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Dolce & Gabbana Cancel Controversial Ad Campaign

Domenico Dolce and Stefano Gabbana, the duo behind the popular design label D&G, are withdrawing their ad from circulation after protests erupted in Italy and Spain.

The ad, which women's rights groups call a "fantasy rape," features a lone woman in a prone position being held down by a shirt-less man while a group of men looks on. While D&G is known for their racy ad campaigns, many women's groups think this photo has gone too far and that it promotes violence against women.

In the U.S, the ad ran in the March issue of Esquire and it promted this response from Kim Gandy, President of the National Organization for Women: "...the idea that even a stylized image of rape appeals to a broad readership of men is disturbing."

Dolce & Gabbana insist that the ad was never meant to be controversial and that it represented an erotic dream; a sexual game.

The timing for the ad's release couldn't have been worse; Spain was in the midst of dealing with a large wave of crimes against women at the time of publication, and public outrage over the image was high.

Earlier this week, after demands from the Spanish government and Italian senators, Dolce and Gabbana decided to withdraw the ads from all publications.

The debate rages over whether or not this image represents an artistic interpretation of a sexual fantasy, or if it just glorifies rape. As the fashion industry continues to push the envelope and strives to remain cutting edge the line between risque and offensive continues to blur.

So, just how far is too far?

Published Wednesday, March 07, 2007 12:49 PM by AngelaA
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IrFashion said:

I like it!
March 7, 2007 4:15 PM

Jenn said:

I like it as well. People get far too touchy. If the attention had never been drawn to it, the whole 'gang rape' and 'anti-woman' thing wouldn't have been a big deal.
March 8, 2007 4:25 PM

JB said:

As a woman, this ad scares the living crap out of me. It's like a warning to not get out of line. Women shouldn't be shown this way. And no, it's not just "for shock value" or "the way things are". It's scary, and unacceptable!
March 8, 2007 4:58 PM

lolainchesaway said:

Looks like a glorified gangbang to me
March 8, 2007 5:20 PM

elle d. bea said:

as a woman totally comfortable with sexual imagery and expression, and who digs D&G, i have to say that my *first* impression when i looked at the photo, was to feel very disturbed.  i'm D&G's target audience, believe me.  yet and each time i scroll back up and look at it again (thinking that maybe my first impressions will have worn off), that same feeling comes right back, of feeling boxed in, and finding the picture disturbing.  
March 8, 2007 5:40 PM

Sherri said:

Is that Elvis' granddaughter, Riley Keough, modeling for them again?
March 8, 2007 9:06 PM

Matt said:

I deifnitely agree with it being pulled. I can understand how a woman would feel uncomfortable with this photo.

D&G really doesnt need to shock people to sell clothes so the photo could have been done in a less demeaning way...
March 8, 2007 9:54 PM

unhappy said:

if she were smiling, i'd reconsider
but fantasy or not, sexual violence is violence.
March 9, 2007 12:11 AM

nikki said:

i think you people are all silly and its hot..
March 9, 2007 2:23 AM

shermaine/ said:

i think its really rubbish.
i mean, what the hell?
only psychos will think that way.
it NEVER occured to me.
besides, look at it the art way.
gosh, some ppl just wont learn.
March 9, 2007 9:39 AM

bronwyn said:

Although this image gives me the creeps, if pornography can't be proven to change the male opinion of what is acceptable to think/do about/with women, then I hardly think this add would.
March 9, 2007 10:51 AM

JManning said:

Although yes, using rape to sell clothing of all things (if this is even supposed to be depicting such a thing - who knows with these cats - it could be showing the struggle of women for fair work wages for all we friggin' know), the males looking at these ads aren't going to be looking at the lady other than to wish they could trade places with her, if you know what I mean.
March 9, 2007 11:56 AM

julie said:

Definitely wrong. There are risque photos I have no problem with but this just gives me that eerie feeling that rape can be "sexy", "hot", "fashionable", when it's not. It should never be thought of that way. As advertising campaign for whole countries, it's downright dangerous and unacceptable.
March 9, 2007 3:48 PM

Okay Fuck you Dolce & Gabbana! « Words From The Center, Words From The Edge said:

PingBack from http://naamenblog.wordpress.com/2007/03/09/okay-***-you-dolce-gabbana/
March 9, 2007 11:11 PM

Sexy or Offensive? « Jewaira’s Boudoir said:

March 10, 2007 2:02 AM

a woman's man said:

i'm a guy and i think the picture is absolutely disgusting.
March 10, 2007 2:18 AM

BethyBelle said:

I think this ad is actually pretty hot...those guys are smokin!
March 10, 2007 8:18 PM

:] said:

you guys are crazy. its not that bad. its not like someone is gonna see it, and be like, "oh. well. now, im gonna go rape someone."

come on people. its a good picture.

