This image is from the latest Rivers catalogue advertising “10 deadly deals”.
The woman, in fishnet stockings and stiletto heels, is situated under a couch with only her stockinged legs in view. Rivers is the latest company to promote the idea that dead women are sexy. Nothing like a female corpse to sell some product, right Rivers?
In an apparent attempt to make cardigans (like this one right) seem risqué and edgy, Rivers engages the concept of dead women as the new black. Rivers products have been questioned for their lack of quality but the company’s ethics must be questioned as well. As Collective Shout documents, this is not the first time members have taken Rivers to the Advertising Standards Board.
I’ve written about this trend to appropriate violence against women as a hot new source of creative advertising possibilities too many times now including ‘You look so good in blood: violence is like so hot right now’ . In December Collective Shout identified some of the worst offenders of sexploitation and violence and asked that you cross them off your Christmas list .
Why try to perpetuate this hideous ideal that a victimised woman is sexy? Ex River’s staffer speaks out
Fiona T, a former River’s employee, spoke out about her feelings in a comment on Collective Shout’s site:
As a former employee of Rivers who was once very proud to say that I had worked for such an upstanding and down to earth Aussie company as Rivers, I find myself disappointed and at times disgusted by the turn Rivers has taken with its advertising. The advertising once was witty and carefree. Unique and amusing. Now it is often repulsive and shocking. Please tell me who was behind the thinking that dead women in thigh-high fishnets and stillettos is going to be a good way of selling clothing & footwear. I know there are many family men amongst the decision makers there at Rivers (at least there used to be). Tell me how you would feel if your daughter was seeing a man who thought that the image of a sexed up woman dead under a couch was appealing? Why try to perpetuate this hideous ideal that a victimised woman is sexy. Why not promote the ideal of strong, smart, powerful women, as I’m sure many of the women in your target market (not to mention your employees and families) are.
Turn it around, Rivers. Make me proud again.
Alice from River’s responded that the cover was “not intended to cause offence” and wished my colleague Melinda Liszewski a “great day”.
Alice, we could possibly have a “great day” if your company wasn’t trivializing violence against women. A scourge on the planet, violence against women is not funny, amusing or fodder for advertising. What Rivers is doing is a deadly deal for women.