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Feminspire | April 24, 2014

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LUSH Cosmetics: Kind to Animals, Not to Women

LUSH Cosmetics: Kind to Animals, Not to Women

| On 23, May 2013

LUSH Cosmetics is known for their handmade and largely cruelty-free bath and beauty products. While not a vegan company, LUSH has expanded into the realm of animal rights advocacy. Under their “Fight Animal Testing” campaign, for instance, LUSH has been pressuring governments to end vivisection, even offering a large cash reward to anyone who can develop a solution.

While a concentrated effort to improve the condition of Nonhuman Animals is commendable, LUSH unfortunately replicates many of the harmful, misogynistic tactics favored by fulltime animal rights organizations like PETA. Offering some vegan products in their stores and getting active to end some forms of animal exploitation is obviously a good thing, but the damage LUSH could be doing to women is alarming.

Take, for example, their anti-vivisection street demonstration that featured a young woman in a nude body suit enduring graphic reenactments of torture at the hands of a male “researcher” for ten hours. The woman was dragged about by a rope tied to her neck, forcibly pushed into various positions, and force-fed. She was pulled by her hair, injected with saline needles, and her head was shaved. While the woman was a consenting professional performer, the pain she endured was clearly real. This event took place in a store window and was fully visible to the public.

lush cosmetics animal testing controversy

The use of a female actor was no coincidence. LUSH explains:

“We felt it was important, strong, well and thoroughly considered that the test subject was a woman. This is important within the context of Lush’s wider Fighting Animal Testing campaign, which challenges consumers of cosmetics to feel, to think and to demand that the cosmetics industry is animal cruelty free.  It is also important in the context Jacqui’s performance practice:  a public art intervention about the nature of power and abuse.  It would have been disingenuous at best to have pretended that a male subject could represent such systemic abuse.”

LUSH intentionally chose a female actor to endure 10 hours of torture in a public space to, in so many words, teach women a lesson. Incidentally, products marketed to women are much more likely to be free of animal testing, unlike men’s products. The next time you are in a store that sells toiletry items, check the packaging of men’s products. How many are cruelty-free? You will be hard pressed to find any. Furthermore, most animal testers, farmers, and slaughterhouse workers are men. Men are more likely to hunt and men consume more Nonhuman Animal products than women. It’s even men who are buying animal hair coats, as the ability to adorn women with fur acts a male status symbol. Is it really so disingenuous to question men’s role in the systemic exploitation of animals?

The truth is that women are easy targets. Women are LUSH’s primary customers, and I suspect that LUSH is hoping to frighten women into choosing LUSH products over their competitors. LUSH is drawing on and aggravating the reality of male-on-female violence to secure sales.

LUSH has hosted many similarly problematic promotional stunts. For instance, one anti-vivisection demonstration featured bound women on their knees lined up outside the store with their mouths taped over. A woman dressed as a scientist (drawing on male imagery) loomed beside them. At another store, female employees were dressed as foxes and coquettishly arched their backs, smiling as a man threateningly hovered over them with a kitchen knife.

One store featured a 24 hour storefront display of an anguished woman in a leg-hold trap. In another, a woman was suspended by hooks inserted through the skin in her back to protest shark fishing. In a French store, a woman dressed as a rabbit cried out in anguish as her “fur” was peeled away, displaying her raw flesh below. Her naked body had been painted to resemble bloodied muscles.

LUSH is not afraid to use nudity, either. Protesting oil dependency, naked store employees wore mock oil barrel signs that cheekily read, “Time for an oil change or we’ll lose it all.” In one worldwide event, LUSH employees (who are mostly female) were paraded outside the store wearing nothing but aprons and high heels to hand out leaflets announcing LUSH’s “reduced packaging.” For some stores, aprons read: “Ask me why I’m naked.” Encouraging nude female employees to approach gazing men with LUSH leaflets is unsettling. But, handing out soon-to-be-trashed leaflets to men who are probably not in the market for bathbombs to advertise reduced packaging is just confusing. What’s the real objective here?

Entering a LUSH store is a magical experience, I can’t deny that. Stores are fragrant and colorful, and the staff is friendly and knowledgeable. I love having more than one vegan product to choose from (although I’m still confused as to why LUSH refuses to go completely vegan). I’ve been wearing their Karma perfume for 6 years now. But I can no longer shop with LUSH. When this bottle of Karma runs out, it will be my last. I’ve already informed my friends to find alternatives to the LUSH gift certificates I often receive.

