What exactly is the link between sex and animal rights? It’s weird to even be asking that question, but inspired by the debate in Overland between Katrina Fox and Stephanie Honor Convery, I’ve been thinking about whether it’s okay to use sexualised imagery to raise awareness about animal cruelty. Sex sells, so where do we draw the line over what it should be used to sell? This is such a complex issue, and seeing as Katrina Fox and Stephanie Honor Convery are far more qualified than I am to comment on the issue and they express their thoughts so eloquently, you should probably read what they have to say on Overland for a more considered analysis – but for now, here’s my two cents.
So, the issue is this. In September, People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA) announced plans for a porn site, peta.xxx, to draw attention to their cause – provoking, of course, a lot of debate about the questionable ethics of using images that objectify women for political advocacy. It’s not the first time PETA has caused this kind of controversy – they’re known for using sexualised images to get attention. From the (comparatively more innocuous) “I’d rather go naked than wear fur” ad campaign to this ridiculous “vegetarians have better sex” ad, which is so gross it was banned from the Superbowl, they have a long track record of this sort of thing. (more…)