Angry FrustratedFair warning, if you couldn’t tell from the title, today is a swearing ranty day.  PETA is up to their old tricks, using fatphobia to try to convince people to become vegan.

This time it’s with a proposed ad that creates the optical illusion that a bus is tiling to the right because of a fat man with the slogan “Time to Go Vegan.”


Fuck you PETA.

First of all, I’m not excited about a campaign that tries to get what they believe is the ethical treatment of animals accomplished through the unethical treatment of fat people. Maybe they should change their name to PUTOFF (People for the Unethical Treatment of Fat Fatties) at least the acronym would be apt.

Also, I hate to break it to PETA, but a guy who looks the one in their picture could easily BE a vegan.  There are fat vegans.  And they are often treated horribly by the vegan community because of bullshit like this that suggests that a vegan diet will make everyone thin, that being thin should be the goal of a vegan diet, and that any vegan who is not thin is a “bad example” of veganism. If you really believe that being vegan is the right thing to do morally, then perhaps take a pass on creating a culture of shame, stigma, bullying and bigotry toward people who are doing what you believe is the right thing, because you don’t like the way they look.

PETA spokesman Ben Williamson told Creativity (where you can leave a comment by the way) that the ad is “a light-hearted way of putting across a life-saving message.” This is a stunningly clear example of why people who aren’t the targets of bigotry (including and especially those creating the bigotry) should not get to comment on the severity or likely effects of it.

I hope that the irony of using humor based on bigotry to forward what a group believes is a social justice issue is not lost on anyone. And I hope that PETA takes their fatphobic bullshit and fucks right the hell off.

EDIT!  A note about comments:   One of the things that I love most about this blog is how awesome the comments section is and how respectfully people generally disagree and stay on topic.  That said, I know that food choices can be something that brings up a lot of emotions so a quick reminder that this is a space to talk about the Size Acceptance and Fat Activism, Health at Every Size etc., it is not a place to moralize about food, or shame anyone for their choices around food – even if you’re passionate about your beliefs, even if you’re certain that what you believe is right and what others believe is wrong.  Those are conversations that you are absolutely allowed to have, you’re just not allowed to have them here.  I ask that you please respect my request and don’t make me spend a bunch of time moderating comments. If you have questions you can check out this post and/or feel free to e-mail me at Ragen at danceswithfat dot org.  I hope you understand. Thanks.

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38 thoughts on “F*ck PETA

  1. As ISIS is to Islam, cults are to Christianity, misandrists are to feminists, so PETA is to vegetarians/vegans. I’ve been a vegetarian for 17yrs and a mostly vegan for 5yrs and I’m fat. PETA is infuriatingly aggravating.

    1. OMG YES. I’m all for animals being treated better in every way possible, but I hate PETA for a million and one reasons. They’re sexist, racist, fatphobic shitbags. Sometimes I think they’re out there just to make the concept of animal activism look like a joke.

  2. I have literally never seen a PETA ad that didn’t make me cringe.

    Also, I’m pretty sure messages like this can be particularly damaging to people with disordered eating. Like my co-worker who successfully convinced many people that she was merely “health-conscious” with her increasingly restricted diet. Cut out wheat. Cut out fat. Cut out artificial sugars. Cut out added sugars. Cut out white carbs. Cut out all carbs. Go paleo. Cut out red meat. Cut out all meat but fish. Cut out all meat protein. Go vegan. Cut out all members of the onion family. Cut out all legumes. Cut out nuts. Cut out more and more and more until she’s living off of raw greens and green tea because fruit is “bloating” and her own body is eating itself alive. Because we’ve been pushed the message that

    health conscious = losing weight/being thin

    and that

    being thin = being healthy = restricting food

    And there’s nothing wrong with choosing not to eat certain foods as a concept. Loads of people do it because the have ethical reasons, or for religion, or due to allergies or food intolerances, or just because they plain like eating that way. But when tell people over and over that this faulty arithmetic is not only true but a moral obligation, all it does is hurt people and allow people like my co-worker to convince their peers NOT to say anything but to actually praise her for far too long as she slowly kills herself.

    Not to mention the shifting logic of messages like this, which leave people convinced that a bus designed to take 50 people will tip if one fat person gets on, or a lift designed to take 20 people. Or a cart designed to carry passengers and luggage. Or a public bench or bus station or wall or table or hospital bed… until companies can actually get away with saving money by making things shoddily enough that they CAN’T take our weight knowing the only people who will be made to feel bad about it are the ones they’re no longer accommodating.