It is clear to me that LUSH is exploiting the victimization and sexual objectification of women for profit. If LUSH is sincerely expecting these stunts to benefit animals, they might consider that aggravating normalized violence against women is counterintuitive to a campaign hoping to end violence against Nonhuman Animals. A message of peace and justice cannot be clearly articulated through oppressive actions.

There are many completely vegan and genuinely cruelty-free companies selling natural, hand-made cosmetic products that don’t throw women under the bus “for the cause” (or for the company). When (and if) LUSH decides to grant the same respect to women as they purport to grant to Nonhuman Animals, perhaps I’ll be smelling of orange blossom and patchouli again one day. In the meantime, I’m looking elsewhere.

Written by Corey Lee Wrenn
You can follow her on Twitter and on her blog, The Academic Abolitionist Vegan.

  • Jennifer Elford

    I can’t help but wonder if you would view this campaign differently if there were also men being used in these demonstrations? If you eliminate the fact that these are actresses instead of actors, these campaigns seem VERY compelling. I think they chose women because we’re capable of visibly displaying more raw emotion than men (in general) and the public would react more strongly to seeing a woman ‘enduring’ these things as opposed to a male. Sexism, yes. Effective, yes. But that’s just my opinion.

    • Mothr Nght

      I don’t necessarily agree that women are better at expression emotion, but definitely agree the public would react more strongly to a woman than a man. Effective for their campaign as you said, but at what price? I guess they felt the end justified the means.

      • Jennifer Elford

        I should have phrased that differently. Women tend to be more willing to show more dramatic emotion. Men are often told that crying is ‘weak’, just as is showing pain. Even though it’s obviously not. Though that gets me thinking that if they were to use a man who reacted in a similar way to the woman, would that make the audience react more strongly? I know it throws me off when I see a guy cry, like REALLY cry, because I know then that something is very wrong (as in they’re very hurt).

        • Corey Lee Wrenn

          Interesting point!

      • Jennifer Elford

        I should have phrased that differently. Women tend to be more willing to show more dramatic emotion. Men are often told that crying is ‘weak’, just as is showing pain. Even though it’s obviously not. Though that gets me thinking that if they were to use a man who reacted in a similar way to the woman, would that make the audience react more strongly? I know it throws me off when I see a guy cry, like REALLY cry, because I know then that something is very wrong (as in they’re very hurt).

    • Aphrodite

      No–I don’t think it would matter much if men were being used in these ads. Men’s and women’s bodies hold different social weight; therefore, they conjure up different cultural reactions. Remeber-we are not post-gender. Post-gender logic would assume that we could use men’s and women’s bodies in the EXACT same way and get the EXACT same reaction. (Think of postracism–where we act as if we don’t see race at all…being colorblind)That’s why this company strategically used women. Since women are hyper-sexualized, we employ the “sex sells” script without clearly articulating WHAT kind of sex is being sold. Remember,we inhabit a rape culture, therefore ideas and “values” associated with rape permeate almost all spaces of western society–even seemingly “ethical” spaces. Additionally, i think we need to rearticulate what “effective” means. Did they get attention? Yes. However we should problematize what that “attention” means for women who are positioned in a culture that systemtically produces hate and abuse towards women Getting attention is easy–raising ethical awareness for animal abuse is completely different. I think we easily conflate “effective” with “attention.” We have to remain critical when talking about “effective” campaigns. We must be suspicious of these campaigns that use women to raise “awareness” when women are systemically silenced and disrespected. It’s terrible if women can only raise awareness through their bodies being sexualized or violated. Merely reifying rape culture even further…ugghh…Don’t these companies know that WE CAN TACKLE MORE THAN ONE OPPRESSION AT ONCE IN AN AD CAMPAIGN! WE DON’T HAVE TO USE RACISM TO UNDERSTAND SEXISM…WE DON’T HAVE TO USE SEXISM TO UNDERSTAND ANIMAL ABUSE!

