Target: Franca Sozzani, Editor-in-Chief of Vogue Italia
Goal: Stop Vogue Italia‘s trivialization of domestic violence
A recent issue of Vogue Italia took the theme of domestic violence and used it to inspire a photo shoot in which terrified-looking models are pursued by a man with a knife. The photos are gratuitously violent and do nothing to help in the fight against domestic violence. Sign the petition and urge Vogue Italia to apologize for the issue and pursue more appropriate themes in the future.
Franca Sozzani, the editor-in-chief of Vogue Italia, is proud to be someone who pushes the envelope when it comes to publishing and fashion. However, there are some lines that should not be crossed, and a fashion shoot that glamorizes violence against women is highly inappropriate and disturbing. Models cower under stairs and behind doors, their faces terrified and haggard, their hair mussed, but their clothes in perfect order. One glassy-eyed model lies sprawled at the foot of a staircase, as if she has just been pushed down.
The magazine realizes that doing a fashion shoot about domestic violence could be considered poor taste. However, it appears utterly clueless that its feature is, in fact, inappropriate, prefacing the editorial with an statement of its solidarity with and support for “the dozens of women suffering violence every day.” Aside from the fact that Vogue Italia has woefully underestimated the number of people affected by domestic violence, its empty show of “support” is tasteless and baffling. How is it “supportive” of domestic violence survivors to publish their horrifying reality in the pages of a major magazine without so much as a trigger warning? How is it a condemnation of violence when victims of violence are transformed into living clotheshorses for the express purpose of selling clothing?
If Vogue Italia wants to aid in the fight against domestic violence, it could talk to actual survivors of domestic violence. It could publish a fashion editorial featuring activists who have worked on women’s issues or women who have survived domestic violence themselves. By all means, let us shine a spotlight on issues like domestic violence. But let’s do it in a way that honors the strength and resilience instead of glamorizing vulnerability and fear. Let survivors tell their own stories; do not dictate a role for them that makes them nothing more than vulnerable and passive pretty faces.
Dear Ms. Sozzani,
I am writing to express my strong disappointment in Vogue Italia for its recent domestic violence-themed photo spread. The shoot, which did nothing to aid in the fight against domestic violence, trivialized the pain and struggles of the many women (more than the “dozens” claimed in the article) who are affected by domestic violence. I urge you to apologize for this highly inappropriate and insensitive photo shoot, and to make amends to survivors of domestic violence through either a donation to or a partnership with an organization committed to ending domestic violence.
Imagine for a moment that you are a survivor of domestic violence who has struggled for a long time to come to terms with what has happened to you. You also happen to love fashion, so you are an avid reader of Vogue Italia. Imagine opening your newest issue of Vogue Italia only to see your worst memories spread out on the page before you–except they are now being used to sell clothes. How can the editorial team at Vogue Italia not see how incredibly threatening, insulting, and belittling this is? How can it claim to stand with survivors of domestic violence when it is co-opting their horrible life experiences to promote the fashion industry?
How can Vogue Italia trumpet ideas like solidarity and support against domestic assault when it is literally making models out of victims of violence? How can it claim to be pro-woman when it is intent on reducing women to passive victims who may be killed but will at least look pretty while they’re suffering?
It does not matter if the intent behind the editorial was pure and altruistic. The execution was insensitive, offensive, trivializing, triggering, and in horrible taste. If Vogue Italia is really as concerned as it claims to be about the struggle against domestic violence, it will immediately apologize for its tasteless insensitivity and set about making amends.
[Your Name Here]
Photo credit: kustermann alessandra via Flickr