Alicia Silverstone Strips for Animals?
This week, PETA launched a 30-second commercial featuring Alicia Silverstone emerging naked from a swimming pool. PETA is always thrilled to participate in the exploitation of women to get people to stop eating animals. Do people really stop eating animals because they see a naked woman, by the way? I don’t at all understand the connection. When I see a pornographic image of any kind, my immediate thought is: What is going through that woman’s head that makes her think what she is doing is a good idea for her. Or for ME?
PETA has dedicated an entire page on its site to Silverstone’s Public Service Announcement. Clearly, I must not be a member of the public, as it certainly doesn’t serve me well at all.
Watch the video. Read Silverstone’s testimonial. She does actually have something to say, and I think she and PETA minimize the principles of veganism by assuming people will only care if they are first seduced by a thin, gorgeous, young woman. As a woman and a vegan, I find the ad, like most of PETA’s sexist campaigns, insulting and disturbing.
Naturally, you can be just like Silverstone by learning about her favorite things and giving to her favorite organization (it rhymes with PETA).
I met Silverstone in the rest room at a PCRM event a couple of years ago in Washington, DC. She was sweet and shy and awkward. I wonder what she could’ve been thinking when she agreed to do the, um, PSA. As my husband reminded me this morning: "Oh please, you of all people know that Americans have the attention span of a gnat and you need to grab them while you have them with something really provocative. She appeals to women, who want to be skinny and gorgeous, and to men, who, well, you know . . . ."
That may be true. But it doesn’t make it any less offensive or unacceptable.
If Silverstone were doing a PSA for an autism organization or for Turtle Nest Village, which provides housing and support for youth who have aged out of foster care, would that be acceptable? My guess is that there’d be public outrage for connecting autism or foster care with pornography.
The reason Silverstone’s PSA is able to hit the airwaves is—unintentional irony. We are as accustomed to the exploitation of women as we are to the exploitation of animals. Why not exploit women to bring attention to the exploitation of animals?
Maybe because we’re trying to rid the world of both.
Check out Gary Francione’s recent blog post for more disturbing connections between sexism and speciesism.