      • Aphrodite

        ALSO–i think we need to be aware of what type of media sources make these demonstrations popular. Media sources are not nebulous neutral entities–they overtly decide what makes the news and what doesn’t. I mean, we’re talking about a type of media that thrusts the Jodi Arias trial in our faces every three seconds, yet never has news reports about white male privilege or systemic sexism! Of course the media would be fascinated with a stupid sexist demonstration like this. Media sources are also responsible for these ridiculous ads becoming as popular (and “effective”)as they are!
        So, understanding how sexist/racist, etc. the media is should problematize our notions of “effectiveness.” Is something “effective” because it makes the news? Is it effective because populations understand WHY animal abuse is wrong? We must question our own ideas and questions…let’s be self-reflexive. In being reflexive we can understand how much the system has infilatrated our most intimate selves.

      • Jennifer Elford

        I super agree with you. I want to clear up some stuff I said before. When I said effective, I meant that it would elicit (hopefully) feelings of disgust, sadness, and the desire to help the subject within the audience. Society seems programmed to always want to assist a woman in trouble. I didn’t necessarily mean that the effectiveness of this ad was all positive. Just that it would bring out a very strong reaction in the public. There are so many layers to this topic, it’s crazy. But yes, placing a woman (women!) in situations like this for the public definitely solidifies the ‘women as objects’ idea, and has a DEFINITE note of rape culture in it.

        • Corey Lee Wrenn

          Thanks Jennifer.
          Yes, LUSH has a responsibility to women as well as animals. As Aph says, there are ways we can promote animal issues without throwing women under the bus. One of the best things that LUSH does is to provide vegan alternatives and popularize vegan alternatives…which they are already doing. I wish they’d focus on a more peaceful angle like that…it’s also good for their business, so win win I would imagine.

  • MC

    Um, they didn’t FORCE this woman to do this. And she was probably paid, and made aware of what she was going to do.

    Why is this different from female artists doing painful stunts for their art?

    And look at pussy riot et al – they use nudity to get their message across. Obviously there’s is a message of feminine equality and they’re not trying to sell us things.

    Although I completely agree that their statement suggesting that a man could not fulfil the role of a torture victim is horribly misogynist and awful in every single way.

    • Corey Lee Wrenn

      MC, thank you for your comment.
      Nowhere in this article did I insinuate these women were unpaid. But their being paid has little to do with the cultural effect of normalized violence against women. Women who participate in sadomasochistic porn and rape porn are also consenting and getting paid, but that doesn’t mean we should give it the green light and ignore it’s impact on men and women.

      • MC

        Wait wait, there’s something wrong with consensual sadomasochism now? Watching it is completely different from partaking in it. I think people who do watch it know this.
        I agree, it is slightly contributing to normalising violence against women to a small extent, but it is making a spectacle of it, not suggesting that it is an alright thing to do

        • Aphrodite

          MC–I think you’re actually missing the point here. You keep trying to individualize a systemic problem. The article is not necessarily about the INTENTIONS of the women who participate. The issue is about the strategic sexualized REPRESENTATION AND USE of women in a very violent manner, situated in rape culture.We keep forgetting that violence against women is a REAL thing and to ignore that while placing women in very public positions where they’re being violated is actually participating in the creation of more violence. We are not a post-rape society, so to mainstream the violence of women as an advertisement for stopping the abuse of non-human animals misses the opportunity to ALSO talk about violence against women in a serious way.
          No one is dismissing the fact that individual women have individual agency over their lives; however we must realize that we are all situated in a culture that informs our behaviors. To be offended by that is to merely not understand what a “system” is. Understanding a “system” is not meant to strip you of your indivdiuality but to perhaps provide an explanation for why certain cultural phenomena occur.

      • http://twitter.com/NanoJr5 fernando Rivera Jr.

        it isn’t normal, and that’s the point.

        • Corey Lee Wrenn

          Hi Fernando,
          Violence against women *is* normal…it is so normal that most women will experience it at least once in their life. 1 in 6 women will be raped…1 in 4 if they are in college. This number is of course hugely conservative because most women are socialized to either accept it/expect it or not even recognize the rape and violence they endure. Furthermore, women who do recognize it are afraid to report it (*most* rapes and abuse go unreported). I’ve seen statistics ranging as high as 50% to 70% regarding how many women have experienced domestic violence. Furthermore, most women who are murdered are murdered by their male partners. An analysis of the most popular porns found that almost all of them contained abusive language towards women, aggressive penetration, and humiliating acts performed on women. It’s not only normal, but our society trivializes it…and often condones it.

