Predictably, Calvin Klein’s new juicy (talking about the fruit,) ads have made the drawn criticism.
Ever since Brooke Shields, who is now a cool mom, said nothing would come between her and her Calvins, Calvin Klein ads have always sold the sexiness, and many are true works of art.
Now there’s this ad photographer Harley Weir shot featuring 23-year-old Klara Kristin’s stare and a shot up her dress. The Caption: “take a peek.”
What’s the difference between art, self-love, and a woman’s beauty and creepy, pervy, exploitation? Who gets to decide? Sometimes the public. The Advertising Standards Authority responds and reviews complaints and has removal power. But really, it’s anyone’s ballgame. One commenter, (one of many,) said it, “reinforces anti-woman, pro-objectivity culture.”
By the way, a recent campaign (not overtly sexy) that didn’t make the news, but was of a very youthful looking model in a playground.
If an amateur photographer took a photo of this woman without her permission, as many who make the news do, then no, that’s not celebrating a woman’s bod, but this is not that.
Previously, we’ve interviewed the woman who literally wrote the book on the image of women in ads, Jean Kilbourne, and she typically doesn’t favor women in silly poses, because men are never photographed like that.
“Calvin Klein is sending a message that the experiences of real-life victims don’t matter, and that it is okay for men to treat the woman standing next to them on the metro as available pornography whenever they so choose.”
It’s still up. The model defends it, calling out the policing of women’s bodies. “All this discussion about it makes me think about how alienated and scared some people are to the female human body. Be and love yourself and your sexuality #girlpower,” she wrote.
But to me, the difference between this Calvin Klein and that infamous American Apparel ad featuring a model obviously dresses ad a schoolgirl in a plaid skirt and cheerleader socks bent over from the perspective of the onlooker, is a HELLA different. Because with American Apparel, the subject is not aware of the gaze, the way a woman in a Modigliani painting is. Here, she looks at you. Plus the tag line is “I flash,” so the ad suggests it’s her prerogative to display expensive undies. But that’s me, and it’s all subjective. And what woman does in a selfie can never be stamped with that “desperate” stamp by someone else. What if it’s for her?