Wednesday, March 18, 2015

Wanted: Ideologically-Pure Celebrity Spokesperson(s)—UPDATED

What's the difference between gang rape and a gang bang? Well, in the latter, the victim consents to her debasement; in extreme cases, she convinces herself that it's freeing and even empowering to be used as a spooge rag by three or more men.

In other words, not much save a degree of self-deception.

The question is only interesting because various condemnations of designers Domenico Dolce and Stefano Gabbana revolve around the 2007 ad to the left. According to America's Next Top Model judge Kelly Cutrone, it's a gang bang. According to Catholic bloggers Katrina Fernandez and Simcha Fisher, it's a gang rape. I suppose it doesn't really matter, because both sides find it sufficient grounds for attainting the designing duo. Just goes to show that no advertising mistake is ever truly forgiven.
"Now you're offended?"

... Though I wonder why it took Cutrone eight years to find outrage sufficient to make her cut up her D&G possessions. I guess implicitly misogynistic ads aren't really offensive unless they're put out by gays who support traditional marriage and family. Or does having really cool designer clothes trump the feminist consciousness?

Now, they're being forced to walk back the "synthetic babies" comment. Yes, it was crass and insensitive ... or is it really painful because it exposes our insecurites about IVF? When Sir Elton John calls IVF "a miracle that has allowed legions of loving people, both straight and gay, to fulfil their dream of having children," doesn't he imply that children exist to satisfy peoples' needs, like cars, TVs, and cruise ships? Isn't that the ugly little utilitarian-materialist fly in the IVF baby ointment — that it makes children a consumer product to which people are entitled (if they have enough money)?

(And when he chastises the designers, "Your archaic thinking is out of step with the times, just like your fashions," what does that say about Sir Elton's Thursdayite sense of right and wrong, save that it's dictated by what's trendy rather than what's true?)

[UPDATE] Two donor-conceived people, Hattie Hart and Alana Newman, agree. Writing in The Federalist, they say:

It is important to note ... that infants, toddlers, and all of these “miracle” beings are too young to protest their own objectification. We [the authors], however, are now of age and in a position to speak for ourselves. “Synthetic” indeed is a harsh and inaccurate description of us offspring born by third-party reproduction. Dolce’s word choice was a mistake. But there is much underlying truth in what he said: “life [does] have a natural flow, there are things that should not be changed.” Emphasis ours.
Those of us conceived non-traditionally are full human beings with equal capacity in every regard — no one need question our humanity. It is not our individual, case-by-case worth as humans that is debatable; rather, it is how we value human beings in general that warrants discussion. Has anyone asked John for how much he purchased his kids? How much money he and Furnish paid the boy’s genetic and birth mother for their absence and invisibility? ...
Team Elton, and the media that surround them, seem to think that this discussion is about gay parents. Team Dolce and  Gabbana are instead trying to draw attention to missing parents. And to what should be the horror of millions, Team Elton is literally promoting the obliteration of mothers—not through vilification, but by pretending they don’t even exist. [Read my Catholic Stand post, "The Man (Or Woman) Who Isn't There"!—ASL]
Ultimately, I don't think it's wise to get too involved in these bouts of celebrity narcissistic rage. Probably the designers' business will suffer ... but where clothing fashions are concerned, sorry, I'm fresh out of rat's asses. Besides, freedom of speech doesn't mean you force people to buy from vendors whose views they disagree with; if you've got the cash to afford their clothing and accessories, feel free to engage in a Chik-fil-A-style anti-boycott.

Nevertheless, in a society where the success of social movements is all too dependent on celebrity endorsements, it would be nice to have celebrity spokespersons who don't come with this kind of baggage.