Tuesday, 16 July 2013

The Fashion Industry and VAW

The Fashion Industry has played an influential role in modern society. As fashion signified female liberation and advancement in the first half of the twentieth century, the fashion of today does not have as much of an impact. With new styles come advertisements for the clothes.  Recently, a Lebanese purse designer Johnny Farah released an ad for his new collection. The ad depicted a man pulling a woman towards him by a belt wrapped around her neck.  The face of the woman was concealed with a bag positioned over her head.  This image is using the theme of violence against women to sell accessories.

This is not the first time that this kind of message has been shown in fashion pictorials. Designers such as Calvin Klein, Dolce and Gabbana, as well as high fashion magazines such as Vogue, have shown fashion ads showing images suggesting rape, domestic abuse, as well women being killed to sell clothing. By portraying women in this negative light, it is in a way desensitizing violence against women to those who view the ad.

The fashion industry is a multi-billion dollar industry that influences our society in important ways. As the fashion industry has implemented laws to protect garment workers, as well as under-aged models, what can be done to help decrease such images in ads?  Fashion is an element of art, but that doesn’t mean that these types of advertisements, with these undertones, are okay.

After numerous articles were written calling out this issue, one magazine made a statement defending their photos showing women as victims of such abuse. The magazine defended themselves by calling those who wrote the articles “narrow minded” and “sexist” for their views on the violent photos. Is it “narrow minded” for one to find a photo of a female with black eyes modeling high fashion offensive? Violence against women is a major issue in today’s world, which should not be taken lightly. How can progress be made when parts of our society refuse to truly understand the impact of what is portrayed in the media? As the fashion industry was once a symbol of liberated women, it must work to remain as such, and not become a symbol of the violence that crushes that liberation.


 By Megan Bird

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