          • UncleBill2

            Using the current model for defining rape, most men (more than women) have been raped by women. Review the standards. I’m sorry some man did something to you. BUT nothing justifies the hatred you spew.

      • Nadia

        Hi Corey. Your implied stance on ‘sadomasochistic porn,’ and, especially, the way you seem to equate this with rape, is decidedly ‘un-feminist.’ I suggest you take some time to seriously consider how such a sex-negative stance denigrates and oppresses intelligent, critical women who choose to express their sexuality in whatever way feels right (while inflicting no unconsensual harm upon others). You might want to do some research on queer bdsm scenes.

    • Lori

      Remember the point of this “exercise.” To teach women who use cosmetics a lesson. Even as a vegan, that is offensive.

  • Michelle

    Good for you for standing up for what you believe in! So many people would just keep buying their products. Also, it’s these stunts that give scientific research using animal models a bad name. I’ve worked with lab animals before and I can tell you these animals enjoy MUCH higher quality of life than they would in the wild! I can understand people’s objections to testing cosmetics on animals because cosmetics aren’t necessary for human life. However, all of the medication we use that enhances our quality of life, increases our longevity, and saves human lives has all relied on scientific research with animals.

    This poster says it all: http://speakingofresearch.files.wordpress.com/2013/02/petition-support-animal-research.jpg?w=500

    • Mothr Nght

      I think animal testing for cosmetics and animal testing for research are two different things, and LUSH advocates against only animal testing in cosmetics.

      • Michelle

        You’re right! But laypersons, in this case non-scientists, tend to conflate animal testing of cosmetics with scientific research utilizing animal models.

    • Corey Lee Wrenn

      Hi Michelle,

      Thank you for your comment and support. Unfortunately, I do not agree that it is ethical to decide for animals what is in their best interest. The argument that animals “have it better” under our care reflects our privileged position as humans. Incidentally, this was the very same argument made by white slaveholders in the US South.

      Furthermore, scientists are really unconvinced that animal testing is a necessity…or even very useful. In a recent meta-analysis of scientific reports on the utility of animal subjects, the overwhelming result was that animal testing is archaic and largely inapplicable to humans. In a word–it actually *hinders* medical progress. We have the technology for more accurate alternatives to animal testing, but the medical testing business is what I would call an “industrial complex,” that is, it is a cooperation between hospitals and corporations to ensure continued profit–not progress.

      • Jay

        I’m sorry, but as someone who works with research animals in Canada, this couldn’t be further from the truth. I’d be very interested in seeing that meta-analysis, and which techniques it was specifically that they were analyzing.

        From a biological and welfare stand point, animals have MUCH better lives in research than in the wild. I can’t speculate on your specific background, but you can’t apply the liberal arts/social sciences of human interaction on what quantifies as welfare for animals.

        It’s not a matter of humans speaking from a privileged point of view, its looking at the actual biological and welfare models. I can’t speak for the US, but in Canada there are rigorous standards for animal welfare.

        As an example with my own work with poultry, the chicks were kept in groups of 5 (best number for welfare as it allows them to feel the comfort of a flock without always trying to assert a pecking order), in cages with “chickpaper” (so that their feet were comfortable), with enough room for all of them run around and exercise as much as they like. Temperatures were constantly regulated to keep them comfortable and warm, humidity was always kept at optimum levels, and they had access to as much food as they’d like. A few times a week all that was required of them was to poop on some tin foil so we could exam how well the vaccine method we were testing was working. When the test was over, chicks that were healthy were given away as pets or to hobby farms, and those that were sick were painlessly euthanized.

        Contrast this to the wild. Birds are constantly scavenging for food fearing for predators. It is rare to find one without injury or illness. Birds do not die of old age in the wild. They are either excruciatingly ripped limb from limb by a predator, die from extreme weather conditions, starvation, and disease. The likeliness of having a painless death in the wild is next to impossible.

        In addition, our chicks were so relaxed that they would commonly display play behaviour with their litter. To find this type of behaviour in the wild is very rare. A bird must feel totally relaxed and turn off their fear that something is constantly trying to kill them, which in the wild, is almost constantly.

        As is likely obvious from this trial, not all animal testing is for the benefit of humans. Perhaps in a very round about way owners and producers may benefit, but its for the good of the birds.

