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Today I participated in a PETA event.
They unveiled a new ad starring Ru Paul’s Drag Queen race winner Sharon Needles. I responded to a facebook update on PETA asking for volunteers to dress up as zombies and stand in front of a steakhouse in NYC.
I had no idea what to expect. Would I get arrested? Would the owners of the steakhouse yell at us?
I was inspired to do this by my own blog post in which I listened to a wonderful interview with the founder of Toronto Pig Save Anita Krajnc talk about activism so beautifully. She made herself out to be just a regular person who was not especially fearless or daring. She read about Tolstoy’s activism when he was imprisoned and became interested in giving it a shot. Well through her explanation, I became interested in trying some activism myself.
Another one of my favorite bloggers Ragen Chastain of Danceswithfat.com has also been putting the idea into my head. I love what she stands for. She blogs about Health at Every Size and Fat Acceptance. Reading her blog has totally improved my body image and she has inspired me with her campaigns that she starts and gets going, like one that combatted a terrible ad campaign disguised as a health campaign bullying fat kids on bus stops in Georgia. (the ads said things like “chubby kids may not outlive their parents” -wtf) She had fat activists pose proudly in a new set of ads with inspirational slogans, showing kids who are fat that there are some positive happy fat people in the world and telling them about the principles of health at every size. She then raised enough money to put up the ads all over atlanta…and I donated. I was considered a fat kid when I was younger and know what it feels like to be the subject of mean comments and prejudice so it is a cause I really felt was important.
Anyway….I did it!
My thoughts on the event:
Everyone in cars stopped and stared. It was really cool.
The owners of the steak house never once came out to yell at us, though they looked at us weirdly, especially the people in PETA t-shirts.
It’s kind of cool that PETA is so bad-ass. If you see a PETA t-shirt, everyone’s alarm bells start going off. They’ve got a BAAAAAAD reputation…which is kind of cool.
No one on the street passing by said anything rude, except one crazy looking lady who was probably already angry. One person I handed a postcard with Sharon’s ad on it actually told me “NO, I am totally with you! I am all for this”. It was really cool to hear that from passerbys, and almost everyone took a postcard who passed by, smiling at the disturbance caused by zombies.
Contrary to popular belief about PETA events, everyone on the street seemed happy to see a crazy demonstration nearby. Some people in a nearby L’Occitane gave Sharon Needles a gift from their store…so sweet. The people in Le Pain Quotidien all rushed out as well and watched.
The ad said Eating Shouldn’t Cost an Arm and a Leg and had Sharon dressed as a zombie. Sharon herself was extremely cool. She made me want to be glamorous and fabulous. I loved her attitude. i should watch some Ru Paul’s drag race.
The demonstration only lasted about 30 minutes, and then that was it. There were tons of press there who took pictures.
Overall, I thought it was really cool. It really seems quite simple. If you want to protest something, you simply go set up on the street and do it. No one will arrest you, probably no one will scream at you–especially if it is done in a funny way like this was.
All in all, this was a very enlightening and great experience! After reading Free The Animals by Ingrid Newkirk I just have so much respect for what PETA does. They are really blazing a great path for animals…. And so are thousands of others helping animals in their own ways…through vegan companies, farm sanctuaries, volunteering at shelters etc, having vegan blogs, vegan clothing stores, taking photographs of animals etc.
A cool day.