March 10, 2007 8:36 PM

Nicole said:

If this image is intended to depict a consentual sex act there is NO problem. Is it so hard to believe that some women may actually enjoy BDSM and "rape" fantasies?
March 12, 2007 1:11 AM

Style Scene said:

A Giorgio Armani Junior advertisement may be the next fashion ad to spark a heated debate. The ad, which...
March 12, 2007 3:56 PM

aj said:

I think the picture is sexy!
wouldn't be such a big deal if it were a bunch a women holding a man down!
Stupid... people find ANYTHING to fuss over!

March 16, 2007 5:53 PM

Not a Stupid Girl said:

It's hard enough being a young girl in a world that constantly seems to tell you that your most important contribution to society is beauty and sexiness, but ads like these also send the message that women are nothing more than sexual playthings for men.

Frankly, I find it gross and disturbing, particularly in the context of a fashion ad that will be viewed by young people the world over.
March 16, 2007 9:44 PM

Elmira said:

'Dolce & Gabbana insist that the ad was never meant to be controversial and that it represented an erotic dream; a sexual game.'

What erotic dream/sexual game do they have in mind?? There are other ways for showing this... and this ad is not the one. ít would have been better if the man wouldn't grab her arms and that those other guys were out of the picture, thén the ad would have been hot!

when I first saw the picture, I was like: what the f***?!

April 9, 2007 12:57 PM

...? said:

As I see it, this is not going to be the direct cause of rapes (though psychos – those who actually rape women – would probably be influence in some pervert way by this picture). The problem is the image that this picture creates in people’s minds. Violating a woman’s right to the control of her own body and values, and imposing strength upon her will be considered as sexy, and young girls will start believing that it is ok and sexy to be submissive to a man. I think this is dangerous

May 2, 2007 11:11 AM

Vina said:

Gotta say that I'm not seeing any rape in the image.  A group sex fantasy, sure, but nothing disturbing.

May 14, 2007 6:01 PM

Clove said:

funny. I wasnt thinkin about such things. Think about this: What about if we see the picture in a positive way?

Artistically the pic is really good. It also suits the DG's image as the rebellious and controversial fashion label. The first time I saw the ad, I didnt think about the rape, coz, like you guys said, her face looks very comfortable. I was thinking about "wow, this woman is great, she could handle more than one guy."

I know my opinion doesn't make sense, but hey, people can see it in different ways right?? I'm not sure that DG have perjudice against women, because obviously they sell women's clothing. So, yeah. It's just how the way you take things and read it through.

May 14, 2007 11:45 PM

Requisite Handle said:

The fact that the portrayal of rape isn't something many people see anything wrong with is far more disturbing than the ad itself.  Outside it's pervading cultural context where men are expected to be sexual predators, this ad is just a really horribly arranged and absurdly stiff "stylization" (if something so lacking in artistic merit could be called stylized) of some people.  But outside it's prevading cultural context, these words are meaningless, so really who cares what the image is out of context.  In context it's just another of the countless millions of supports that normalize and eroticize sexual violence.  So when people ask, "what's the big deal?"  I say, "look around.  see how ubiquitous the dehumanized female sex-toy icon is, and then ask yourself, why is our society so driven to portray women in this way?  How might this overwhelming cascade of iconography and symbolism affect my own unconscious attitudes and behavior in regards to sex and women?"

May 19, 2007 3:58 AM

betty said:

I'm a woman, and I think the ad is very sexy and I thik too, that there's  too much ***  in this world to be criticizing this simple ad. Why don't they go and start talking about all this porn sites where woman are actually having sex with 4 men at the same time.....they sure don't care about that. Dolce & Gabbana ads are  full of sex and hotness and wet men in underwear and woman holding cameras filming other men in underwear etc etc etc.......I liked the ad, or maybe is the fact that I am very "open minded" about sex. to me this ad rocks. And I totally love her shoes.

June 2, 2007 2:21 AM

» Sexy or Offensive? « Jewaira’s Boudoir-My 1983 said:

August 4, 2007 5:23 AM

fantasy rape stories said:

September 3, 2008 12:35 PM

rape fantasy stories said:

September 11, 2008 6:41 AM

Offensive: Check! « Brynnl808's Blog said:

November 20, 2009 1:35 PM

msi_freak_jess said:

I think it's insane that this advert has been pulled! I think it's great at grabbing a readers attention and the way the photograph has been set up it is clearly a fantasy scene not a real depiction of rape or degrading to women! For all they know it may have been the womans fantasy! Who wouldnt want some sexy time with those gorgeous men?!

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