Manolo for the Big Girl Fashion, Lifestyle, and Humor for the Plus Sized Woman.

August 20, 2009

A Serious (shut up, I can TOO be serious) Question

Filed under: The Fat's in the Fire — Miss Plumcake @ 3:00 pm

So let me ask y’all a question.

I hate publicity stunts. Not that I haven’t pulled a few myself in my day but I’ve always hated myself in the morning.  In general I believe all manner of stunt publishing should be kept safely behind glass with “break only in case of emergency” written on it.

This holds particularly true for the “no such thing as bad publicity” stunts.  The stupid reality shows, the purposefully incendiary articles, I just hate to give them any press at all, which puts me in an odd position. Am I upholding what few shreds of journalistic integrity I’ve developed as a newspaperman or am I depriving my readers of the whole story?

Take for example PETA and their latest campaign that has a cartoon of a fat woman in a bathing suit with the heading “Save the Whales, Go Vegetarian” on it. I mean, that’s just tiresome to me. It’s a stunt, we all know it’s a stunt, and yet they’re getting tons of free publicity –they even just got a bit from this blog which makes me insane– because people see the bait and go after it.

This isn’t news; it’s marketing and by writing about it we’re unintentionally creating the most odious of all pseudo-journalistic droppings: the advertorial.

I mean, it’s not like we’re unaware that fat hate is out there or that any of us are shocked that PETA who has never met an anti-feminist image they haven’t wanted to exploit (see also: Pamela Anderson’s spokesnipples) are preying on women’s self-loathing, so it’s not like these people are offering us any new or useful information, by re-publishing them the only message it really sends is “if you ridicule fat people, you’ll get a lot of response.” and when print, television, radio and new media are ALL competing for your attention, that response –whether positive or negative– is solid gold.

So I’m opening it up to you. Do you want to see these stunt-type fat-bashing articles or links or would you be just as happy focusing on the positive?


  1. Well, I would prefer not to see links to fat bashing, but I do like it when you guys write about fat hatred and society, and when you link to people who are addressing fat hatred and the myriad delightful ways in which it can manifest. Also, I think that since you ladies are becoming one of the voices of the fatosphere (I hate that word, incidentally), it would seem odd if y’all didn’t comment on a high profile event.

    You’re absolutely right that vile dreck like the stunts PETA performs is a grab for attention, and I can see the rationale for not wanting to give it to them, but on the other hand, I am not a fan of staying silent when something not OK is going on.

    Comment by meloukhia — August 20, 2009 @ 3:29 pm

  2. Oh, keep the focus positive, please. There’s enough hatin’ everywhere else.

    Comment by rosarita — August 20, 2009 @ 3:29 pm

  3. Not that I always like their humor, but check out The Onion’s website for their faux news video “Advocacy Group Decries PETA’s Treatment of Women” wherein they mock “PETA’s sexist, shallow campaigns…”

    Just be sure you aren’t sipping coffee while you watch it, or you might need a new keyboard and monitor….

    Comment by Susan — August 20, 2009 @ 3:43 pm

  4. I like positive. Not to say don’t address these things, but perhaps link to the people refuting the dreck in calmer tones. (The most recent article you’ve posted comes to mind.) And perhaps then include a lovely shoe or dress, to make us come away happy.

    Comment by Ananas — August 20, 2009 @ 3:51 pm

  5. I would MUCH rather keep it positive. There’s enough hatred and negative publicity.

    Comment by Candice — August 20, 2009 @ 4:06 pm

  6. I think that it is important for us to become aware of issues as they arise. I’ve come to love this blog because it’s a lifestyle blog, not just *oh look killer shoes* (although I do appreciate that!!).

    I find PETA and the like (HSUS, Greenpeace, etc.) just to be attention whores – whatever they can do to make a buck to further their extremist causes. No where in medical literature will you find that meat = fat. Ugh! I’m on my soapbox – sorry!

