An “ironic patriotic comment on capitalist recruitment and identity” says Roger David.
In January last year I wrote about how Roger David’s menswear store was expanding from daggy men’s cardies into the violence and abuse t.shirt genre, I wanted to know why the men’s brand thought it acceptable to pimp porn-industry inspired messages about what women were good for.
This sparked a campaign by Collective Shout supporters against Roger David, which has been ongoing. Roger David has never bothered responding.
But now even the Advertising Standards Board thinks Roger David has crossed the line with this promotion for British clothing range “New Love Club”.
As you can see, the ad – which also features on New Love Club’s UK home page – depicts a teenage girl with a bar code on her shoulder which reads “slave”. She can’t speak because her mouth is stuffed with a Union Jack, rendering her gagged. She appears disheveled. The suggestion is that she is for sale. She is a slave at the “New Love Club”. Sexual slavery as new love. Trafficking as fashion chic.
In its determination, the ASB ruled:
The Board noted that the girl in the image was 18 but considered that she is depicted in a way that makes her appear younger than 18.
The Board considered that the overall impression of the part of the advertising material which depicted the girl was that of a girl presented as a sexual object – due to a combination of factors in particular the age of the girl, the text ‘new love club’ and the tattoo of the word ‘slave’ on her arm.
The Board also considered that the image of the girl could be seen to be suggestive of the girl being held against her will – with the ‘slave’ reference on her arm and the depiction of her with an object filling her mouth which, in the Board’s view, evoked a sense of the girl being ‘gagged’.
Roger David defended the ad as “ironic”. Don’t you just love how “ironic” is used to justify anything? Glamourising violence against women? Ironic. ‘Bitches Get Stitches’ t.shirts? Ironic. Women decapitated and blown up? Ironic. Facebook pages like “Define Statutory”, “I like my women how I like my Scotch: 10 years old and locked in my basement’ and ‘I like my women how I like my eggs: beaten’. All ironic. Perhaps New Love Club thinks its t.shirt bearing the image of a dead mostly naked Asian woman is ironic too.
This is my favourite bit, a work of comic genius by Roger David’s PR:
New Love Club’s main market in the United Kingdom is the student market. New Love Club produced the advertisement as a response to the current politic issues that affect this market, being the financial crisis which has had a direct impact on this market by raising tuition fees, ensuring that many of these young people will be crippled with debt into adult hood, and the conditioning of youth for their future roles in capitalism. New Love Club produced the image of the woman as a comment on youth and the national debt that now rests on their shoulders and as an ironic patriotic comment on capitalist recruitment and identity. Roger David believes that these same issues are relevant for young people in Australia, hence the use by Roger David of this image in its Australian marketing for the New Love Club brand of clothing.
The relevant audience for this advertisement is young men. Roger David strongly believes that young men would relate to this image, and would not see it as shocking or exploitative.
Do they even know how to spell capitalist recruitment?
I posted this comment on Mumbrella which reported the story yesterday
Melinda Tankard Reist – 17 Aug 11 – 1:21 pm
A young guy sees the “New Love Club” t.shirt with a young woman depicted as a sexual slave and thinks: “I really relate to that! I’ll wear it as an ironic patriotic comment on capitalist recruitment and identity.” Roger David must think we are all idiots. Collective Shout has been boycotting Roger David for some time now because of it flogging t.shirts for men depicting women naked, bound and gagged. We have no plans to stop.
I love Melanie’s comment:
Melanie -17 Aug 11 – 9:05 pm
The guys that wear the sexist, porno clothing churned out by Roger David wouldn’t even know how to spell ‘capitalist recruitment’ let alone ‘relate’ to it. I’d like to be a fly on the wall when these design ideas are thrown around ‘Hey Barry, we need another justification for this gagged chick on a shirt….Capitalism?…really?..can you spell that for me?…thanks…what does it mean?…actually don’t worry, i couldn’t be arsed learning a new thing.’
Belinda’s comment is also perfectly expressed:
Belinda – 17 Aug 11 – 1:30 pm
“young men would relate to this image, and would not see it as shocking or exploitative”. That’s the worst part: that our porn- and raunch-fuelled culture has created a cohort of people who find such an image acceptable. They see a gagged girl and think ‘meh’
Fortunately the Advertising Standards Board didn’t think ‘meh’. Nor do we. If you haven’t already joined our Roger David boycott, please do.
And please support Stop porn t.shirts FB page