Thursday, March 27, 2008

Vegans, strippers, and feminism

There are a lot of vegans in Portland, OR. Some of them are strippers. Some of them are strip club patrons. Fortunately, someone finely attuned to their needs created an all-vegan strip joint.

Just what we needed...

On stage, you won't catch these ladies wrapped in fur. Or feather boas. Or leather shoes, wool scarves (I don't know what role wool has in striptease, but it's forbidden too), or silk not-much-of-anything. Everything on stage was made without cruelty to animals. You can't get a steak, but you can get a soy taco platter. You might be able to get a Caesar salad, but there won't be egg or anchovies in the dressing.

I'm not going to rehash everything in the article here, since I kind of agree with everyone a little bit in the article. Feminists can be a little too uptight about strippers, while vegans can be a little too willing to show off naked women for publicity. I do think that some of the criticisms of PETA are a little unfair; the very first model for the "Ink, not Mink" campaign was actually Dennis Rodman, who I'm pretty sure is not a woman.

But, I just want to add... I do have a problem with blind following of the vegan ideal, without thought to the consequences. PETA is an animal-rights organization, so that's their thing, and that's fine, but they unilaterally oppose all hunting, all leather, and all use of animal products.

What if hunting is necessary, as it is in NJ? We have too many deer here and although I personally don't find hunting to be the right decision for me, I support people who hunt and eat the white-tailed deer that are threatening our forest ecosystems. I don't like the idea of sport hunting, but it saddens me that PETA paints all hunters with the same blood-red brush.

What about pleather? Is pleather actually better? I used to think so. Then I started thinking about where that pleather comes from. Answer: Probably petroleum. Most plastics do. And where are those pleather pants/shoes/I don't want to know going to end up when you're done with them? Probably a dump, where they will sit. And wait. And wait. Plastics take a long time to break down. Leather obviously doesn't decay quickly, especially since we treat it with additional chemicals, but my instinct tells me that it will break down before the pleather does.

You won't catch me in a mink coat any time soon, but I do have a leather couch. Maybe that means I'm not a feminist? Or that I am? I don't know.

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