14 January 2011

Is This (Animal) Poverty Porn?



The equivalent video for an NGO would be decried as 'poverty porn' by people (and likely myself). So, if I hold an organization, such as Smile Train, to a higher standard with the argument that it is exploitative of children and sends the wrong message, should it apply here?


One could argue a separate set of ethical standards for animals verses people. The core of the campaign is to depict helpless beings to garner sympathy. If there is an understood separation of the two, then the use of such campaigns clearly are ethically dubious. However, if seeing the use of sympathy in a 'ends justify the means' way, then both do not present problems since people will feel bad and offer support through adoption, volunteering or donating.

So what do you think? Where do you come down on this overdone issue? Also, what about the use of the term 'poverty porn?' Thinking about it more, outside of the fact that it has driven me traffic from people looking from porn, what might be the implications of such a phrase? Would it be better to use something more accurate like "guilt driven marketing?"

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