Will the tacky cry for attention of taking women’s suffering and glamorizing it in ads never end? In the latest ad campaign for Calvin Klein, Danish actress Klara Kristen’s is photographed up-skirt with the caption, “I flash in #mycalvins.” In addition to the blatant recreation of violation, the model in the ad looks far younger than her 22-year-old age, further perpetuating the sexualization of very young girls that Calvin Klein has built its brand on. Perhaps Calvin Klein's target audience of pedophiles were feeling underrepresented and CK wanted to give a shout out those who have supported their long-running habit of creating controversy by “selling sex” in the form of child-like models.
In 2012, BUST published an in-depth article called The Legality Of Up-Skirting, which discussed the often futile endeavors women have gone through to have their perpetrators rightfully punished. The article explained that voyeurism laws are often ineffectual when most of the photos in question are taken in public. Even in the case of a man attempting to upskirt a 10-year-old girl, the man was protected by the public place loophole. So this lionizing homage to a severe social problem is particularly repulsive.
When asked to respond to the backlash, no apology was in sight when the Chief Marketing Office of Calvin Klein’s Melisa Goldie told the Daily Telegraph, “This campaign is representative of how culture is evolving as we speak. We’re bringing together a diverse mix of provocateurs with a unique collective of visual artists to create content that sparks and drives cultural conversation."
The biggest issue in the longterm is these ad companies continuing to take a traumatic experience that women so rarely get justice for, and call it “art." With such a lucrative business of websites paying for the traumatization and violation of privacy, I guess women should just add it to the list of reasons to be on guard in public. Because if we choose to wear a dress, we should be expected to be harassed, just as we should expect to be told to buy things that exploit and profit from the pain thrust upon women who rarely see justice served against their aggressors. The idea of stirring the pot to get people talking about you is getting old, and yet here we are giving them exactly what they want. In case you forgot, we have included a Calvin Klein’s long history of sexualizing often underage models:
The women who buy the product and keep the company alive do not deserve their archaic support of the misogynistic system that keeps them defenseless.
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Courtney Bissonette is a New York based writer and improv comedienne. She writes primarily about movies, pop cultures and feminist heroes. She gets along best with old people. She has seen more old movies than your grandma, probably. Salt from Salt n Pepa once took her Trick'r Treating. You can follow her on instagram at @gddamnitcourtney or twitter @courttette