I don’t know about you, but I see the words ‘victim’ and ‘beauty’ as contradictions. In the context of domestic violence, there is certainly nothing beautiful about falling victim to crimes that claim the lives of 2 women in the UK every week. Despite this, and my own personal opinions on/experiences of domestic violence, I wasn’t expecting to be particularly shocked when news of a controversial editorial glamorizing violence against women hit the Twitterverse yesterday.
But the images, from Bulgarian magazine 12, did shock me. They made me angry and, almost, upset. Because, among many things, I think the relationship between make-up and violence has been ignorantly misunderstood. Make-up is used to cover up the physical marks of domestic violence, not to highlight them. It seems the primary purpose of this shoot has been to shock readers, and the warning that it is ‘not for the fainthearted’ merely poses a challenge, an invitation to read on.
I’m not sure if ‘glamorizing’ is the right word to use. It could even be argued that the images have a positive effect in that they generate a discourse of this very important issue. But that, I think, is a naive stance to take. Because this is a beauty editorial, whose main focus is certainly not to bring attention to D.V. Instead, it just presents the bruises and cuts that so many women try to cover up in an inappropriate setting, and in very poor taste.
Other comments which sought to trivialize the controversy the photos had sparked claimed that the link between them and domestic violence was unfounded, and that women were perfectly capable of injuring themselves. Considering strangling bruises and slit throats are also portrayed, this is just one example of a saddening minority dismissing the complex issues the images hold.
With the rise of violent relationships among teenagers, the shoot is particularly inapt. Overall, I struggle to understand why this premise was approved for publication, when all it will do is cause upset and shock.
Images from Fashionista. See here for the full slide show.