Sunday, September 23, 2007
Love sells. Rape sells better.
All right folks, new design is nice but we are in the business of publishing here so check on this "Photo story" titled Make Love Not War I picked-up today thanks to Cooper from wonderlandornot.net. Photographed by Steven Meisel and published by Vogue Italy on style.it this fashion catalog 'tells the story' of US soldiers in Iraq as they reveal the joy of play with a bunch of skeleton like wild looking young women.
Cooper thought it should have been described more like a "photo fantasy" targeted at ignorant men and suggested it has a "rape me" subtext. I tend to agree with Cooper on the subject as the "rape me" style seem to be gaining popularity recently. yes. I think it's there all right, at least in some of the images, and the fact it does not contain Iraqi looking women doesn't change much because that's how it works. because they don't have too. and mainly because western like women would fuel both male and female consumers much better.
I think the interesting thing about this campaign is that it does far more than just carrying another version of the "rape me" message. It is innovative in the sense of what it dares to do. Amazingly I should say, it seem to be notionally flirting with recently published information Iraq and the involvement of (some...) US soldiers in rape of Iraqi women. Hollywood is already aware of the trend and knows how well such a story is able to sell.
Famed film director Brian De Palma (Scarface, The Untouchables) was quoted just a week ago saying when he read about the Mahmudiyah incident in Iraq 2006 (that would be five US soldiers raped a local girl, killed her and her family) he knew he has "a story." Now don't get me wrong: I LOVE De Palma, it's just that I am almost positive the guys from Vogue had more or less the same idea in their mind. Love sells well, but rape sells better.
Looking at those images a few times, I can almost hear how it went: The creative team was perfectly aware of the recent stories. The subject was brought up and discussed. The advantages and disadvantages were discussed, I presume someone must have got up and said something like, “yeh, sure it might turn against us as some pretty ladies will claim this and that, but think about all the people who would talk about it...”.
True, the “any publicity is good publicity” equation might be changing nowadays as the new rules set by the “age of conversation” permeate deeper. Still, things are changing slowly and this campaign will probably achieve its mission, and some of it would be thanks to Cooper and myself. But I still think I should write this and you should read this. This is still the kind of world we live in.
See it all here judge yourself: Make Love Not War