    Comment by HurricaneDeck — August 20, 2009 @ 4:27 pm

  7. I’d prefer the positive as well. By all means report on these things, but only when you can do so in an amusing way or suggest something your audience members can actually do to make things better. I don’t suppose it would help if a bunch of large women picketed their offices decked out in furs? Because I’d volunteer, if it weren’t August…

    Comment by Jane — August 20, 2009 @ 4:44 pm

  8. I’d rather focus on the positive – honestly I usually skip the links when it’s an article on fat-hate or “OMG can you believe what that person SAID?” It’ll just make me angry – why bother? That being said, the politics and sociology of it interest other people far more than they do me, so I’m ok with seeing those posts. I just glance and move on :)

    Comment by Becs — August 20, 2009 @ 4:58 pm

  9. I’d like to focus on the positive. I think that this stuff needs to be acknowledged too, but I think that most of the people who read here, probably also read most of the other major, more politically vocal sites.

    I think that having a place that is pure snark, fluff, and fashion is awesome.

    Comment by Sony — August 20, 2009 @ 5:22 pm

  10. I guess reminding these PETA folks that PETA also stands for People Eating Tasty Animals won’t work either.

    Let’s just drop the hate and ignore these fools.

    Comment by dcsurfergirl — August 20, 2009 @ 7:15 pm

  11. I don’t know … Normally, I’m all for mainstream media IGNORING the idiotic stunts that people pull simply to get the media talk about them.

    But you have a blog that caters to an audience … not the general public. I hadn’t heard about the latest PETA stunt until I read it here. And I like the context and commentary here way better than if I first saw it on the local news, with some vapid barbie saying “have they gone too far?!?!?!?!!?” as if it’s an actual question.

    Now, if I hear some news preview that mentions PETA, I can simply turn it off, and never actually have to see the image that will make me annoyed and sad and angry and uncomfortable.

    Dunno – If I see something about it in the paper, I’ll be pissed, but here it makes more sense.

    Comment by MonkeyParts — August 20, 2009 @ 7:37 pm

  12. Knowledge is power. Being aware of happenings that are significant – and PETA is never significant to me – is the smart way to proceed. A discussion of legitimate issues is powerful. Hashing dreck from fools is never a good idea. I think each instance should be considered by the writers here and if it is determined a legitimate issue, then by all means let’s put it out there. We grow smarter, stronger, and more capable if we educate ourselves.

    And I don’t think we have to worry about PETA types showing up here, fashion is never on their “To Do” list.

    Comment by Melissa — August 20, 2009 @ 8:01 pm

  13. Positive with the occasional rip it apart height of ire take-down. I’m just sick and tired of PETA and was officially done paying attention to them after their “Sea-kitten” campaign. Quite honestly, I like that MfBG is such a funny, happy, space where I can read about proper etiquette Southern Lady Style and dresses and shoes. When I want serious, I go to Kate Harding.

    Comment by Sara A. — August 20, 2009 @ 11:53 pm

  14. I appreciate getting an intelligent opinion on that kind of thing – sometimes I’m so flustered that I don’t even know what to say, and reading responses like yours help me put words to my voice. That being said, I get that you don’t want to draw even more attention to the shitty stuff. So maybe mention the article/ad/whatever in dispute but don’t link to it; those of us that want to see it first hand can google, and you won’t be feeding the pockets of the fat-hating stunters. Also maybe a trigger warning-type thing at the top of the post? Maybe even something akin to a spoiler alert – readers who choose to read about it can click a link from the front page of the site to your article on it (not to the offending stunt itself), but those who don’t wish to see it don’t have to.

    Thanks for everything y’all do for big girls. It means the world.

    Comment by Melissa — August 21, 2009 @ 12:10 am

  15. As Melissa said. Knowlegde is power.
    I for one believe that it is very important to know just what messages are being broadcasted around the globe to see what people are doing for/against fat shaming.
    I have no problems with seeing them here as you write your thoughts about it first before we see the dreadful stuff. Being educated about a stunt is a far cry from enjoying them. Besides, you always give us happy fun things too to read.

