Today is International Women’s Day, Fête des femmes, or Mezinárodní den žen, depending on where you are. International Women’s Day was declared by the Socialist Party of America in 1909. It is still marked in different ways in socialist countries throughout the world, like France.
Today I chanced upon the Dolce & Gabbana advertisement above and was sucked into the debate surrounding it. First I looked at the ad and formed my own opinion. Then I read what others had to say over on Mike’s blog. Finally I went through Newsweek to the NOW website. Maybe I am being naïve, maybe violence against women really is because of video games and movies and tv and advertising, but I don’t think so.
My opinion on that particular ad is that it is actually pretty damn sexy. Maybe I am a pervert, maybe I am a deviant – think what you will. As I commented over on Mike’s blog:
“I think the ad is sexy. If I had just seen it in a magazine (i.e. without all the hoopla), I would never have spent any time thinking about what it depicted. I would have noticed the female model’s beautiful legs and the oiled muscle tone of the male models. I might have especially noticed how the nakedness of her leg’s and the naked torso and arms above her really stand out in the photograph. It’s a fashion advert. Then I would have turned the page and continued with my reading.”
The NOW love your body website has a page of “offensive ads”; this D&G ad has the place of honour at the top. I glanced at the other ads – I found some of them stupid and perhaps more of them tasteless, but why would I allow an advertisement to offend me?
To try to get a better idea of the NOW campaign, I then looked at the page of “positive ads”. That page features women of colour, an older lady with wrinkles, plus-size models and girl scouts. Yes, it is nice to see more than just plastic, young anorexics. Variety is the spice of life, after all.
The whole thing reminded me of the advertising for the Jan Saudek photography exhibition in Prague last year. Saudek’s photographs feature a lot of nudity – old people, young people, children, skinny, fat – whatever. The photograph that was chosen for the poster that went up all over town featured the bare bottom of a girl of about 12. AG thought it was kiddie porn and she was all up in arms and actually protested against it. But when she wanted me to be outraged with her, I had to disappoint her. I went to see the Saudek exhibition; AG did not.
And that is how it’s done. I am going to let Jono have the final word here – from our email exchange on the subject:
“There is no need to be offended, but it’s fine not to like something. Surely you just vote with your wallet and do not buy products from those companies if they offend you?”