Thursday, October 8, 2009

The fashion ad that makes people want to Ralph

Ralph Lauren is in Dutch with the Internet, thanks to this bizarrely-proportioned model who appeared in an ad:

No, she doesn't look like that in real life. It's a Shoop.

According to Yahoo's Shine blog, the image was first posted on Photoshop Disasters, then picked up by Boing Boing.

And here's where it gets really stupid:

"Ralph Lauren responded by filing a Digital Millennium Copyright Act (DMCA) complaint against Boing Boing and Photoshop Disasters, claiming that their use of the image was a copyright infringement that fell outside of the Fair Use laws which allow the media to reproduce creative content for the purposes of commentary and criticism."

PS Disasters caved (they say Blogspot actually pulled it out from under them), but Boing Boing did not:

" Ralph Lauren, GreenbergTraurig, and PRL Holdings, Inc: sue and be damned. Copyright law doesn't give you the right to threaten your critics for pointing out the problems with your offerings. You should know better. And every time you threaten to sue us over stuff like this, we will:

a) Reproduce the original criticism, making damned sure that all our readers get a good, long look at it, and;

b) Publish your spurious legal threat along with copious mockery, so that it becomes highly ranked in search engines where other people you threaten can find it and take heart; and

c) Offer nourishing soup and sandwiches to your models."

God love Boing Boing. But to be honest, I'm much more bothered by the attempted stifling of criticism than I am by the pic itself.

I realize that unrealistic body images are a real issue with girls, and I'm not trying to negate any of the complaints against the practice. I just feel, as a righteous adman, that we would be better off educating young people in school not to believe their eyes when they see photographs in ads.

Unrealistic body imagery in fashion has always been there:

The real challenge is that, while nobody thought those illustrations were real, altered photos of models and actresses are deceptively realistic.

I really wish they taught media awareness in public school. I'd love to write in their textbook: "Assume that nothing you see in ads is real. The ice cream is mashed potatoes, the hamburger is foam rubber, and the model wouldn't look like that if she starved herself dead."

Hell, they're even smoking herbal cigarettes in Mad Men...

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