    Comment by Ravna — August 21, 2009 @ 2:11 am

  16. PETA has been woman hating in act and in ads for as long as I can remember. Now they’re capitalizing on fat hatred–who is really shocked or surprised?

    I know they (groups like PETA) love to target the young with their message (lots of people with political axes to grind do–a few other great examples being skinheads and the KKK) so to a certain extent I believe commentary exposing the hatred behind the “ads” and campaigns in all media is necessary. I don’t think it should be the same kind of shock/shlock that PETA uses (you know, much of their protest imagery resembles porn–I’m thinking of that whole “naked woman in a cage wearing a chain, placed on a street corner for all to see campaign they just wrapped up), but I do think writing, somewhere, that their protest tactic sure seems to focus on abusing women publicly would go a long way towards helping women make their minds up about exactly where they ought to be sending their donations of money or volunteer time.

    I did a lot of work in the environmental/social justice arena years ago and there is a massive amount of sexism in that work everywhere you turn, despite the fact that so many women are fueling and propelling important change at the grass roots level. Young women in particular need to know that groups like PETA do invoke outrage even in those who believe in good environmental stewardship practices, and great respect for animals and the environment. They need to understand that these “green” ideas don’t have to include disrespect for people based on their gender or size, and they need to know other enlightened groups accomplish the same goals without adding to the general bank of hatred and discrimination in the world. After all, if you’re all about saving the animals but devaluing women and humanity in general, you simply cannot be “green” at all.

    So please keep writing to expose these folks whenever possible.
    Satire and humour, what you happen to do very well Miss Plumcake, go much further in devastating such hatred than you’d think; silence just lets it happen.

    Comment by chachaheels — August 21, 2009 @ 8:19 am

  17. Ditto what chachaheels said. PETA has the woman-hating routine down pat, and if they can’t see the connections between their exploitative ads and animal exploitation, then they aren’t going to be very effective advocates. And they aren’t.

    I have to say, though, back in the day with ads like that I’d just get hurt and shrink inside. Now that I have intelligent, funny, lively people like Plumcake, Francesca, and Twistie who say “What jerks” in the face of this kind of bad behavior, my internal dialogue goes “Oh, frack that” instead “You’re fat and fat is bad.” When people at work try to make me feel less or invisible, thoughts like “Plumcake wouldn’t put up with this sh*t” go through my head. It’s much better than the self-loathing narrative that I used to play in my head.

    Comment by Lisa — August 21, 2009 @ 11:39 am

  18. PETA sucks, and I say that as a vegetarian with a firm belief in animal rights. PETA does nothing but turn people away from a good cause.

    As to Plumcake’s question, I am of two minds. I see the point about not wanting to give the attention-seekers any attention, but I also enjoy reading this site’s commentary on such vile publicity stunts. I agree with those who have suggested including the commentary but not linking to the offending article/ad/site/whatever, and putting a trigger warning at the top of the post.

    Comment by Cat — August 21, 2009 @ 12:02 pm

  19. I love and support PETA. Their cause is pure and their actions creative. Ive never seen them as sexist, as others note. Yet I too am inflamed with their new “fatty” campaign. I will be rethinking my physical and financial support.

    Comment by Peaches — August 21, 2009 @ 4:15 pm

  20. And to those bashing PETA and Greenpeace. I have a little insight. Ive helped PETA when they campaigned in my town. I also worked for Greenpeace in South Carolina and Europe. These are people who work hard for little money. They do it because they believe its their responsibility to attempt to make the world a better place. You may not like their tactics but to call them fools and money grubbers…its not accurate and its beneath us.

    Comment by Peaches — August 21, 2009 @ 4:36 pm

  21. Hey Plummy… My comments arent getting posted. Starting to feel like the red headed stepchild ;)

    They got caught in our “confirmed spam” filter. Not sure what it was about it. -Plum

    Comment by Peaches — August 21, 2009 @ 4:48 pm

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