When I want people to know how much SeaWorld sucks (it comes up a lot, somehow), I bring up the 2013 documentary Blackfish. When Marisa Miller wants people to know how much SeaWorld sucks, she gets pregnant, takes off her clothes, does her hair and makeup, and lies down in a dirty bathtub that’s not even connected to any plumbing lines.
In a new ad campaign for PETA called SeaWorldOfHurt, discussed today by People, the 36-year-old model appears naked in a tub as a way of calling attention to the fact that the struggling chain of shithole amusement parks separates mothers from their babies.
A statement on PETA’s website reads, “Orcas at SeaWorld are trapped inside cramped tanks. They are often inbred, and calves are torn away from their mothers.” It’s an awful fact about the self-described “global leader in animal husbandry.” So good on Marisa Miller for calling out how vile their practices are! But the metaphor used in the image is just a little, I dunno, off.
Miller and her baby aren’t separated in this photo—they’re just about as close, physically, as a mother in child could ever be. And the bathtub, while dirty, isn’t a cage. It looks sort of comfortable, actually—despite the fact that it doesn’t appear to be connected to any source of running water. Throw me a pillow and I’ll nap in that tub right now. A more effective image for the campaign’s concept would have been of, oh, a distraught Miller on one side of the frame, and her crying baby on the other—the two of them separated by thick glass, never able to make contact again.
That would get the point across to me, at least.
A pregnant Miller chilling in a tub makes me think SeaWorld is a place where pregnant Orcas chill in tubs. While that’s by no means a great life for an orca, it’s not exactly the right message.
But maybe the image isn’t meant to be a metaphor at all. Maybe it’s just a continuation of PETA’s long-used tactic of stripping celebrities down as a way of titillating their audience into some kind of low-level version of awareness.
OK, fine. It’s probably that. But it’s still a crappy ad.
Images via PETA, Shutterstock
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