PETA has a new ad campaign to encourage men to try a vegan lifestyle. Their approach uses sexual violence to equate virility and assumes this must appeal to men as good reason to try vegansim. The campaign labels girlfriends of men who go vegan as “victims” of BWVAKTBOOM: Boyfriend Went Vegan and Knocked the Bottom out of Me. The video above accompanies a whole site dedicated to this fictional phenomenon. This is not the only video; there is a whole section of videos. One portrays a woman talking cheerily about the “side effects” of her partner’s veganism while covered with bandages.
PETA presents these “side effects” as a reason to go vegan, as though beating a partner were a good thing. It is just another way sexual violence is used to sell something; in this case an otherwise healthy lifestyle. This campaign says that being vegan doesn’t have to mean losing one’s masculinity, because according to the website, veganism can encourage behaviors that appeal to men:
For years, women have been open to the physical, emotional, and karmic benefits of veganism. But now, more and more men are discovering the perks of a plant-based diet. More specifically, a dramatic increase in their wang power and sexual stamina.
In the videos above, “wang power” is equated with sexual violence. This maintains the idea that a sexual male is ought to be a controlling, violent male. Connect the Dots has a response to this disgusting ad campaign. The post addresses that PETA missed an opportunity to approach veganism through a sex-positive lens and just about everything else wrong with this ad:
What’s the real message here? Rather than a sex-positive take on veganism, this ad plays on traditional and harmful notions of masculinity. It perpetuates common norms, like power and violence, that support a culture of sexual violence and exploitation. It sends the same old, tired message that being a man is all about power, violent and sexual power, over women. We wonder if vegan men appreciate being portrayed in this light. And what are women good for? That’s obvious.
Why PETA would approach a male audience in this way is not only baffling but extremely offensive not just to women, but to men. This horrific ad campaign rests on all kinds of assumptions about men’s desires and actively promotes the idea that men should use violence to assert their sexual prowess. One can only hope PETA will respond with an apology.
One Plus Negative One Equals Zero: A Response to PETA’s Rapey Ad [Connect the Dots]
UPDATE: Here is a link to a petition asking PETA to terminate the campaign: http://www.change.org/petitions/tell-peta-violence-against-women-is-never-okay