Fashionably battered

Jess McCabe at The F-Word dicusses Benetton’s new “Colors of Domestic Violence” ad campaign, featuring models made up to look like victims of domestic violence. Benetton’s been making shocking ads that they say are intended to promote good causes for a long time. And there’s no doubt that these ads do raise awareness of domestic violence. Still, there’s something a little troubling, given that our reaction to fashion ads is meant to be along the lines of “I want to look like that! I’ll go buy that sweater!” Hmm. What do you think?

2 thoughts on “Fashionably battered

  1. Yes, the images are disturbing aren’t they… But you can imagine (at least) two ways of taking them: on the one hand, one might object that these pictures are just ‘normalising’ domestic violence, making people used to seeing fashionable folk in their Benetton threads with black and blue faces. On the other hand, one might read it positively, as an attempt to show that anyone, even your run-of-the-mill Benetton model/shopper, can be a victim of domestic violence…

    A third possibility: one might object to Benetton exploiting the issue of domestic violence to court controversy and sell more sweaters.

  2. (According to the f-word, Benetton is now disavowing themselves from the ad campaign)

    However good the intentions of the clothing company, I don’t see any benefit to this particular ad campaign. If the company is trying to do some good, why not include a crisis line number, or some useful information for victims of domestic abuse? Perhaps donate some money to the people they’re commercializing? Rather, they’re discluding information that might help victims and commercializing their bodies and situations. It’s trivializing the whole issue of domestic abuse.

    If the company is attempting to do the most good it can, it’s failed. There are better ways to go about raising awareness of domestic abuse.

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