Thursday, March 27, 2008

Save the animals! ...what about the women?

"'My sole purpose in this universe is to save every possible creature from pain and suffering,' he said."

Johnny Diablo is trying to save all creatures from pain and suffering by avoiding all animal products and promoting veganism. However, he seems not to mind the "pain and suffering" to which he contributes by running a strip club--a vegan one, at least.
This article discusses the use of women's bodies--often naked or scantily clad--to promote veganism, including PETA naked protests and Diablo's new club in Portland, OR.

While I am no vegan, I do respect those who work for proper treatment of animals, and would agree that saving creatures from suffering is a noble goal. What I don't get, however, is the separation between saving animals and saving people. Women don't always need "saving," I suppose, but they do deserve not to be objectified for the sake of animals.

So yes, these women are posing and/or dancing for veganism voluntarily. But 'voluntarily' doesn't count the influences of a patriarchal culture which might just affect women's 'choices' to sell their bodies. And the thing is, the objectification of women's bodies and the use of their sexuality to sell a cause doesn't just affect the women in the pictures. Images of women in the media and that are projected by strip clubs and similar establishments encourage a view of women as something to be owned, enjoyed, used. These messages get carried out in violence against women, since violence against an object that exists for male pleasure is seen as a male prerogative. The women in these ads may not feel like they're betraying themselves, but I wish they would analyze more deeply the way these images are viewed by people and they way in which they are complicit with patriarchal goals and ideas.

This seems like a prime example of the ways in which oppressions intersect and the need to combat all types of oppression and injustice simultaneously in order to effect real social change. Even if you get some macho guy to eat a Boca Burger in your vegan strip club, he just learns that he'll be congratulated for objectifying women if he just doesn't eat animals while he does it.

What do you think?

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