        It would be naive to say “big-pharma” plays no role in this, but I don’t think their role is as prominent or over-ridding as the public seems to think. If anything, most of the research that comes out of their labs is HEAVILY scrutinized by anyone in the scientific community, and has a much harder chance of getting published in a Journal of high standard.

        • Aphrodite

          Jay-i think you’re missing the point here. The fact that we can even conceive of animals as subjects TO BE TESTED ON in the first place is problematic, regardless of how great they’re treated in the labs. The fact that we unquestionably accept their position as “lab subjects” is very problematic and that’s something we need to challenge further.
          It’s not a necessity. By stating that we should test on non-human animals instead of human animals demonstrates an arbitrary demarcation of value–meaning that we arbitrarily assign humans with more importance and more worth (arrogantly) than non-human animals and that is how we justify their degradation. This arbitrary devaluation is also seen between humans…with the same justification where some people are just “inherently inferior” than others.
          We have reduced animals to “bodies” and therefore we objecitfy them for our use–which is what the lab is! No matter how great their lives are there (which is very contentious!), we still lack respect for them as sentient beings who can live their own lives without us. We did the same thing with slaves..we reduced them to BODIES and justified their degradation. Think about these connections. The fact that we conceive of animals as something to be tested on is the violent notion here.

        • Corey Lee Wrenn

          http://www.amazon.com/Benefits-Animal-Experiments-Palgrave-Macmillan/dp/1137289686
          This is simply a review of what the animal testers themselves have reported, this isn’t animal rights spin.

          So, animals in the wild have it harder…but they are free and independent of human interference. Who are we to impose on vulnerable populations for our benefit? That’s a very privileged and colonialistic outlook.

          Recall that white Southerners countered abolitionist claimsmaking by insisting that the “poor brutes” “in their care” were given warm beds and religion…they were “saved” from the dangers of warfare and poverty, from living a “savage” existence, etc. etc. etc. These slaves were so happy, they “loved” their masters and didn’t *want* freedom…or so whites believed. A very paternalistic position to take.

          Furthermore, we intentionally breed the animals we use in testing, so it really has no relevance to free-living animals in the wild.

          I’m very glad that you take good care of your victims, but they are victims nonetheless. There are lots of checks in place to prevent gross negligence and that’s wonderful…but 99.9% of animal testing is still unessential.

          Anyway, thank you for caring about animals, that is important.

          • Jay

            That looks really interesting. I’ll take a closer look at it when I have more time. I’ll admit I’m limited when it comes to human medicine as my focus is on veterinary medicine.

            I can respect your view that animals undergoing tests are victims. However, claiming 99.9% of animal testing is unessential is a very grandiose statement. While I’ll be the first to agree that doing so for cosmetic reasons is unacceptable, keep in mind that a large amount of testing is going towards betterment of animals themselves, not people.

            As your vet, I would NOT feel comfortable prescribing your pet any diet, drug, or procedure that I had not seen rigorous testing and results for. The simple fact is that medicine (I’m speaking animal medicine specifically) is constantly evolving with new techniques and safer practices. But the only way we can be sure that your pet won’t have an unseen side effect is if we test them. I’m unaware of the exact percentage, but I’m certain that testing done for your pet or industry animals consists of much higher than 0.1% of all animal testing. These tests are necessary, there is no substitution.

            In regards to your statements regarding slavery: I can appreciate the vague similarities between the two, but they are fundamentally different. We have ways of testing and quantifying the welfare of animals in and out of the lab. When you say the slave owners said their slaves “loved” their masters and were saved from being “savages”, a fairly obvious line is draw between animal testing and slavery. No one who works in animal laboratories are thinking “gosh this animal must love me so much because I give it food”. Mind you with some experiments bonds can be formed between the workers and the animals depending on what’s being tested. But instead of doing mental gymnastics as to why animals must like it here so much, we do testing to see if they are. Look at which style of enclosure actually makes them most calm, how they might be able to be mentally stimulated (i.e. which types of toys can be added for them), ect. Now maybe I’m wrong, but I’m fairly sure slave owners weren’t wondering around and making the same type of adjustments.

            We also don’t think “hurray, I have saved this animal from the horrors of the wild and now get to do what ever I like with it!” Obviously being a test subject is not ideal. I will not deny the majority of animals if given the choice and ability to comprehend would choose somewhere else. There is obvious merit to the ability to have freedom of choice. This is undeniable. But when comparing the elements of perceived safety, health (unless of course a disease is being tested), nutrition, and quality of death (painful vs. painless), animals in captivity score much higher.

