The latest campaign from the animal rights group, PETA, is facing some major backlash on social media, but Rob Buchanan thinks people have got the wrong end of the schtick.
Chatty Man Alan Carr’s appearance on the latest advertising campaign for PETA has raised a few eyebrows among the LGBT community. Posters for it feature the self-consciously flamboyant comedian and presenter wearing pink wings and carrying a wand, with the words ‘Be a little fairy for Animals’ in big pink letters. The ad is knowingly camp, cheeky and doesn’t take itself too seriously, just like the man himself. So why are the comedian and the animal rights group he’s representing getting such huge backlash on social media?
Well, there’s the visual representation for a start. While Alan Carr may have successfully appropriated the word ‘fairy’ – he uses it regularly in his comedy shows – it is still an extremely disparaging and hurtful term, used to abuse gay men and boys. But I can hardly attack him for it. I myself use ‘queer’ as self-identifying term and, while many gays might disagree, I believe it’s an empowering word. In my opinion, words only have the power they are allowed to have. ‘Fairy’ has just as much adaptability as ‘queer’ to be subverted or amplified as a gay-empowering word.
One thing’s for sure, ‘fairy’ is not going to go away.
There’s a connotation to the ad that men who are concerned with animal rights are stereotypically gay, childless and overindulgent in their pets, perhaps to the extent of decadent frivolity. If this stereotype has any truth in it, and we all know gays who super-love their pets, then surely this ad for animal rights has hit a target audience.
I find it fascinating that we see legions of apathetic lazy queers emerging from under their rocks to be offended by trivial issues like this, when gay issues happen to leak into the vapid world of pop culture and fluff they usually inhabit. Where are these masses of gay twitterers when unspeakable horrors are being committed daily against their kind in Africa and Russia?
Responsing to the social media hissy fits, PETA has said: “PETA, like Marmite, welcomes vigorous discussion about our ads because getting people talking is the first step in raising awareness of important animal issues.”
I say it’s a job well done, and fuck the begrudgers.
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