A post at elephantjournal yesterday has got me thinking. The post is short and to the point, ultimately summed up in the title â€œDo PETAâ€™s Ends justify their Means?â€ Now, Iâ€™ve been grumblingÂ about PETA (People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals) for a long time because of what I believe to be a never-ending series of misogynistic ads. However, looking beyond the misogyny itself for a minute (itâ€™s difficult but go with me), this begs the broader question of which tactics we are willing to use to bring about the change we want to see.
I do see all oppression as linked and am therefore opposed to throwing one group under the bus for the sake of gains in one area (ahem, ENDA). Hereâ€™s the thingâ€¦ we canâ€™t create the world we want to see by consistently engaging in tactics that are inconsistent with our vision for the world, no matter how much attention those tactics may bring to our cause. Maybe objectification of women really isnâ€™t inconsistent with the world PETA is trying to create. (You kind of have to wonder at this point, right?) Iâ€™d like to think that most of us would hold ourselves, and the causes we champion, to a higher standard than that.
Sure, maybe we donâ€™t get as much attention as PETA. Maybe we donâ€™t garner as much publicity and therefore get as many donations. Maybe we make smaller, more incremental changes â€“ one person or small group at a time. To me, that is preferable to using outlandish and ultimately harmful tactics to get attention and make a point. Donâ€™t get me wrong, Iâ€™m all for outlandish as long as itâ€™s outlandish in a way that is consistent with my ultimate vision for the world. And, it seems to me that if the attention paid PETAâ€™s tactics were really reflective of their effectiveness then everyone would be a vegetarian by now.