    1. It makes me so happy when people understand this. I hid my eating disorder from everyone for years behind vegan extremism, including literally cutting out onions and garlic because i read that they are “tamasic foods” in Hinduism… anyway, there is a part of the vegan community that refuses to simply acknowledge the correlation between ED and veganism and i feel like not talking about it is very harmful.

  3. I think “Fuck Peta” is pretty much spot on and all that needs to be said. They aren’t just fat-shaming after all, they also have a special fondness for misogynistic ads and racist ads too. Its like they are incapable of spreading their message in any kind of non-offensive manner.

    1. They’ve figured out that offensive ads are the best way to get publicity. Good ads with no shock value don’t make the news.

  4. I’m a lacto-ovo vegetarian, but…STILL FAT! I achieved my lowest weight (or close to it) while still gobbling down meat. That said, I’m not a vegan, either.

    I don’t believe in *shaming* people of a certain size, especially with the suggestion that they will automatically become thin if they eschew animal products. They have used fat as a stand-in for health problems which often have nothing to do with fat: diabetes, high cholesterol, hypertension, etc.

    Wouldn’t it be enough if they just put out a side-by-side comparison of the numbers of meat eaters versus vegetarians and vegans? The health benefits, by and large, are *still* there…they don’t need to go down the, “omg fat avoid it” route. It’s very disappointing.

    Considering that vegheads are still a small group (and the stigma goes both ways — vegheads against meat-eaters, meat-eaters against vegheads), you’d think PETA would have a better understanding of what it’s like to be a marginalized group…and not act to marginalize another. But, this is PETA, after all…

    I thought the whole point of choosing vegetarianism or veganism in the first place was usually for ethics or for health reasons. I didn’t know “so you aren’t fat” had to be one of them.

    It creates such a BS stereotype. When people learn that I’m a vegetarian, I often get the lookover and a, “REALLY?” When I confirm, I get a, “For how long?” They’re shocked to hear it’s been a few years. Sort of like that question means, “You haven’t been following this way of life for too long, I mean…you’re fat still!”

    PETA has the potential to do so much good. Instead, they wander around with offensive ads. I don’t know if anyone in the history of the world has ever been swayed to another position after someone offended the crap out of them.

  5. Much like Phred Phelps’ Westboro Whackos, PETA is all about the reaction. They care nothing about truth or even being convincing in their lies. All they care about is the attention they get when they get our hackles up.

    The most value I see in PETA is the fun of coming up with different meanings for their acronym name.

    People Exercising Truth Avoidance

    Propaganda Exiting Through Anus

    Promptly Euthanizing Tiny Animals

    Projecting Excretion Through Airways

    Now I can add:

    Promoting Exclusion Towards Adipose

    1. The “propaganda exiting through anus” is great! I also love the “projecting excretion through airways”. Hahahah!!!

    2. PETA headquarters is located in my area (Norfolk, VA, USA). This area is referred to locally as the Tidewater Area.

      PETA = People Embarrassing the Tidewater Area

      And they’re doing it again!

  6. I despise PETA. They’re so busy being controversial and what I’m sure they think is edgy that any potential positivity from their work is just lost in the drama. I saw this campaign and was fucking furious, since I also know fat vegans AND since I’ve gotten the “go vegetarian, you’ll lose weight!” speech many times.

    My mom’s been a vegetarian since she was 14 and she’s fat, so uhm, yeah. No. I’ve also had this argument with non-thin, non-vegans who are like, I don’t see how you can be vegan and be fat!

    Well, tough shit if you can’t piece together how it might happen. It DOES. And it’s incredibly insulting to assume that people who are both vegan and fat are lying about their lifestyle choice or food intake in some way. And it’s also none of your damn business in the first place.

    I was hoping you’d take this one on… I was just so appalled by this campaign. “Lighthearted” my fat ass.

  7. Is that a horrible PhotoShop job, or is that actually a graphic painted on the back of the bus, complete with black space and cut-off edges?

    Come on, PETA. You’re better at graphics than that.

    Also, PETA has a long history of being awful in various ways, so this doesn’t surprise me one bit.

    And, yeah, fat vegans do exist, and the intersectionality for them is horrible. People judge them for being fat (must stuff their faces with ice cream and bacon 27 times per day), and vegans judge them for being bad ambassadors of the vegan movement, because they don’t show the whole “eat vegan, be thin” message, and other people judge them for being vegan, because some people are just jerks that way, and really do care about what other people eat.

    Some fat people really do have glandular disorders. So do some vegans. Sometimes, Venn diagrams are real-life things.

