PETA (People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals) is known for a lot of things. Their undercover exposés of factory farms and slaughterhouses has done a lot to change animal agriculture industry regulations and help the general public become aware of where their food comes from. Unfortunately, what PETA seems to be most known for is the often ill-conceived way that the organization likes to protest and advertise. The following are but a few of the worst examples found in a recent Google search:
I can't for the life of me figure out why this woman is nude. It seems like the message would be perfectly clear without the addition of barely covered breasts. I know you're trying to draw attention to the matter, but it just seems a bit gratuitous and kind of obscures the intended message. I imagine the process of making this ad went a little something like this:
PETA Ad Maker 1: "Hmm... What could make the idea of adopting unwanted pets more appealing?"
PETA Ad Maker 2: "Umm... Boobies!"
PETA in general: "GENIUS!"
And then they all high five.
Again with the tits, although this time they're a bit more covered. GENIUS!
This one is vaguely racist and uses the same tactics as fashion advertisers when they want to portray something as exotic; they use a person of color. Portraying a wide variety of ethnicities in your advertising is a great idea, it's just sad to see the old "Brown people = Exotic!" trope trotted out time and again. Although...
That last one doesn't seem nearly as bad as this one. Sure, I get the point your trying to make and it's a very good one. However, running around town in a KKK outfit REALLY sends people the wrong message, guys. Most people who see this are going to quickly walk to the other side of the street without ever reading your sign or asking for an informative flyer. This is a pretty good example of how the message their trying to portray gets lost in the controversy of the method they use to portray it.
It's not like they use sexism and body image issues to objectify only women. Here's one where they go after the guys. Because, obviously, looking like a lady is a VERY BAD THING. Which makes it sort of sexist toward ladies too. Good job guys. But it gets worse...
Downright fat shaming. To me (a fat vegan female), this is the worst kind of sexism/potentially even worse than sexism. Insulting the general public is not going to gain you any allies. PETA was eventually forced to remove this billboard.
Downright sexism. No wonder feminists seem to hate PETA more than anyone else (which is a shame because, if they knew what they were doing, they might make good allies). Also, PETA, you're sending seriously mixed signals here. Is fur supposed to stay on the animal of origin or not? If so, why advocate genital shaving?
These are two billboards that were put up in Wichita, KS. Why is this significant? Wichita is where Dr. George Tiller was gunned down by an anti-abortion advocate. These billboards were put up right after the murder; one to appeal to pro-lifers and one to appeal to pro-choicers. I don't think "tactfulness" is in their vocabulary.
And this is part of the reason why PETA has become one of the most hated activist groups. Their one-track-mindedness (convert people to vegetarianism at any cost!) has a way of offending everyone out there. A lot of vegans/vegetarians don't even approve of them. Furthermore, their tactics, for the most part do not work, as evidenced by these images (and others like them) I found while digging up the ones above:
Those are two very, very good examples of how the message gets obscured by the method of portrayal. Unfortunately, I don't think anything short of a complete overhaul of the organization's leadership will do much to change their mind on the matter.