I would have thought that anyone arguing for a connection between PETA and pornography would have to suggest that objectification of women expressed via pornography was comparable to the objectification of animals in the meat industry production lines. Treating women like pieces of meat and then treating animals like only objects made of meat, as opposed to living creatures, would be a connection that, I think, could be made without too much of a stretch.
So when I read the news that PETA planned to create an “animal-friendly porn site,” I was taken aback.
What does that even mean? Is this a site that treats animals the same way we treat other humans? Will this be a bestiality site? Presumably PETA will include images of animals being mistreated in parallel to the pornography–though it’s hard to know, given the organization’s history of outrageous public stunts.
I can hardly believe I need to say this, but apparently it needs to be said: objectification of non-objects, be they women or animals, is problematic at best.
I am willing to admit to a basic natural hierarchy: human beings are above animals, which are above plants, which are above rocks. While some may not be okay with this sort of hierarchy, it is pretty clearly laid out in the Genesis narrative (regardless of how literal you think the timeline is).
But what blows my mind about this entire venture is that rather than bringing animals up to the level of humans (PETA’s discussion of ‘humane’ treatment of animals), PETA appears to be willing to bring women (presumably; I suppose the site could be primarily images and videos of men, but that seems unlikely, considering PETA’s history with commercials) down to the level of how animals are being treated: as objects.
Is that the message PETA is trying to communicate? Show us the objectification of animals by objectifying women?
It strikes me that their marketing department decided to act without actually thinking through the implications of their selling point.
Sex sells, but does it really sell equal treatment of living beings? I doubt it.