December 3, 2014

No Love for this Christmas Advent, Just More Exploitation

This week, LOVE, the popular British style magazine, launched a “festive” way to celebrate the advent of Christmas by glamorizing sexual exploitation. Their ploy has now gone viral with many viewers complaining about their tactics.

The annual online calendar reveals a short video of a model or celebrity in lingerie in a pornographic pose.

What this has to do with either Christmas or fashion, aside from the odd reindeer antler or Santa hat, is a mystery. What is clear, however, is that LOVE is cashing in on a hypersexualized culture that requires near-to-fully nude women in order to make a statement. Even about something as charming as the Christmas spirit.

The women in the LOVE’s advent calendar are simply there to be ogled for their nakedness and sexuality. Rather than be appreciated for their personality or intellect, they are shamelessly chopped up by the camera into parts for consumption. They are not the strong, willful women LOVE claims to cater to, who know their own mind and contribute meaningfully to the world. They are submissive entertainment of the worst sort: cheap and impersonal.

In 2010, Suzanne Weinstock of the Columbia University Graduate School of Journalism explained that, “Despite its glossy pages, the magazine has a raw look… Nudity is plentiful in many styles, from the grittily pornographic to the breathtakingly artistic.” In an effort to appear current and edgy, LOVE has created a culture of sexual exploitation, rather than solid content.

The magazine, launched in 2009, featured a naked Beth Ditto, an American singer-songwriter, on its inaugural cover, lest there be any confusion about the focus of the fashion magazine. In response to this, Emily Hill of The Guardian wrote, “LOVE have [sic] missed a trick if they think they can exploit [Ditto’s] naked body to elevate the meaning of the magazine.” This branding set the stage for other exploitive images, like this Christmas advent calendar.

I know LOVE isn’t the only company using sex to sell Christmas, but this campaign is particularly offensive when the purpose is to sell women this brand of sexuality. If they were truly interested in empowering women, LOVE would forge a new path rather than follow the likes of Cosmo who dish out the idea that a pornified woman is the only type of desirable woman.

Further Reading