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08/02/2011

Guest post: Mercy For Animals calls out those jerks at the Milk Board  »

About a week ago, I was working in my lab when one of my fellow scientists started asking me about the articles I’ve been writing about the sexist milk debacle. This scientist is originally from India and is vegetarian. We started discussing the differences in milk products in India versus those found in the United States, and how the milk itself is collected.

I was floored by his comments. It’s well known that cows are considered holy in India, and that they are respected creatures. But my colleague told me that they collect milk from their cows “respectfully” and that the local communities came together and created almost a “milk co-op.” No competition, no harmful conditions, and pretty expensive milk.

I felt stupid explaining the methods widely used in the United States after hearing that. I was embarrassed to explain the concept of veal. I felt rude talking about “rape racks.” I felt mortified explaining all the reasons milk is so cheap in this country.

After hearing all that, my colleague decided that he would not consume dairy any longer. The next day, I saw him sipping a little container of soymilk. Six days later, he told me he was still sticking with it, and asked about non-dairy ice cream options. My favorite part about this story is that it just took the truth. He listened, he understood, and that was it.

Mercy for Animals (MFA) decided to create a vegan spin on the sexist milk ads that we’ve been vomiting over for the last few weeks. The MFA ads show ladies holding blood-splattered milk cartons (which instantly reminded me of this ad for Dexter), stating “PMS? No, I’m livid with milk industry for abusing and killing cows.”

The ads are meant to “set the record straight about the milk industry’s true relationship with the female reproductive system,” according to an MFA blog post. The ads will run in Ms. magazine, the feminist magazine that headed up the change.org campaign that helped get the original milk ads removed.

A few weeks ago, the Milk Board responded to the criticism of their idiotic ad campaign by taking down their website everythingidoiswrong.org and replacing it with gotdiscussion.org, which displays carefully selected comments from their supporters and critics. Despite the unrelenting voice of many animal rights organizations, as well as individuals that commented on the Milk Board’s Facebook debate, the new website lacks representation of such comments. So, it should be interesting to see how the Milk Board responds to the new Mercy for Animals campaign. We can only hope they won’t take legal action like they did when PETA did essentially the same exact thing.

Elysse Grossi is a scientist, a health educator, a vegan food fanatic and a co-owner of Sweet Cups, based in the East Bay. She’ll gross you out with her other blog, Under the Microscope. Laugh at her boring life on Twitter.

07/27/2011

Guest post: the Milk Board is still rude  »

Two weeks ago, the Milk Board launched an incredibly sexist ad campaign claiming that chugging a buttload of milk will cure PMS woes, both for the ladies experiencing the symptoms, and for their heteronormative male partners. These claims were based on a research article published in 1998, which the Milk Board called a “recent study.”

In those short two weeks, the Milk Board learned that PMS isn’t the only thing that can make women irritable and blood-hungry—being insulted and attacked makes us that way too! (but, apparently we’re that way all the time, right? Oh wait…). In response to all the negative media coverage of the campaign, the Milk Board changed strides. The previous everythingidoiswrong.org has been changed to gotdiscussion.org (oh, witty!) as they attempt to clean up their mess. They also issued on of the weakest apologies in the history of corporate fuckups:

The sincerest part is the sentence that says, “Others thought it was funny and educational.” Let’s not forget that this is the same Milk Board that told us “happy cows come from California.” They tried to sue PETA in 2007, too.

Don’t be fooled, though. This group of sexists still thinks they deserve a pat on the back and a cookie for their irrational campaign. Our buddy Steve James told the New York Times, “Taking down everythingidoiswrong.org is not a failure in any way. I don’t see it as ending it or pulling the plug. We accomplished what we set out to accomplish.”

The Milk Board is also encouraging people to “join the discussion” on their Facebook page (which you have to “like” before you can participate). If you are hungry for some mindless arguing and repetitive banter that insists that “milking cows relieves the pain in their swollen utters”, and “Some girls get cranky when they’re on their periods. Some don’t,” then by all means, join in!

Also, this is some bullshit:

There’s really nothing I love more than watching a pair of harpies throw floppy slices of cheese at each other. [Can’t see the video? Watch it on Vegansaurus.com]

If you’d like to voice your concern about the Milk Board’s consistent attempts to encourage sexist stereotypes and mask the real issues within the milk industry, feel free to contact Jocilyn Preskar, director of public affairs for the California Department of Food & Agriculture at (916) 654.0317. While Steve James’ phone number and email address are conveniently missing from the internet, his LinkedIn account is fully available!

Elysse Grossi is a scientist, a health educator, a vegan food fanatic and a co-owner of Sweet Cups, based in the East Bay. She grosses people out with her other blog, Under the Microscope. Laugh at her boring life on Twitter.

07/13/2011

Hey ladies, the Milk Board thinks you’re a bitch!  »

Yesterday was a rare occasion: I ventured away from my home in the East Bay to take a leisurely stroll through San Francisco with my partner. The sun was out; no one had mindlessly shoved past me on the sidewalk. I naively thought that nothing could ruin this perfect day.

Then the dairy industry swooped in and took a giant, sexist shit on my day with their new ad campaign that is plastered all over the city.

As if “Got Milk” ads and posters weren’t disgusting enough with their trademark milk mustache, the Milk Board has decided to also explain that women are horrible, moody and unreasonable because of our menstrual cycles. To broadcast their views, they’ve created the Everything I Do is Wrong campaign, claiming that milk can ease symptoms of pre-menstrual syndrome (PMS), based on a “recent” (1998) study. This isn’t the first time they’ve cited such studies and used depictions of panicked, fearful and powerless men frantically purchasing milk for their untamable female partners.

