Kids Point Out Bald-Faced Sexism in Fashion Ads

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By Diane Small

One thing I love about ethical fashion brands is that it’s very rare that they’ll depict  models in the typical, somewhat degrading positions mainstream designers show them in (in fact, I personally have never seen one!) You know what I mean: the junky passed out on the floor; the possibly murdered/beaten/raped woman lying askew on the ground; the glassy eyed, vacant stare of the high fashion model looking into the distance with a menacing male lurking in the background. I could go on.

After seeing hundreds of them every week, sometimes every day, we subconsciously absorb these images, all of which are usually shot by ‘top’ male photographers like Terry Richardson (who has been accused time and time again of sexual abuse, btw), Steven Klein and Steven Meisel. We start thinking such depictions are ‘normal’. But if we stop and think about it, the reality is, they’re horribly degrading to women. They depict women as prey; as worthless; as catty competitors, as victims. They’re very much aimed at the male gaze, though the targeted consumer is, apparently, female. Why do we continue to buy clothes from these brands? And why do we consider such ads to be respectable ‘high fashion’?

Spanish artists  Yolanda Domà­nguez  is about to raise awareness of fashion’s misogyny by simply asking kids what they think is happening in top fashion ads. Their answers may surprise you–and make you realise that actually, you feel the same.


Diane Small
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