PETA's Fat-Shaming 'Plan V' Campaign Is Grossly Misguided

Animal rights activist and co-founder of People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA) Ingrid Newkirk lies on a mock bar
Animal rights activist and co-founder of People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA) Ingrid Newkirk lies on a mock barbecue stand as a sign of protest in Mumbai, India, Wednesday, Nov. 6, 2013. The action marks World Vegan Month, a month long celebration of a health, environment- and animal-friendly vegan diet. (AP Photo/Rafiq Maqbool)

The worrying news broke last week that a European emergency contraceptive very similar to the Plan B pills used in the United States does not prevent pregnancy in women over 176 pounds. Now PETA has attempted to come to the rescue in the form of a press release: "PETA Launches 'Plan B' Lifeline for Overweight Women: 'Plan V' for 'Vegan.'"

"If extra pounds are thwarting a woman's ability to use Plan B, PETA's 'Plan V' could be the prescription they need," PETA Executive Vice President Tracy Reiman said in the press release. "Going vegan is a great way to lose weight and get healthy -- and it could help women regain control over their reproductive lives."

Translation: Women over 176 pounds should go vegan to lose weight, because why provide birth control to women over a certain body mass when we can just shame those women into changing their bodies?

It's also important to note that not all women who weigh over 176 pounds are overweight. Making such an assumption completely ignores that people have different body types, and to do so is grossly irresponsible. As Kate Dries at Jezebel pointed out, "PETA's essentially falling into the trap of confusing 'this drug might not work for people over X weight' with 'this drug doesn't work on fat people.'"

PETA has a long history of objectifying women's bodies for their cause, and this new campaign takes those tactics to a new level. Get it together, PETA. There must be more respectful and appropriate ways to deliver your message.

UPDATE: 12/4/13 -- PETA gave the following statement to the Huffington Post regarding the "Plan V" press release:

It's unfortunate that we cannot have a productive discussion about women's health without the conversation devolving into accusations of "fat shaming." Until Plan B is modified to work for women of all heights and weights, we want women to know that switching to a vegan diet is a healthy way for the vast majority of women, who are, on average, about 5 feet 4 inches tall, to maintain or regain access to this form of emergency contraception. Just as all women should have access to reproductive planning tools, all women deserve to know that adopting a plant-based diet is a great way to improve their health, regardless of their height, weight, or reproductive status. Not only are vegans less prone to obesity, according to the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics, they are also less likely to suffer from heart disease and cancer, and they have lower cholesterol levels, lower blood pressure, and lower rates of hypertension and type 2 diabetes than meat-eaters do, on average. Recent research disputing the idea that a person can be obese and healthy further underscores that what is truly shameful is attempting to silence those who are letting women know what healthy weight-loss options are available to them.



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