[can’t see the video? watch it on Vegansaurus.com]

Let’s look at all the things that are obviously wrong with this campaign:

  1. The Milk Board doesn’t say how much milk ladies would have to consume to have an effect on their PMS symptoms. According to the 1998 study, women would have to drink at least four glasses of milk per day, every day, to show some ease of PMS symptoms (fatigue and insomnia were not affected). On top of that, noticeable changes wouldn’t even begin until after three months of your daily milky medicine.
  2. According to the World Health Organization, the amount of calcium absorbed into your system decreases the more of it you consume.
  3. Milk and dairy products aren’t the only available sources of calcium, but are the unhealthiest! Leafy greens, soy, grains, beans and some fruits are incredibly high in calcium. In order to meet the daily recommendation, you’d only need to consume one cup of tofu, or two cups of cooked spinach, or a feast of figs! And don’t even get me started on quinoa and kale.
  4. Oh, Milk Board? None of the above foods have cholesterol or the saturated fats that are associated with milk! Actually, while I’m at it, let’s also mention that consuming excess fats is actually bad for your menstrual cycle, too. Speaking of excess crap, the “Got Milk?” website claims that drinking milk will make you prettier and “less frumpy.”
  5. In a recent interview with the New York Times, Milk Board Executive Director Steve James says that they went into the ad campaign with “a little trepidation” because PMS is a “sensitive subject.” Other members of the Milk Board claim that the ads are “tasteful,” “fun,” and “effective.” Sure, effective in pissing us off and insulting our intelligence! Hey dudes, maybe it’s a sensitive subject because the media continues to play on blatantly sexist stereotypes that all women are blood-hungry bitches during their periods?

James’ interview ends on a high note: “We did it in the past, but the women just didn’t drink enough milk. If they’d only drink enough, we wouldn’t come back.” Instead of encouraging women to exercise regularly, drink enough water, and eat a balanced diet, the Milk Board wants ladies to consume 1,460 glasses of cholesterol-loaded and cruelty-derived milk a year with the weak promise that it might help you not be a huge bitch all the time, and that it will save your heterosexual relationship from the mighty curse of monthly menstruation.

Elysse Grossi is a scientist, a health educator, a vegan food fanatic and a co-owner of Sweet Cups, based in the East Bay. She grosses people out with her other blog, Under the Microscope. Laugh at her boring life on Twitter.

10/13/2010

Hello, Friends! It’s WTF Wednesday!  »

Man, kids these days. Remember when the awesome college part-time job was waiting tables or bartending or working in a video store (personal favorite!)? And remember when KFC wasn’t paying coeds $500 a pop to hand out fliers while wearing pants with “Double Down” emblazoned on their “buns”?  Yeah, me too! So WHAT HAPPENED? KFC has been struggling as of late (apparently they lost 7 percent of revenue in the last year?) and it turns out that their target audience can’t even recognize the Colonel anymore. So instead of thinking “Dude, our problem is that our food is super-gross and also unfit for consumption, so maybe we should get rid of that monstrosity we introduced last year and rethink our horrible horrible menu as well as our choice to be known as chicken murderers,” they decided that their best course of action was to rent ad space on the behinds of college women. This is bad for several reasons. Number one: STOP KILLING CHICKENS! Number two: This is hella sexist. Why do you have to advertise on lady lumps? That is degrading! Number three: Goddamn, are those pants ugly and ill-fitting. KFC is desperately trying to sell “fun and sexy” but is coming up with “fire-engine-red wedgie.” NO ONE WANTS ANY OF THAT! Thank god some colleges are against this, but it really makes you wonder exactly what’s going through the minds of the college deans (deans are like principals, right?) [Ed: Sometimes! Depends on the structure] who do allow this on their campuses. Probably nothing good.

Here’s another thing that’s wrong with today: Hog Out Month in Texas. Have you guys heard about this? Apparently Texas is SOOOOOO overrun with feral hogs that its department of agriculture has decided that ENOUGH IS ENOUGH. In fact, the department (run by the delightful Todd Staples) is not only encouraging people to go out and take vengeance on these monsters that destroy farmland, parks, and GOLF COURSES (I knew we would get there eventually), but is actually offering grants to spur the Texas counties into a veritable Hogocaust. They’re giving away cash prizes! Let trappers onto your land to turn it into a grisly bloodbath, and your county could win up to $25,000! It’s not just for money, though. It’s a challenge! Like in fifth grade, when you were supposed to read 20 books over the summer and then you would get a free book from the library? Just like that! Except with less reading and more muffled squeals of anguish. And the smell of burning flesh.

But sometimes, JUST SOMETIMES, good things happen. Usually it’s all fire and brimstone, though, and things that make me toss and turn in bed at night. Which is unfortunate because Allen thinks we have bedbugs now, so every time I accidentally kick him as I am pondering the plight of the human race and the cruelty we all visit upon the animals and each other, he wakes up and insists that a bedbug has bitten him. And then he gets the flashlight. I hate it when he gets the flashlight. Anyway, GOOD THINGS. On Oct. 3 Colombia celebrated World Animal Day for the first time, and over 500 people marched through the streets to stand up against the mistreatment of animals. This video is awesome, and what’s even more awesome is the closing message: “Even though animals cannot speak, they deserve love and respect.” Why can’t we all just get along?

That’s it for this week! Please leave suggestions for next week in the comments, or email me. Have an awesome Wednesday!

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