NBC recently reported that Dolce & Gabbana pulled an ad featured in American, Italian and Spanish publications, due to the public outcry and - for once - governmental pressure, on the ground that it was offensive to women.
The ad shows a woman in a struggling pose and wearing some sort of bathing suit or underwear, with stylettos and blank look on her face, pinned down to the ground by a half-naked man, while four other men are gathered around them, watching.
This ad just make me want to vomit. It's just sick, sick, sick, sick, sick. But what is even sicker is the response from the dimwits at D&G, who justified the ad as merely reflecting an "erotic dream", a "sexual game" or a "fantasy rape". They also went as far as to say that they couldn't see how the ad could be interpreted as representing rape or promoting violence, and quickly added that they really "loved" women.
No shit. Surely, this picture provides a good illustration of healthy and empowering heterosexual social interactions.
Can't you feel the "love" they're talking about?
In Canada, when a couple of men gather around a woman and pin her to the ground to express their "love" to her, it's called sexual assault, and it's punishable by imprisonment.
I don't know what I find the most offensive: the glamourous depiction of rape in the ad itself, D&G's adamant denial of the character of the ad, or their suggestion that women fantasize about rape.
Oh right, not just rape. Gang rape. Don't we all dream about it?
In addition, D&G made a couple of other deeply troubling statements.
First, they suggested that even if the ad was indeed offensiven and did in fact depicted a rape, absent of overwhelming evidence of the widespread social harm thereof, they were justified in running the ad.
"The effects did not arrive in Italy until after the poor Spanish reaction [to] the ad. We understand that in Spain there is a truly important social emergency as far as violence against women [is concerned], which is why we did not want to offend anyone, so we immediately withdrew the image from all Spanish press."
So what the people at D&G are essential saying is that it's justified to use blunt references to rape, or rape myths or stereotypes, as an advertising medium in any country where violence against women in general, and rape in particular, is "not a problem anymore".
Another creepy thing about D&G's response to the negative public reaction to the ad was the dismissive tone in which they rebutted the criticism and trivialized the issue of sexual violence against women.
"We are sorry that unfortunately other campaigns also weren't understood, but we want to reaffirm that we never had the intention of causing noise or controversy in any way."
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