Image credit: Associated Press
From Pamela Anderson stripping people at airports via women donating their bodies for barbecue to making fun of fat women, PETA is no stranger to using women's bodies to make their case for animal rights. But, perhaps wisely, they were unusually restrained when they took their "lettuce-clad woman" brand of protest to Jordan. And they still got banned. (They also annoyed some animal rights activists in the process!)To be fair, I should note that PETA argue that they never "use" women's bodies—they say women use their own bodies to protest animal abuse, and they do it because it works.
When Jordanian activist Amina Tariq made her protest for vegetarianism, walking the streets of Amman clad in lettuce leaves, she did so in a much tamer manner than we are used to from PETA. But according to France24, her efforts still got her protest banned by Jordanian police, who argued that she did not have the correct permits.
But the police were not the only ones who objected. According to The Guardian, even many animal welfare campaigners in the Middle East object to PETA's vegetarian agenda:
"The case for vegetarianism rarely gets a sympathetic hearing in the region. Many Arab intellectuals and even animal welfare campaigners believe it is not a readily accessible concept. One activist who is not vegetarian was angered at PETA's plans earlier this month to hold a demonstration promoting vegetarianism in Egypt. "Egypt is not ready for such a lifestyle and there are other aspects dealing with animals that should be looked at first,"
There's no doubt that meat plays a central role in Middle Eastern cuisine and Arab culture—so advocating for vegetarianism may make animal rights campaigners look like the lunatic fringe to many in Jordan. As I've argued before, it's important for campaigners to have a plan for winning, not just making noise.
On the other hand, given the rise in meat consumption worldwide, the impact of carnivorous versus vegetarian diets is a global issue. So it makes sense from PETA's perspective to make it a global protest too. Besides, it was kind of refreshing to see a PETA protester actually clothed for once, and given the media-savvy nature of the folks at PETA, I suspect that the intended audience for this protest stretched way beyond the Jordan river.