In its first ten years, the eBay Internet auction phenomenon has grown from a PEZ-dispenser and used-computer flea market into a truly bizarre bazaar. And just when we thought it couldn’t get any weirder, People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA) has entered the eBay world with a “cheeky” online auction that’s not for the weak-stomached.
Along with cars, stereos, and DVDs, eBayers can bid on novelty items like “haunted shorts,” magic duct tape, unmatched socks, 11-year-old bubble gum, a half-liter bottle of bad breath, and even what one auctioneer promises is a photo of imaginary monsters from underneath his daughter’s bed.
Even odder is the relatively new practice of eBay members auctioning off advertising space on their own bodies. In January one Nebraska college student started the trend, getting a $30,000 bid for the 30-day use of his forehead as a mobile billboard. Copycats inevitably abounded: “Your ad here” auctions on eBay now include offers for commercial tattoo-space on shaved heads, feet, faces, bellies, and — predictably — breasts. “The spoof,” a parody news website, even posted a story about a fictional man who planned to auction off space on his rear end.
Enter PETA. On Valentine’s Day the group launched a very real auction promising “your logo posted on voluptuous Kayla’s superior posterior.” In this case, “Kayla” is Kayla Rae Worden, the former Kevin Worden, PETA’s trans-gendered “lettuce lady.” PETA even provided a few photos (clothed, thankfully) of Kevin’s — er, Kayla’s — intended billboard space. PETA president Ingrid Newkirk told The New Yorker in 2003 that her group is made up of “complete press sluts.” We believe her.
Alas, the auction ended with no offers.
And just like its model, PETA is not what it appears to be. The supposedly warm-and-fuzzy group has endorsed arson, donated cash to domestic terrorists, openly rooted for a foot-and-mouth disease epidemic, and targeted small children with vulgar and sexualized propaganda. Click here to add your support to a petition aimed at removing PETA’s federal tax-exempt status.