FYI, PETA: If Your Ads Stopped Comparing Women to Cows, We Might Be on Your Side

PETA has never been one to shy away from insensitive advertising -- actually, in the past, it's embraced it -- and most of its promo efforts toe the line between edgy and offensive. But PETA's latest ad comparing rape survivors to animals stuck in the meat industry is so far past the line, we don't even know where to begin.

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Actually, that's not true -- we'll begin with the obvious: No matter how much you like animals, in no way is their experience comparable to a human experience. It's just not. 

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And look, that doesn't mean cruelty is excusable. It doesn't mean we shouldn't treat animals without the love and kindness we extend to humans. Maybe it doesn't even mean they should be bred for food, but that's not really the problem on the line here. 

The problem is this:

The problem is that this could be triggering to rape survivors. The problem is that you're telling these people -- these people who have already been dehumanized in one of the most horrific ways possible -- that their experience has no more value than an animal's. The problem is that we're still trying to convince the world that women don't deserve rape -- and comparing our experiences to those of animals isn't helping the cause.

Look, I'm a vegetarian. The ethics of the meat industry is part of the reason why, and I believe animals should be treated humanely. But none of that makes this ad OK. None of that makes the way it trivializes survivors' experiences OK.

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What's worse is that PETA has a history of degrading women in its ads -- using their unnecessarily naked bodies to sell an idea and comparing them to meat, among other things -- over and over. We never would have trusted it with something as sensitive as sexual assault, and this ad is proof that we were right to question its intentions.

PETA is, of course, standing by the ad. Ingrid Newkirk, the PETA president, gave a statement to Huffington Post:

It is rape when someone sticks their hand into a vagina or rectum without permission. Every decent person abhors and denounces sexual abuse of women but we cannot blithely accept the sexual abuse of other females who happen not to be human but have the same vulnerability to pain.

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The organization is also relentlessly tweeting back to Twitter users taking issue with the ad:

We don't expect PETA to stand down, but we wish it would. Yes, we need to protect the rights of animals. But we need to protect the rights of people first.

 

Image via PETA/Twitter

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