“Malicia”: What’s wrong about that lettuce bikini?

I felt that my blood pressure went up to 130 as soon as I saw that 25-by-15 cm photograph of Alicia Mayer on Manila Standard’s issue today, on front page. Gee, it was too gargantuan to escape the public fancy, especially those of my gender.

Before we genderize the issue here, that Alicia Mayer’s pose was done in behalf of the People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA), an international group that fights for animal rights. Manila Standard has no text story for the banner photo except a caption, so I assume that PETA’s slogan “Let vegetarianism grow on you” calls on people to eat animal meat less in favor of vegetables like lettuce on which PETA based Alicia’s bikini.

So there. I’m sure women organizations will not take that sitting down. It will even stir debate between moralists and liberals. Does the cause that Alicia carried with that lovely pose excuse the idea’s sexist undertone, equaling vegetables and women as yummy stuff? Does her pose beget evil as it gratifies men’s fleshy desires? Perhaps the message was also to convince people that eating vegetables will make them sexy?

People of my gender in general will not mind. But gender-sensitive men like me 😉 of course will think twice. The first thought, of course, is understandable. What matters more is the second thought: that there’s something not good about that propaganda gimmick, that leaves me asking:

  1. What convinced the Manila Standard front page editor to make the photograph a banner one? Was it to sell the copy like a hotcake?
  2. Can environmentalists not be gender-sensitive at the same time?
  3. Did Alicia Mayer know what she did?

That’s why I entitled this entry “Malicia”. I think that that captures the issue here. Is the gimmick inherently wrong? Doesn’t it beget malice among the public? Does Alicia Mayer want to be a sex goddess?

Let me take another look.


  1. Hi Dong,

    In fairness to PETA, their skyclad advocacy includes the male species too (if I can remember it right, Diether Ocampo posed in the same ‘malicia’ manner as that of Alicia Mayers), hence, there’s no double standard in here, I guess.

    Besides, they’ve got their own political reason for the ‘bare naked’ thingy as they advocate against the use of animal-based garments for clothing.

    But nevertheless, it so happen that the newspaper in the country, even broadsheets, is geared more towards sensationalism rather than respecting the sensibilities of the people.

    Admit it or not, skyclad women sells like a hot potato. The only mistake of Manila Standard is that, it did not explain the photo in its proper context. If I remember it right too, I saw the same picture in the frontpage of PDI.

    Oh, I heard Alicia Mayer’s interview on television: she’s vegan and not simply a vegetarian. As far as I know, there’s a big difference between the two. In the case of Mayer’s, she’s not eating even dairy products.

    And lastly, PETA adheres to truth in advertising unlike the political ads that we have.

    Village Tickler

  2. I almost agree.

    I tried not to pass judgment on anyone yet. I tried to pose questions and issues that might be points of debate among the progressive and moralist circles. (Surprisingly, I’ve yet to find anything. 😦 )

    I just thought that the Manila Standard is liable. PETA? Yes, a bit. I dunno whether it made a caveat among media that covered the event to be gender-sensitive. The Inquirer was, considering the power of women in the leadership and workforce.

    Oh, I found out that the bikini-clad gimmick is PETA’s standard way of making the point. It’s done this in other parts of the world. (Perhaps it thought that it’s also a manila standard [pun intended].)

  3. A vegetarian is one who is pretty much vegetarian…a vegan is taking it further and is more of a lifestyle…not just being vegetarian, but also not consuming animal-based products such as leather shoes, belts, etc., anything that involves death of an animal.

  4. How does one “consume” leather shoes? 😉

    Vegetarians eat vegetables like their counterparts, the Humanitarians.

    Vegans are, well, from Vega.

  5. I just saw Alicia Mayer’s new vegetarian PSAs on PETAAsiaPacific.com! I’m a big fan of hers and I’m happy to see she’s speaking out for animals. You can see her sexy new ads HERE. There’s even a video of behind-the-scenes footage from the PETA photo shoot! Alicia is apparently longtime vegetarian, who went made the switch in diet because of the horrific conditions on factory farms where animals are raised for food. Who knew!

    I’ve always been a huge fan of Diether Ocampo, but I like him even more now that he’s spoken out against zoos! I just stumbled across THIS FEATURE on PETAAsiaPacific.com which has a hot new ad featuring Diether painted like a zebra, and a really cool video that has behind-the-scenes footage of the PETA photo shoot! So awesome!

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