Longtime readers of Womanist Musings are well aware from my repeated posts on PeTA that I absolutely loathe them. There is no ism that they are unwilling to engage in, in order to get attention. The fact that their tactics routinely hurt marginalized people, is something that PeTA justifies by claiming that the ends justifies the means; and therefore; the harm done by their tactics is insignificant in comparison to ongoing animal cruelty.
In their latest debacle, PeTA has created an ad which tells men that if they go vegan, that they will have the ability to have such wild sex, that it is possible to physically hurt their girlfriend. They have even given the phenomenon a name - BWVAKTBOOM (Boyfriend when vegan and knocked the bottom out of me). It is described in the video as "a painful condition that develops when boyfriends go vegan and can suddenly bring it like a tantric porn star." They do however suggest that people visit their site to learn to go vegan safely.
Are your eyes rolling? How does PeTA manage to squeeze so much fail into a 32 second commercial? Like many of their advertisements, though women clearly participate, this ad is clearly aimed at heterosexual men. Gee, and they thought they were being original.
Plenty of women choose to engage in rough sex because they enjoy it, but this advertisement isn't about reciprocity or pleasure, it's about boosting masculinity by asserting that men will develop the ability to fuck their girlfriends with their powerful penises, which will result in our bodies being broken, thus marking us as their conquests. Masculinity in this case is represented by the ability to do physical harm to women through a sex act.
There are so many reasons why this suggestion is repulsive. This commercial glamorizes domestic violence and asserts that this is something that a man should be proud of. It denies consent, because while it is clear that the female partner consented to sex, there is no clear indication that she consented to the breaking of her body for the sexual gratification of her male partner. It further presents sex as something men perform on women, rather than an act in which both parties participate. There is also an undercurrent of homophobia, in that clearly gay men are excluded from this, because they sleep with men rather than women, and therefore; barred from claiming a masculine identity.
Watching this commercial the other thing that stood out is that PeTA made sure to have the woman dressed in a bikini and a neck brace, so that once again the audience could get a good view her body. This is yet another failure, because it makes the damages visible, and allows the actress to be sexualized yet again. No one walks around in a bikini in public to show off an abused and battered body. This was about reinforcing in the mind of the audience that a woman has been marked.
The more I looked at this advertisement, the less I understood how exactly it promoted a turn to veganaism. Nothing of what it asserted was true, and it was completely obvious. This is yet another of their by any means necessary routines.
Some feel that I am serving PeTA by repeatedly writing about their escapades, but I am not a believer that all exposure is good exposure. This sort of thinking reduces critique and allows their message to be presented with any sort of challenge, which is what PeTA actually wants when they produce advertisements like this. Saving animals does not have to mean engaging in any and every ism, and the sooner that PeTA learns this, the more effective their advertising will be.