Point | Counterpoint: PETA’s ‘BWVAKTBOOM’ Ad Campaign
Monday, 27 February 2012 21:42
Does PETA’s new ‘BWVAKTBOOM’ ad campaign go too far?
Editor’s Introduction: A new PETA (People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals) ad begins with a weak and bruised woman walking with vegetables. Her hurt gait is attributed to ‘BWVAKTBOOM,’ an acronym for ‘Boyfriend Went Vegan And Knocked The Bottom Out Of Me.’ This Point/Counterpoint examines whether or not this ad campaign promotes domestic violence to advertise a vegan diet.
Point » It’s backtracking domestic violence
By Chris Beasley
PETA’s newest ad has garnered lots of attention due to its controversial subject matter.
The ad uses sexual violence and domestic abuse in an attempt to promote going vegan.
The ad depicts a young woman wearing not much else but a coat, painfully limping home wearing a neck brace. Our narrator explains that this woman “suffers from BWVAKTBOOM,” and that this occurs when boyfriends go vegan and can “suddenly bring it like a tantric sex god.”
According to PETA, good sex is apparently violent and painful.
This is obviously problematic on many levels. PETA is trying to be comical in this ad, but I don’t think they thought this one through.
By depicting sexual violence and domestic abuse as something funny that we can find entertainment in PETA is trivializing and undermining sexual violence and contributing to what many refer to as “rape culture” (a term describing a culture whose attitudes, norms, practices and media normalize, excuse or even condone sexual violence.).
Domestic violence and sexual abuse are very real problems with very real effects for millions of women. Desensitizing viewers to the realities of sexual abuse is not sending the message about compassion to animals.
I find this ad campaign to be incredibly disempowering and offensive to women. PETA needs to learn to extend their compassion to women as well as animals.
I’m vegan myself and a firm believer in animal rights. There are many awesome and positive aspects to veganism, including many health benefits, but I think PETA’s attention-grabbing, and high-shock value advertising techniques are nothing but counterproductive.
Counterpoint » Missing the point entirely
By Grant DeFrancisco
PETA is no stranger to polarizing advertisements.
This is evident in other campaigns they have funded: chicken factories are paralleled two concentration camps, for example. Other ads include saving human whales by going vegetarian ‘losing blubber’, and another poses Ron Jeremy nude for a spaying/neutering campaign. PETA is notoriously known because of ads like these.
Presently, their new ad campaign about ‘BWVAKTBOOM’ fits right along with the old.
The ad, like the rest of their ads, does its job efficiently with a vegetable bag and a narrator. It conveys the message that vegan men can “bring it” and does it in a way that intrigues and scares you.
The target demographic is obviously men who are on the fence about becoming vegan or vegetarian and need an extra push to start the experiment. It is not degrading to women overall, despite what the feminist fringe thinks.
In another ad of the same ad campaign, testimonials of those with ‘BWVAKTBOOM’ include a homosexual man alongside women. The focus is not on the act of violence but the act of intercourse.
When the same ad campaign wordlessly debunks the argument, the steam is easily settled. The normalization of domestic violence is also easily solved by the vegan boyfriend (who is spackling the wall the woman’s head earlier punctured) meekly asking “Feeling better?” as the woman enters the room.
The ad is going just far enough to call attention to the issue of veganism and isn’t stepping on the toes of the feminist movement.