14 Aug 2014

Agent Provocateur's new video proves we are fashion hypocrites

Since I've discovered the fashion industry's insides, I've painfully realized how a supposed world of beauty and beatitude is actually judgmental, discriminatory and sometimes racist. It's not a secret you won't get on a catwalk if you are not almost starving before trying, it's not a secret you won't get a chance to become a supermodel just by working hard, it's not a secret that fashion brands don't give a damn on your almost utopian ideas of respect for a woman's body as long as they need to sell their products. And sex sells. It always did. Some might find it offensive and insulting, some might even like it on the contrary. 

Yet what I noticed is that all the outrage regarding sexism in fashion advertising is almost always related to women. We all have something to say when a woman's body is used as a sexual object, but we are silent in hypocrisy when this happens to a man. We are stupefied when we see a Tom Ford ad featuring a woman's naked body and a fragrance, however we absolutely love singing loud Beyonce's famous "Who run the world? Girls...". A Chanel campaign featuring a man beating the shadow of a woman might cause some serious issues in the media, while an image of a man on a leash is more likely to be perceived as an innocent fetish. 

"Aren't we just a bunch of fashion hypocrites?" I've asked myself when I first saw Agent Provocateur's latest video directed by no one else but Penelope Cruz. The story line features a thirsty crawling man in a desert and a bunch of sexually provocative women trying to seduce him with lascivious dance moves. As he tries to get closer to them craving for rescue, one of the dancers gets a bottle of water and splits it on her naked body, literally enforcing the poor guy to lick it. 

By far, this is one of the most repulsive and disgusting moments I've seen in a fashion ad campaign. Yet, the worst part is about the ignorant reactions it caused.  People liked it and found it really cool and sexy. People didn't find anything wrong about abusing, emasculating and humiliating a man. 

Let's try a simple exercise of roles exchange. Imagine for a second an ad campaign in which a woman is kept on a leash by a man... Imagine how women around the world would react if Jay Z would proudly sing "Who run the world? Boys (or men)"...Imagine how a video ad would look like when a bunch of sexy athletes would humiliate a thirsty, dying woman in a desert... Would we react the same? I bet no. Therefore, women who are yelling about their rights while they are not properly perceiving  sexism should reconsider their options next time they want to make a point against misogyny. 

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