            However I’m confused when you say “we intentionally breed the animals we use in testing, so it really has no relevance to free-living animals in the wild”. While I agree the two groups would likely never cross, most proponents argue that animals would be much happier in the wild and often compare the two to show a point. So when you analyze the welfare of animals in labs, what are you comparing it to? I don’t think I understand what you’re getting at.

            I won’t deny that it’s a fairly colonialist view to deem certain bred populations “testable”. However, when it comes to animal medicine and welfare (I can’t say the same for human medicine), there literally is no other alternative for improvement.

          • Corey Lee Wrenn

            Hi Jay,
            Thanks for your thoughtful response.

            I encourage you to keep learning more and to not fall back on pro-testing ideology just because that’s the way it is and that’s the way it’s always been, that there’s “no substitution” or “there is literally no other alternative.” The scientific reports themselves are saying there is a problem. I say 99.9% of animal testing is unessential because a large portion of it is frivolous (testing a new lipstick, seeing how long it takes for mice to die from sleep deprivation, etc.), but also because most animal testing can be replaced by nonanimal methods. The technology exists.

            Think about it–we can put a man on the moon, we can create things as complex as computers and cell phones. We *have* the technology for nonanimal testing (which is more advanced and more accurate–do a Google search), yet we still rely on outdated measures that were relied up on centuries ago. 100 years from now school children will learn about this in history class and ask, “Why did they keep testing on mice and rats when they had such advanced technology?” Children will really squirm knowing that we stunted medical progress because of our determination to keep animal subjects.

            As a sociologist, my answer to that is power, capitalism, and path dependency. As I suggested before, Big Pharma is an industrial complex: it *creates* problems (not always but often!) and manytimes creates solutions that are in *their* best interest…not the people’s.

            As for animal medicine, that’s a slightly different argument–not one that was argued by our original commenter. I can understand the arguments for that, but animal medicine comprises only a fraction of vivisection practices. Furthermore, similar biomedical alternatives exist that do not require sentient test subjects.

            When I say it makes no difference to me that test subjects have it better than they would in the wild I say this because we are *intentionally bringing them into existence* to perform unethical and often painful tests on. We have the choice that they never exist in that unethical situation to begin with. That would be like a white slaveholder raping his female slaves so that he could have a new generation of slaves, then justifying it with: “These slaves have it better than those blacks in the wilds of Africa.”

            My analogy to slavery is actually one that many animal ethicists draw on, if this is something you are interested in, I can redirect you to further reading. Most white slave holders *truly believed* they were benevolent caretakers. They truly believed that what they were providing for African Americans was in their best interest: Providing them safety, a place to live, food to eat, a Christian god to repent them, etc. This was *their* idea of what was in their best interests, just as vivisectors believe their lab standards are in the best interests of their rats, cats, dogs, etc. Of course the system itself is immoral and oppressive. It’s not about individual relationships.

            Thanks for your comment Jay.

    • Robyn

      Just FYI, LUSH haven’t said anything against animal testing in medical research. Their standpoint is solely from a cosmetics perspective.

      • Michelle

        Have they made it a point to distinguish one from the other, to clarify that they’re not against scientific research involving animals?

    • Put Human Lives before Profit!

      Due to lack of specificity between animal models and humans, countess valuable potential medical cures are disregarded every year because animal tests fail.
      Countless sick humans die because potential cures are not investigated when animal tests do not show promise.

  • Kati Vander Linden

    My take on that stunt was the reason a woman was used, was because as a whole women buy more beauty products than men. So it was a way of letting women know what they are encouraging by purchasing certain products. Sure they could have also used a guy because it happens in their products as well, but not to the same extent.

    • Aphrodite

      Hmm..you would think that if they were actually thinking of women consumers, they would actually cater their marketing TOWARDS women instead of drawing upon rape and porn culture (generally catered towards mainstream men)! Let’s not forget Corey’s point which draws upon the systemic violence inflicated towards women. Also we can’t forget that we inhabit a rape culture where porn permeates all of of our norms. So, using sexualized violent images of women, paired with “ethical” ideas about animals becomes the norm in a porn rape culture which we should problematize. Remember, corporations want your PROFITS! If LUSH was actually concerned about ethicality, they wouldn’t be making ads like these. It seems like the “animal rights” space is just another market they can tap into!!

