The Women Behind the Topless Protest
A group of female PETA supporters braved the winter weather and bared their skin for a radical vegan protest at the start of London Fashion Week on Friday.
With the slogan “Wear Your Own Skin” painted across their bodies, the activists encouraged passers-by to stand up for animals by leaving fur, leather, shearling, and other animal-derived materials out of their wardrobes.
Here’s what the women who dared to take a stand against animal exploitation and oppression had to say about the protest:
“Society has already inscribed its narrative across a woman’s naked body before she even gets to write her own political statement across it. In the same vein, society has decided what we can and cannot do to animals’ bodies. When it comes to female nudity as a form of protest, it’s important to point out that nobody would stop to ask a man about the way that going topless in public might affect him, his family, or his career. Nudity is perceived as problematic only when women choose to assert it autonomously and with complete control. Society, somehow, believes that women’s bodies belong to it. When bare breasts are taken out of the context of sex and brought into the political sphere, it makes people uncomfortable. I feel like this protest allowed me to speak out for animals and flip the narrative by saying, “This is my narrative. This is my message. The way we treat animals and women is not OK.”
“I felt in a position of control being able to use my body positively as a tool for change. The liberation that I felt stands in stark contrast to the way that animals are denied that same choice to be free. It’s time for society to realise that animals should have a right to their own bodies and for it to shift the lens on the way it views women’s bodies. It’s our responsibility to speak out for those who are oppressed. In this case, animals’ skin is torn from their backs, sometimes whilst they’re still breathing, all in the name of fashion.”
“I chose to take part in this campaign because it sends two powerful messages: that all beings should have the right to live in their own skin and that there’s nothing shameful about a woman’s body. If a woman chooses to use her body to draw attention to the suffering of animals, then good for her. Our bodies are our own, to do with as we wish, and I will continue to fight for all beings everywhere to have bodily autonomy.”
“It felt empowering to use my body to make a political statement about the cruelty in the fashion industry.”
“In the fur and leather industries, animals’ skins are peeled off – sometimes while they’re fully conscious. While those foxes, cows, rabbits, and other animals have no say in what happens to their bodies, we do. I’m glad I live in a society where women like us are free to use our minds and bodies as political instruments to raise awareness of animal suffering.”
“It’s 2018 – it’s about time things changed. No one has the right to tell us what to do with our bodies – and equally, we do not have the right to abuse or take the lives of animals.”
“Nudity is powerful – using this power for good turns the meaning from sexual (as it’s perceived) to empowering. Seeing a group of women come together in unison to fight for the rights of animals – that is power, and that is beauty.”
On fur farms, minks, foxes, and other animals spend their entire lives confined to tiny, filthy cages before finally being killed by poisoning, gassing, electrocution, or neck-breaking. Cows destined to be slaughtered for leather endure painful mutilations, branding, tail-docking, and dehorning without painkillers. In shearing sheds, sheep are cut, kicked, punched, and sometimes killed by impatient workers. With so many innovative, high-quality vegan fabrics available, there’s absolutely no excuse for wearing an animal’s skin, fur, wool, or feathers.