Say what you will about People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA), but the group has a reputation for being a juggernaut of ingenuity. As we told the Richmond Times-Dispatch earlier this year, PETA is "fiendishly creative, diabolically media-savvy, and almost always wrong." But the more we learn about PETA, the less impressed we are with its reputed creative streak.
Last year in our report Holy Cows: How PETA twists religion to push animal "rights," we described how the group lifted the concept and design for its outrageous "Holocaust on Your Plate" campaign from a traveling pro-life photo exhibit. But last month USA Today did us one better. The paper’s June 6 issue carried a retrospective look at a 1968 women’s-lib demonstration against the Miss America pageant. The Atlantic City protest’s most memorable feature, captured by an Associated Press photographer, was a poster-sized photo of a nude woman with her body parts marked to look like cuts of beef.
Compare this with a PETA protest last Thursday in San Diego (modeled after a now-eerily-familiar 2002 PETA poster of actress Traci Bingham), in which a Playboy model was painted to look like … well, cuts of beef.
Setting aside the obvious idea-pilfering going on, it’s ironic that PETA would choose this particular image to copy. The 1968 protest’s chief complaint was about a beauty pageant that allegedly treated women like pieces of meat — a practice that PETA has no compunction about continuing today in its own twisted fashion.