London - What happens when you replace the female models from hyper-sexualised fashion ads with regular men? Absurd-looking images.
That’s what writers Holly Eagleson and Lauren Wade found out when they remade a selection of controversial ads as part of an essay on sexism for Take Part, a digital news & lifestyle magazine and social action platform (takepart.com)
Nudity-ridden campaigns shot by notorious fashion photographer Terry Richardson took centre stage, for brands including American Apparel and Tom Ford, as well as a Marc Jacobs ad shot by Jeurgen Teller featuring Victoria Beckham.
“I think as a whole we’ve just gotten used to seeing women depicted this way, and the only way we can change it is if we stop staying silent and demand change,” Wade told The Huffington Post.
Indeed, the risque shots of the female models enter a whole separate realm when digitally recreated with men instead; caught somewhere between creepy and hilarious.
However the work of Terry Richardson is far from funny according to the writer duo. They point particularly to his frequent collaborations with clothing giant American Apparel, which have resulted in several campaigns of questionable taste.
“(They) depict women in sexually vulnerable, pornographic positions where a lot of the model’s facial expressions look like they’ve been drugged or they’re drunk,” Eagleson and Wade argue. “These images are predatory.”
Their project couldn’t come at a more relevant time, given the trouble both Richardson and American Apparel have separately found themselves in recently. Richardson has been fending off sexual harassment allegations from models for almost a decade. In June, his history was explored in depth by a New York magazine feature, thrusting the issue back into the industry spotlight.
American Apparel also made headlines in June when it dismissed its own founder and chief executive, Dov Charney, after years of rumoured ethical mishaps. He too has faced several accusations of sexual misconduct; among them the claim that he kept an 18-year-old employee as a sex slave.
A Marc Jacobs ad featuring the open legs of Victoria Beckham poking out of a bag, shot by famous photographer Juergen Teller, also gets the Eageleson-Wade do-over.
“Surely the acclaimed lensman behind this ad didn’t intend to telegraph the message ‘Ladeez be trash!’. But the idea that femininity is a disposable commodity couldn’t be clearer.”
They conclude: “Richardson and Charney aren’t the first to create hostile work environments, nor are they pioneers in exploiting sexuality to sell clothes... However, their porny influence has trickled down through the ad industry to an alarming degree in the last two decades. It’s time someone called out the rampant sexism they’ve fostered.” – Daily Mail