    Intersectionality sucks, but it’s vital to understand it, because once we know that, due to intersectionality, pretty much everyone on this planet is part of some oppressed class, it makes us realize that we really need to stop with the oppressive behavior, and that NO class deserves to be oppressed.

    1. PETA is awful. They euthanized all of the animals in one of their shelters and placed the bodies in a Procter and Gamble trash bin for a photo op against animal testing. They are all “the ends justify the means.” They are disgusting and willing to hurt anyone to get their message out.

  8. Also, it’s only light-hearted if the target of your joke laughs, too. Real laugh, not the embarrassed, pained laugh of the victim of shaming.

    For example, a light-hearted joke would be when the husband of a known philanthropist complains about how greedy his wife is. Especially if they’re at the reception for a vow-renewal ceremony, after 50 years of make-the-neighbors-jealous marital bliss.

  9. That is absolutely horrific. WTF is wrong with PETA?! I mean really, let’s pick on another group to get our point across? Ugh. Real thought went into that ad campaign. NOT. I’m for the ethical treatment of everyone. Take that PETA.

    1. I guess PETNHA-CFH didn’t have the same ring to it (people for the ethical treatment of non-human animals- ’cause fuck humans).

      (I came here to remind that humans are animals, too)

      1. I’m sorry, I know I already commented on this today, but I can’t get over this blog post. Even before I knew that dieting was bullshit, I knew that veganism didn’t lead to weight loss. I’d say that’s fairly common knowledge. So, at worst, this ad makes PETA seem like fat-shaming assholes. At best, it makes PETA seem like they don’t know anything about veganism as it relates to weight. I don’t understand what they’re trying to accomplish with this ad.

  10. Oh! I get it! ‘Lighthearted’ is used ironically! Much like the way I’m about to ironically use this sledgehammer on PETA! Get it? Because they use sledgehammer ‘humor’ with me as a target to promote their message!

    Fuck PETA and the horse they allowed to walk into the room of its own volition with them.

  11. Creativity site is either down, or they removed the ad. I tried to register so I could comment, and since then, I haven’t been able to get there. If I could have, this would have been my comment:

    “Unbelievable, PETA. There are fat vegans. I’m sure you even know some. Being vegan is a choice based on ethics, not a reaction to a made-up, hollywood-imposed stigma about fat. To use humor fueled by bigotry to forward your social justice agenda is the ultimate irony. I used to contribute to your cause, but no more.”

  12. Frankly, this is just fucking appalling. I am no fan of PETA to begin with, since they were exposed for killing many of the dogs that were sent to one of their shelters near Baltimore some years ago and throwing them in dumpsters behind their facility. This just incites a special new kind of hatred for the hypocrites from me.

  13. As a person who works with mostly people diagnosed with eating disorders like anorexia nervosa and bulimia nervosa, I hear all the time, from many of my clients, “I am vegan” and this in the hope that they will be eating in a restrictive fashion in order to be and stay really thin. To that, I try to root out that monster ED and say, “no problem, there are plenty of plant based fats, oils, nuts and seeds to keep your body weight where it needs/wants to be.”

  14. Every time I see a ham-fisted (pun intended) PETA campaign, I want to go have a cheeseburger while wearing a fur coat.

  15. One of the things that concerns me, is what this might do to people who are fat for *sort of* dietry reasons… or more to the point, because they’re poor and eating healthy isn’t cheap (but boy isn’t it fun to get lectured by the dentist for giving a kid fruit juice because you can’t afford fresh fruit <3).

    A vegan diet, if that's what you really want/need, is all well and good, but there are definitely risks to it. Trying to carry out the diet in a fashion that still gives your body all the nutrients it needs isn't easy. It takes a lot of research, and care, especially when having to account for the fact that the body doesn't digest plants as readily as it does animals, so some nutrients (such as iron) may be high in certain plants but still largely inaccessible. Between buying substitutes for standard fare and all the extra little things needed to keep the diet nutritionally balanced… it's probably more expensive by far than not being vegan is (certainly gluten-free is enormously more expensive).

    So frankly, when the issue at hand is a lack of money, this suggestion is probably actively dangerous. Probably not a fatal one for adults, whose bodies can tolerate deficiencies better and are less requiring of some nutrients usually obtained from animal products. If there are children involved, though, or especially infants, veganism can be – and has been, many times – quite deadly without a great deal of care and money.

  16. Ugh and I thought their hirsute people-shaming anti-fur ads (and blatant hypocrisy) were bad enough. F*ck PETA indeed.

  17. Fat vegan here. Been vegan for almost 20 years because I love animals (not for weight loss, health etc). Like pretty much all vegans I have met, I hate PETA for exactly these reasons.

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