Last night I took home the galley (galleys are uncorrected proofs of books sent out by publishers) of one of Jeanette Winterson's latest novels, The Stone Gods. I love Winterson's writing, in part because of the precision with which she writes about concepts like language, gender, sexuality, power...
So it was awfully strange to read the opening sentence of the book's description...
Mankind has rendered its planet unlivable and is beginning to colonize a new blue planet.
PETA wants to advertise "Go vegan" message on border fence:
While many view the contentious border fence as a government fiasco, an animal rights group sees a rare opportunity.
People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals plans today to announce an unusual marketing pitch to the U.S. government: Rent us space on the fence for billboards warning illegal border crossers there is more to fear than the Border Patrol.
The billboards, in English and Spanish, would offer the caution: "If the Border Patrol Doesn't Get You, the Chicken and Burgers Will — Go Vegan."
Say what you will about the shock-schlock, soft-core oeuvre of filmmaker Russ Meyer, the man was definitely ahead of his time when it came to showcasing the hips-lips-tits-power! aesthetic that would eventually become inextricably linked to third-wave feminism. His best-known work, 1966's sinsister thrillride Faster, Pussycat! Kill! Kill!, has come to beregarded over the years as something of a prefeminist classic, but even those who cock a skeptical eyebrow at the equation of big-breasted go-go dancers + homicidal karate chops = empowerment can probably appreciate the film's gonzo exuberance, as well as its arresting black-and-white cinematography.
Of course I'm offended by the PETA ad campaigns. As a long-time radical lesbian feminist, I abhor the explotation of the female body and the objectification of women as nothing more than sexual beings.
I would never give a dime to PETA even though I am also strongly in favor of the humane treatment of animals
However, how does its strategy of using "shock" to draw attention differ from your magazine? After all, isn't calling yourself "BITCH" simply a way to show how chic and clever and modern you are, how 'in your face' you can be, and how you like to flaunt convensional standards of language and cultural acceptance
The word bitch (unless applied to certain animals) has always been and is still a derogatory and borderline vulgar term for women. Old fashioned ideas? Sure. But so is not displaying naked women in suggestive poses just to sell products or ideas.
For "Bitch" to complain about PETA is disingenuous and hypocritical.
This past weekend I attended a talk by Jen Angel – media activist, writer, and cofounder of Clamor magazine – whose energy and dedication to radical media activism never cease to amaze me. Jen recently published a pamphlet called Becoming the Media: A critical history of Clamor magazine (PM Press), a review of which will be running in the upcoming Loud issue of Bitch.