PETA Says: We Resort to Naked-Women-Gimmickry Because It Works

PETA responds to accusations regarding their naked women campaigns via Treehugger

First, please know that PETA isn’t using women’s bodies. Women are using their own bodies. The women who use their bodies as political tools do so willingly and gladly, and they don’t like to be told to cover up by other women who don’t agree with their choices. They feel that they have the right to express themselves in this way, and they don’t want some women dictating and criticizing them for how much skin they wish to show any more than women who lived during the early days of feminism and before wanted men to tell them to cover up.

As for PETA, we recognize the simple fact that there’s a lot of competition for consumers’ attention, so we are creative and provocative in order to make sure that people do turn around and stare and then learn something about the cruel industries that we fight. Our activists and celebrity supporters gladly use their bodies as a sure-fire way to draw attention to how animals are exploited. The women are not exploited–they are happy to participate in a social cause. They show about as much flesh as you might see at the beach. They are proud to be able to use their bodies for a good purpose–to draw attention to the suffering of elephants who are beaten bloody and forced to live in chains and to the plight of other animals who endure torture, isolation, terror, and violent death. And it works–Olivia Munn’s participation in our anti-circus campaign prompted more than 300 clothed people to participate in our protest against Ringling Bros. at the Staples Center in Los Angeles last week.

As an organization headed and founded by a woman and staffed largely by feminist women, PETA knows about the serious problems that women face, both here in the U.S. and in countries where women are forced to cover up and shut up. Impassioned individuals have been “going naked” since Lady Godiva protested taxes. We believe that all people should be free to use their minds and bodies as political instruments.

If we might be of assistance in the future, please contact me directly anytime.


Heather Carlson
Communications Manager
People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals

I could never really get as outraged as other people did regarding these naked women PETA campaigns. Do I like them? No, not really. I do not feel they speak to me or contemplate my potential emotional engagement so I have never paid too much attention to them. However, I was never too peeved by the nudity. Perhaps because I always saw the women who participated as autonomous subjects who were consenting to the objectification. There is a fundamental difference between an adult who willingly chooses to participate in such a campaign and an oppressed women/young adult/ girl/ child who does so because they lack any other options or because their agency has been removed and there is no possible consent.

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