate your opinion. I suspect that we're on the same side of most issues, but I do think you've made a snap, emotional judgement that with a bit more research you may reconsider.


zubeldia said...

I think that people with eds do tend to have a particular view of CR which reveals some assumptions on our part - namely, that we tend to think that anyone who 'thinks' about food and who is restrictive in some way, is effectively manifesting - albeit in a veiled or coded way - disordered eating. I think this reveals a tendency in the recovery community (including professionals) to formulate 'recovery' in quite monolithic ways. This is a shame, I think, because, personally speaking, I don't think it's all that helpful to define recovery by eating what is 'typical'.

On the surface CR and AN DO seem quite similar. Indeed, both groups of people intentionally eat restrictively. I don't think it's accurate to suggest, though, that what distinguishes CR from AN is the emphasis on nutrition. I am in recovery from AN and I eat only foods which are highly nutritious... but that's because I have orthorexic tendencies (great!!). Behaviourally, then, there might not be much of a distinction, but I think that cognitively there is (not always, as I do think that many people hide within the CR community in order to veil their clinical eds).

I think that anorectics tend to view eating with fear and dread (whether they enjoy eating or not), whilst CRers (like April) look forward to trying out new healthful dishes. It's not that easy, of course, because the fact is I enjoy eating my kale salad and hummus, but I enjoy it because it's 'safe' and even if I am hungry and lacking in fat I will be unlikely to eat more (although I am of course challenging that).

All that said I do sometimes think that CRON seeps into orthorexia. ON is not a clinical diagnosis and much has been written about it being a ridiculous disorder, but I can say that from personal experience, obsession with perfect foods and CRON (which I was doing last year until I relasped) sometimes left me as despairing as AN.

I don't, then, think it's a simple, black and white divide, but there are qualitative differences and these are important for the practitioner of CRON as well as the AN sufferer. But, yet again, we ALL live in a society where certain images are valorized as ideal, and food choices have become loaded with moral meanings which get linked to the consumer's worth and sense of self. I don't think that any of us can claim that we are exempt from these messages and meanings for we are all a part of a dynamic culture. I think it would be erroneous and short-sighted to say that any of us can escape culture and society and their powerful messages.

cggirl said...

zubeldia i just read ur post, interesting thoughts and i never even heard of ON before so that's definitely interesting.

i agree very much with what u say about how we can't escape the influences of the culture in which we live.

also, just for the record, i've never had anorexia or bulemia or some such defined disorder.
but i am, like zubeldia says we all are, influenced by this culture so in the sense that "every woman has an eating disorder" i've had that, when i was younger - that message shoved down my throat and the thoughts and behaviors that ensue.

that's just to put into context the things that i say. cuz i dont have any type of blog about eating or ED or anything that would give u an insight into where i'm comin from...
the only blog i have is of my thesis project. ur all welcome to read that. funny, i dont think it ever mentions what i ate, how many calories it was, or anything like that.

Anonymous said...

As a vegan who has read Carol Adams, I really wish PeTA would understand what the hell they're really doing. A healthy view of food has to include consideration of where it came from, and a healthy view of ads has to include consideration of how all other movements fit into animal rights--that is, don't treat women like meat to make a point about meat!

Iron-Man said...

The message seems to be that if you too become a vegetarian then you can get a nice piece of ass. Or for women, it could be that if they become vegetarians then they will look like a nice piece of ass.

drstaceyny said...

Great responses. My first thought, similar to Nixtress, was "Be a vegetarian and you can look like this," sort of an Atkins backlash. My focus was definitely on her body exposed as an ideal. Certainly, too, as others have mentioned, there's the sex piece.

I appreciate your humor--kate, cggirl, rachel #2. Rachel #1, what an excellent point. I don't EAT meat, but I sure as hell AM meat. Iron-man confirms this as the message.

To April, Cggirl, Alyssa, Zubeldia--I want to thank you for this interesting discussion and more for the way you all handled it. Yes, we can have very different opinions (or similar ones) and still want to discuss and debate, but I hope we can do it w/respect. For many women, particularly the "every woman" I discuss, talk abt CR is triggering in that it feels restrictive, reminiscent of intentional, body-influenced deprivation. For some CRers, this may be the case, too. For April, and others (it seems, according to their writing), it's not. They want to live longer, and they believe that this will help them do it. I think it's a touchy subject, and while I fall in the camp of thinking it sounds restrictive (and categorizes food as good or bad), I can certainly appreciate how ppl like April are motivated to engage in CR for other reasons. As with most else, we have to look at individual motivation. Individuals, in turn, have to know their motivations, both conscious and below the surface. I commend you, Cggirl, for sharing your reactions to CR and you, April, for explaining the differences between CR and AN (again, for you) and letting us know more about yourself. And, look forward to that cup of coffee. I'm willing to pass on the sugar, but, c'mon, no milk, too? ; )

miss m said...

As a long-time vegetarian, I think this has more to do with the popular impression of vegetarians as passionless than about body image.

I hate going on dates (hence why I'm partnered now), when inevitably somewhere between the fact that I down whisky shots like there's no tomorrow and love boxing it happens to come out that I'm a vegetarian. Watch the men back away, and never call you again. I can only assume it's because they imagine I'm terrible in bed, or high-maintenance, or some other horrible thing.

Sorry, but when it comes to dating and mating, it can't be denied that sexiness is part of the whole package. Yes, we all want someone to love us regardless of body issues. But it's great if they find us sexy too.

Put up with that sort of rubbish long enough and you'll cling to the first man's man you meet who is secure enough in what he enjoys to not care that you don't eat meat.

Also worth keeping in mind that Alicia has suffered her share of nasty public scrutiny and was called 'Fatgirl' when she starred in the Batman franchise way back when. She looked awesome then, and she looks awesome now.

Hurrah for Alicia, who I thought was actually a vegan, anyway.

Anonymous said...

I think she looks beautiful.

Anonymous said...

So this is where my money would go if I supported PETA: advertisments for promoting nudity. If I enjoyed looking at nudes, I'd probably be motivated to keep killing animals, so PETA could keep up the nude advertisments. PETA has a reputation for their bad taste in getting the message across.