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Pamela Anderson displays her parts for PETA

By July 20, 2010 9 Comments

Pamela Anderson's latest "political protest"

Was PETA neglected as a child? Was it deprived of attention as a young, burgeoning organization?

Why else would poor PETA feel the need to keep crying out for help by flaunting its half-naked celebrity supporters in compromising, often-sexist positions? To save the animals? Nah…

Once again, the ever-demure, painfully shy Pamela Anderson is causing a ruckus by baring her body in a controversial ad for the organization. Imagine!

Pam recently traveled to Canada and managed to piss off the world’s most notably polite population with her new poster for PETA (People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals). The ad features the critically acclaimed actress (seriously, she was brilliant in Borat) in a skimpy bikini and marked up like a butcher’s diagram.

To clear up any confusion regarding where Anderson’s most prized possessions are located, her parts are clearly labeled with helpful tags like “breast,” “leg,” and “rump” while the ad declares, “All Animals Have the Same Parts.”

Truly effective advertising, right? Aren’t you flooded with inspiration to go out and treat animals ethically? (Because if you need further motivation, check out last year’s thought-provoking, compassionate plea from PETA to “Save the Whales.” After all, who says campaigns should be tasteful and intelligent? Oh, most people? Nevermind then…)

In any case, officials weren’t so touched by the new poster’s wholesome message. Authorities denied Pam a permit to unveil the ad at a Montreal event, deeming the image sexist. An official explained, “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.”

Well, snap.

You’ve gotta hand it to that eloquent, anonymous authority. There really isn’t anything contentious about a stripped-down former “Baywatch” star seeking attention (I’m looking at you, David Hasselhoff). But the absence of controversy doesn’t translate to an inoffensive result.

PETA’s senior vice president Dan Matthews proclaimed, “I think that city officials are confusing ‘sexy’ with ‘sexist.’” Touche, Mr. Matthews. Because really, who doesn’t find a woman seductively emulating a slab of meat sexy (barring frat boys, perverts and lunchmeat enthusiasts)?

Pam in another subtle PETA ad.

As for Pam, she responded, “In a city that is known for its exotic dancing and for being progressive and edgy, how sad that a woman would be banned from using her own body in a political protest over the suffering of cows and chickens. In some parts of the world, women are forced to cover their whole bodies with burqas — is that next? I didn’t think that Canada would be so puritanical.”

Perhaps envisioning the entirety of Canada’s female population clad in burqas is a teeny bit hysterical, Pam? I get what she’s saying, and I understand that censorship is a slippery slope. But no one’s telling her to put her assets away (she can go use them in Montreal’s burgeoning exotic dance scene if she likes), but is it really effective to use them in a “political protest”?

It’s not really an issue of Puritanism; it’s an issue of using sex for shock value and assuming women can only assert authority by baring their breasts.

So while I always appreciate PETA’s mission and Pam’s passion for the cause, I can’t really get behind all the attention-grabbing insanity. Here’s a thought: show me a picture of an actual animal deserving ethical treatment in one of your ads, and I might take your organization seriously.

And no, “animals” sporting bikinis and barbed wire tattoos don’t count, despite any anatomical similarities.

— Michelle Konstantinovsky is a student at UC Berkeley’s Graduate School of Journalism and an avid admirer of shiny objects and preteen entertainment. It would be nice if you visited her website: www.michellekmedia.com. Also, she may learn to use Twitter more effectively if you follow her @michelley415.