Trulie Ankerberg-Nobis is a People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals activist who has participated in what she calls “eye-catching” PETA demonstrations, such as dressing up in dominatrix outfit. In a recent article published in the Animal Rights Online newsletter, Ankerbert-Nobis defended such actions and attacked critics within the animal rights movement who criticize and sometimes even protest such events. Ankerberg-Nobis wrote,
I am an animal rights activist. I am also a feminist: I believe that womenÂ’s interests deserve equal consideration in all of life’s circumstances. I also am a PETA supporter and have volunteered for many of their “eye-catching” demos. I have dressed in a cow’s suit and a fur coat with a bag over my head. I have also worn a pleather “dominatrix” outfit to educate about the cruelty in leather and protested the circus as a tiger in a cage wearing orange body paint, pasties, and underwear. Most recently, with PETA I helped distribute Tofurkys as a “sexy Santa” in a mini skirt, crop top and high-heeled boots.
In cities throughout the Midwest we asked people to consider the animals this holiday season by going vegetarian. Many local activists were very helpful to us; their desire to help animals was very apparent. But we were not met with open arms at every location; in fact, some animal rights activists found this an occasion to protest us by not participating and emailing their condemnation of what they claimed is a “sexist” and “exploitive” kind of activism. I know that many take issue with “sexy” demos and ads for animal rights because this is believed to not be in keeping with a feminist perspective. However, as a woman and feminist, I believe that these demos are very much in sync with feminism. They are created by and volunteered for by women, smart women who realize that these costumes get valuable attention. The media is more impressed with demos where activists are in these costumes than others. This is a simple fact and PETA generates more media attention from their demos than many others. . . .
It’s ironic [no, it's not -- please consult a dictionary] that none of the activists offended at my sexy costume spoke to me. My male companion was the only one to hear their objections. I may have been considered too submissive and un- opinionated to have an answer and they “respect women” too much to discuss the issues with me. They may have been afraid to hear what I might have to say. Maybe they thought I was chained up and gagged by PETA since they were “using and objectifying” me? Did they think that I was nothing more than a sexual piece of meat who didnÂ’t know what was being done to her or able to make her own choices? This thinking further perpetuates the idea that women are incapable of taking care of themselves and taking on very serious activism for animal rights.
. . .
I donÂ’t think that women have achieved all that there is achieve for equality. But I do believe that, at least for women in America, we donÂ’t have that much farther to go. Compare this to the animals who are blowtorched, mutilated, vaginally electrocuted, impregnated to have their babies ripped from them and then tortured for their milk and meat, hacked open for science, and beaten, exploded and tormented for entertainment. In all seriousness, who is the exploited group? Considering the immensity of the problem of animal exploitation, I find that the majority of the complaining about PETA and their “using” women to be a distraction that needs to stop. I donÂ’t believe, and I’m sure that many will be offended at this, that people who choose to make an issue about women in PETA demos and ads have really considered the animals first. I would suspect that the animals would think that you could help them in better ways than sending off your emails in protest of PETA.
Right, because wearing a sexy Santa outfit or appearing as a dominatrix really stopped the sales of fur dead in its tracks, didn’t it? You have to have a special place in your heart for people who think that if they crawl in a cage they are engaged in important and effective political action.
Live Nude Girls: A Feminist Animal Rights Activist Tells Her Story. Trulie Ankerberg-Norris, Animal Rights Online Newsletter, February 1, 2004.
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