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Objectionable? Perhaps. But they can say it's vegan

  • (NYT) PORTLAND, Ore. -- March 26, 2008 -- VEGAN-STRIP-CLUB -- A dancer in a dressing room at the Casa Diablo Gentleman's Club in Portland, Ore., in March 2008. Two things that you can find a lot of in Portland, Ore.: Vegans and strip clubs. Johnny Diablo decided to open a business that would combine both. At the month-old Casa Diablo Gentleman's Club, soy protein replaces beef in the tacos, and the dancers wear pleather, not leather. Casa Diablo is the latest example of selling veganism with a kind of "Girls Gone Wild" aesthetic, a tactic that has drawn the ire of other vegans, who say sexualization may get people to pay attention to animal cruelty, but for the wrong reasons. (Lisa Bauso/The New York Times)

Two things that you can find a lot of in Portland, Ore., are vegans and strip clubs.

Johnny Diablo decided to open a business to combine both. At his Casa Diablo Gentlemen's Club, soy protein replaces beef in the tacos and chimichangas; the dancers wear pleather, not leather.

Many are vegans or vegetarians themselves.

But Portland is also home to a lot of young feminists, and some are not happy with Diablo's venture. Since he opened the strip club last month, their complaints have been "all over the Internet," he said. "One of them came in here once. I could tell she had an attitude right when she came in. She was all hostile."

Diablo isn't concerned with the "feminazis," as he calls them.

As a vegan himself, he says he hasn't worn or eaten animal products in 24 years and is worried about cruelty to animals. "My sole purpose in this universe is to save every possible creature from pain and suffering," he said.

Sex and health sell

Casa Diablo is just the latest example of selling veganism with a "Girls Gone Wild" aesthetic to draw the ire of vegans who complain that such tactics may get people to pay attention to animal cruelty, but for the wrong reasons. In Los Angeles, some frown at the scantily clad Vegan Vixens -- a kind of animal-loving Pussycat Dolls -- who perform songs like "Real Men Don't Hunt" at fundraisers for animal welfare groups.

And many vegans who want to publicize cruelty within the fur industry are nonetheless dismayed by the new "Ink, Not Mink" advertising campaign from peta2, the youth arm of People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals. It features members of the Internet-based pinup group the Suicide Girls, sporting little more than tattoos and body piercings.

Twisting the message


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