Tell Me That Using Battered Women in Ads Won't Become a Trend

Edmonton, Canada Fluid Hair Salon controversial battered woman adThe purpose might have felt noble to Fluid Hair Salon owner Sarah Cameron, but the response to her battered woman cool hair ad includes death threats.

Cameron says she is trying to provoke response around the extreme nature of politically-correct dialogue in modern society. While I agree with Cameron that even we’re ready to ask bloggers like Jezebel to educate us all on exactly what can be said and what not said — as freedom of expression is all but lost between the pc crowd and the far right — this was a poor choice of subjects, words and visual effects. 

As a very battered woman myself in the past and a supporter of the 40,000 women flogged in Sudan each year or the women of India who are put in the oven for the slightest infraction, knowledge of the extreme nature of our misogynistic world demands that we label this ad stupid, insensitive beyond recognition coming from women, and a failure in igniting the real conversation Sarah Cameron says she wants to provoke.

In calling the model ‘the hottest battered woman’ ever, the Edmonton, Canada hair salon owner plays into another part of modern culture that is equally disturbing — the marketing companies that will stoop as low as they need to go to get attention. Her creative consultant Tiffany Jackson is astounded over the negative response, suggesting that Tiffany may live in her own bedazzled world.

The ad has led to the salon being vandalised with words in pink and purple ‘This is art that is wrongly named violence’ and ‘That was violence wrongly named art’.

With a different tag line, based on the reality that the batterer is about to give his victim a diamond necklace as a makeup present, Cameron could have made her point and stood up for battered women simultaneously.

The same pc crowd that protested Vogue Italia’s Steven Meisel oil spill editorial last fall would have screamed. The bloggers who are now in orbit with the allegation that Crystal Renn had her eyes taped in her recent Vogue Nippon editorial would be pounding Twitter. The calls to punish Vogue Italia for using the term ‘slave earrings’ — and rejecting the word ‘ethnic’ earrings instead — come from folks who are clamoring for the end of free speech, calling all of the above creative moments ‘insensitive’.

But at least the rest of us insensitive slugs could defend Fluid Hair for raising a valid point about modern culture’s politically-correct straightjacket. As it stands, there is no defense of the use of battered women in this way and with this tag line.

We print Cameron’s statements — not because we support her ad for a second — but because we do understand her oncerns about freedom of speech.

‘It might strike a chord, but as the way our society and community is getting, we keep tailoring everything because everyone is getting so sensitive.’

Since the uproar against big hoop earrings being called ‘ethnic’ and referencing the historical reality of slavery in fashion tabu, we’re clear that pc writing rules in our increasingly totalitarian American society.

Tyler Shields Heather Morris Photos

In an unrelated incident, photographer Tyler Shields said that he was not gamourizing violence against women with his images of a black-eyed Glee actress Heather Morris. Faced with a major controversy on his hands, Shields says he will be auctioning off one of the photos to benefit a domestic violence charity.

The series of images — seen here on the Tyler Shields’ blog — also includes this one which expresses major payback from his victim.

While rejecting political correctness to its excess, I am concerned about the celebration of sexual violence against in a season that is playing fashionable with BDSM references anyway. My gut instincts so far tell me that the majority of new editorials place the woman in a submissive position rather than dominant one.

Not too many women are holding the whip so far in Fall 2011 fetish-BDSM-inspired editorials, a reality that places women like me in a treacherous position of defending ‘art’ while writing that fashion’s misogyny against women is real from my perspective. Anne