Montréal bans Pam’s PETA campaign as sexist!

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WHAT? Montréal banned Pamela Anderson’s unveiling of her new PETA campaign, which was planned for Jacques Cartier square during her stopover at the Just for Laughs festival. Canadian born and bred Anderson, a long time PETA and animal rights activist, bared her bod – sporting a skimpy purple bikini – and covered by butcher markings indicating the ‘cuts’ or ‘parts’ of the body. The campaign slogan states: “All Animals Have the Same Parts – Have a Heart”.  It is not the first time Pam has stripped down – and not just for PETA of course.

Why did Montréal ban this ad? City officials stated that, “it is not so much controversial as it goes against all principles public organizations are fighting for in the everlasting battle of equality between men and women”, claiming that PETA’s latest campaign is sexist.

Now, it is amusing that I happened to post this same ad this morning in my post about Julianne Moore’s nude ads for Bvlgari, and I mentioned there that PETA’s use of naked women particularly is controversial among animal and feminist activists alike. Is the use of women’s bodies ever appropriate in the marketing of products or ideas, regardless of whether we believe in the goal or end?

I think the conclusion I am coming to here, is that we live in a society where women’s bodies are routinely used to sell us things. Is Montréal being proactive here by trying to nip sexism in the but? What about nude dancers? What about the scantily clothed models on billboards throughout the city? Sex shops? “Massage” shops? What about women being used, regardless of what they are wearing, to promote products and ideas? There are so many other deeply entrenched issues of sexism in our society, and in Montréal, that need to change before we stop using women’s bodies in this manner.

Personally, I like the ad, and I think it is making a powerful point, and I want to see us use what we have to make a powerful political and moral argument. Also, perhaps this PETA campaign actually works as commentary on sexism? Does the city just not get it? Also, I am not sure if PETA or Pam would suggest, but I think that it is important for them to draw parallels between the meat industries use of women and PETA’s objectives. Also, as I have discussed in other posts this ad I think draws attention to the way in which both meat and women are “consumable” and exploitable in our society? Is PETA committing the same crime, or are they commenting on it?

As another commentator said, perhaps we are confusing sexy and sexist? I am confused as to why Montréal is drawing the line at THIS? It is one of THE SEXIEST places in the world, and I truly do believe they are making an effort to eliminate sexism, but arguably, have no desire to eliminate all things sexy. It is a sexy city, and it does sexy well, and usually considerately. What happened here?

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