“Savage Beauty”: representations of women as animals in PETA’s campaigns and Alexander McQueen’s fashion shows

Diana Villanueva Romero


Ecofeminism has denounced the animalization of women in advertising as perpetuating the oppression of women and animals. However, this identification is not only found in advertising. In 1990s PETA (People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals) initiated a campaign against the fur industry featuring famous Playboy playmates. This provoked the reaction of some feminists who described it as pornographic. In a different vein, in 2011 the Metropolitan Museum of Art inaugurated the exhibition “Savage Beauty” dedicated to fashion designer Alexander McQueen. This exhibition features McQueen’s taste for turning his female models into animals in his fashion shows by dressing them in feather costumes or topping their heads with antlers. This article aims at analyzing the use of the woman as animal image in advertising, in PETA’s campaigns, and in McQueen’s fashion shows in order to argue that sometimes it can serve as an instrument of empowerment for women.


Ecocriticism; Ecofeminism; Women and animals; Animal ecofeminism; PETA; McQueen. Alexander


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DOI: https://doi.org/10.14198/fem.2013.22.09

Copyright (c) 2013 Diana Villanueva Romero

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