      Sexualizing and torturing women in your ads, JUST because women are your primary consumers seems like an illogical “cop out” argument.

  • Albert

    I dont believe this to be doing damage to the image of women. Quite the contrary.

    • Corey Lee Wrenn

      Hi Albert,
      Why exactly do you think this is somehow beneficial for women? Are you aware that violence against women is at epidemic levels…that about 1 in 3 women will experience rape or assault?

  • Soulwoman

    Great marketing!! A good way to shock people. I’m not very good with pain, otherwise I would want to be on that display, for the sake of the animals. If bother people seeing a women suffering, I hope it will bother them to imagine that many animals are suffering in name of vanity. It’s a case of putting yourself in the place of other beings.
    Would it have the same impact if they had used a man? I think so. They could have used both!!

  • Pierce Johnson

    (Reposted from this discussion:
    https://plus.google.com/u/0/110606327536414790669/posts/LLmVQpz7yWM)

    What I think is even more interesting is that LUSH isn’t even a vegan
    company and they sell animal products, unless I’m mistaken. Like here
    for example:

    http://www.lushusa.com/on/demandware.store/Sites-Lush-Site/en_US/Lushopedia-Start?iid=9636

    So, as an Abolitionist, I take issue with single issue campaigns because
    they usually portray one animal use as “bad,” while normalizing/ignoring
    another animal use.

    Case in point, LUSH is saying “Hey! Animal
    testing is bad! But we’re cool! We don’t do that!” Meanwhile, they’re
    using nonhuman animals as commodities in another just as frivolous way
    and it’s equally as morally unjustified and just as torturous as animal
    testing.

    If it’s not okay for an animal to die for animal
    testing, why is it okay for a cow to die for “The Sacred Truth Fresh
    Face Mask?” What’s the difference?

    As animal rights activists, (I don’t know if these LUSH participants are or are not) why are we wasting our time promoting a company that uses nonhuman animals as
    commodities? If that’s not a mixed message, I don’t know what is

    (I also don’t know why this article is titled “LUSH: Kind to animals,” since they’re quite literally using nonhuman animals as commodities when it suits them. We wouldn’t call slave traders kind to slaves if they engaged in one kind of slave trade over another, why make the distinction for Lush?”

    • Corey Lee Wrenn

      Hello fellow abolitionist! Thank you for pointing out these critical problems with LUSH as an inherently speciesist organization, you are spot on. I tried to make it clear that LUSH was problematic in not being vegan, had I the space I would have clarified further. And, yes, I agree the title is unfortunate, but it has to grab attention. Thank you for your important comments.

  • Adrianne

    I think they just should get more male volunteers, this this wouldn’t be a problem

  • youhatemebecauseimaman

    If a man were used in the demonstrators place, very few people would take note of the demonstration at all. Because violence against men doesn’t upset an audience. Violence against women raises eyebrows. Men are expendable.

    There’s the real tragedy.

  • Sam

    As a woman, I need more people to understand something important: cosmetics are used primarily by WOMEN. Also, if you read the article from which this was taken from carefully, there is a sentence that states “It was all a performance and she suffered no real pain…” This article was meant to inspire everyone to buy products that aren’t tested on animals, and since the market is mostly women, it speaks primarily to them. It’s as if to say; “Ladies, when you’re buying makeup next time, I want you to imagine that you’re the animal that lipgloss your wearing has been tested on.” I find this piece powerful and inspiring for women.

  • Nathan

    ahh this article is bull. people always find a way to complain about everything. if they used a man then someone would find some way to complain about that too. they made a choice to use a female to get their message across so what? it is what it is.

  • UncleBill2

    How sad this “author” is so hateful and bigoted while allegedly promoting “cruelty-Free”. If anyone is really against cruelty and sexual objectification of women.. They WOULD NOT WEAR MAKE-UP. Hypocrite. Bigot, Hate monger.

  • BB

    This article is bunk. The writer clearly does not understand the concept behind these well thought out performances.

  • Luna De Béthencourt Medina

    This is the most stupid article I have read in ages. Why is that bad for women? So if the performer would had been a men then it would have been fine? They are trying to catch the attention to what is been done to defenceless animals, is completely insane to make it about anything else, the only people that damage women is crazy feminist.