Just two more examples of animal rights protests that hurt women
There’s a stigma attached to animal rights protests, and we seem to be perpetuating it time and time again; animal rights activists care more about animal rights than human rights. And to no ones surprise, woman are the subjects of abuse once again.
This weekend, two protests in two very different areas sparked online debate. In Charlotte, North Carolina, a PETA protest against fishing begged onlookers; “don’t let your kids become hookers.” In France, 296 Life France staged the chaining, branding, and murder of women to represent the standard treatment of cows. Both stirred commentary about whether we care more about animals than people (in both cases, women), as we continue our unabashed use of the glamorization of gender violence and hyper-sexualization of women to try to get a point across.
It’s easy to first turn away from the criticism as the coverage and commentary is sometimes sold as a non-vegan deflection of the issues. But the reality is that even those who already understand and reject the exploitation of animals should be turned off by the half naked, blood-soaked, and injured women who are being degraded in an attempt to call attention to animal use. Yes, even the women who agreed to be permanently scared by hot irons are accomplices to this gendered violence. The misogyny of equating game hunting to selling our bodies, and the sexualization of thriving, half-naked bodies disgracefully attempts to sell the message through sex and violence. When will we learn that it’s not okay to contribute to the exploitation of some, in our efforts to decrease the exploitation of others? While this isn’t new for corporate charities, it feels like some groups are dangerously playing follow the leader.
Not only are the commentators and onlookers questioning our methods, they’re distracted enough by the theatrics to miss the buried intentions of ending animal use altogether. People are asking if animal rights activists care about the people instead of questioning if their own use of animals is wrong. With incredible human rights issues at the forefront of societies unraveling, our activism needs to be inclusive of all rights; human and non-human. It’s inappropriate to fight for equality for all, while simultaneously perpetrating imbalances in equality between genders, race, religion, etc. The vegans I know care more about human rights than non-vegans, but the loudest ones simply aren’t demonstrating that.
Effective advocacy lies in vegan education, and teaching people how to go vegan. It’s in reminding people that choosing not to use animals is about being fair. But to really advocate for change that incorporates all life, we need to stop these backwards demonstrations and tactics that sacrifice a clear message for sensationalism.