Corn Porn or Veggie Love?

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Does PETA need to change its name from "People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals" to "People for the Ethical Treatment of Women"?

In an attempt to sell the fact that "Vegetarians have better sex," PETA's banned Super Bowl ad features scantily clad women "making love" to vegetables. Though the actual ad itself, "Veggie Love,"is no worse than the Burger King ad featuring Paris Hilton washing a car in a bathing suit, the real concern lies in the casting video posted to Facebook and PETA's website.

Its content may sound hard to believe - women sucking on squash and spanking themselves with celery. Despite its obvious kitsch and its reliance upon the profane and phallic, concern has risen as to whether this video is truly meant to convince people to opt for vegetarianism or if it is an offensive, misguided attempt that strays far from what PETA says it's all about - animal rights.

Though this video is supposed to advocate for vegetarianism, its attempt to do so is not sincere. What do two women simultaneously sucking on either end of a carrot have to do with someone becoming vegetarian?

As a vegetarian myself for eleven years, do you want to know what made me decide to give up meat? It was reading about cruelties in the meat industry and videos like "Meet your Meat." But this video takes the vegetarianism cause, which has real implications and importance in our society, and transforms it into a shameless, mocking parody. How are people supposed to take PETA seriously now? What can ameliorate the fact that women are perceived as being degraded in this video? When the majority of PETA's membership is women, perhaps it is not the best marketing idea to make a video that most women will find offensive.

This video plays into the overly sexualized culture that we live in because it pointedly represents the traditional modern stereotype of what is considered sexy - a woman who is thin, large-breasted and willing to please. In no way are the diverse qualities of women, which should be celebrated and embraced, represented in this video.

When we are constantly bombarded with images of women wearing less and less, it inevitably makes one wonder whether our cultural visage is only working against us. What is the point of working hard to be respected for your mind and your accomplishments if you will still be viewed as a sexual object?

PRO

I will admit the PETA casting video is semi-pornographic. Though it's nothing worse than you would see on MTV, PETA's main demographic is women, making a video that features women in bathing suits "making love" to vegetables a questionable choice. However, it could be argued that PETA is gaining success through its provocative and controversial ads.

Moving on from dousing women in fur coats with red paint, perhaps PETA is starting to embrace the old adage that "you catch more bees with honey than with vinegar." Maybe it is attempting to stray away from its older demographic and attract a new, younger crowd. Hot women in bikinis fondling vegetables? Suddenly, every prepubescent boy with a secret fetish for eggplant is willing to give your cause a chance.

When you're advocating for a cause like animal rights, most people would rather remain ignorant and apathetic. As a result, it's not surprising that PETA will go to unexpected lengths to attract people to their cause. Marketing isn't written in stone. It's about pushing boundaries to get people to talk about your product, which, in this case, is vegetarianism.

My first thought when I saw this video is that it is trying to be ironic. Overly sexualized women are used to sell countless products in today's market, and whether you're for or against this particular method of branding, it doesn't change the fact that sex sells.

Could it be that PETA is attempting to throw this fact in our faces? Or could it be they actually be making a point about the objectification of women in ads, rather than jumping on the bandwagon as everyone assumes?

Lastly, saying that this video is degrading to women is applying a standard upon them, which is limiting in itself to what sexuality is supposed to represent - freedom. These are obviously confident, healthy women who are taking part in an ad and having fun with it.

Is feminism about saying what is or isn't offensive? No, it's about embracing the fact that women have reached a new level in our development and that perhaps our sexuality is just a new aspect of freedom of expression rather than a means of suppression and victimization.

Maybe this is an extremely open-minded view of women and their sexuality but I would say let them act how they want. Although you personally would not act this way and you personally find it offensive, who are you to judge?

Tags: FACEBOOK, SEX, PETA, SEX ISSUE 2011, SUPER BOWL


Tell Summer Dunsmore how you like your vegetables at [email protected]



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