From Tracie: Domestic Violence Isn't Sexy

Monday, September 05, 2011

Domestic Violence Isn't Sexy

Two photo shoots. Two bruised women. Both made news last week:

Tyler Shields says this picture of Heather Morris is not about domestic violence, "We wanted to do a bruised up Barbie shot, and that is exactly what we did."
Heather Morris with black eye, by Tyler Shields
I guess the depiction of a bruised women is more tasteful if she is meant to represent a toy?
Heather Morris with black eye, arms bound by iron cord
Source: Tyler Shields

Sarah Cameron says this ad for Fluid Salon was meant to not only sell haircuts, but also to spark controversy, "We wanted to push limits....We just like art."
Hair Salon ad - woman with black eye sitting on couch, man behind her holding large diamond necklace
Source: Facebook
It looks like an ad for a hair salon to me. The woman sits on the couch with fancy hair and a black eye, and the text is information about the salon, with the tag, "Look good in all you do".  Presumably even after being beaten?

If the point of this ad was to raise awareness or spark conversations about domestic violence - I would expect information about a women's shelter or a hotline number to appear somewhere on the ad. All I see is another glamorization of a bruised woman.

Domestic violence isn't sexy. 
It isn't hot. It isn't a great inspiration for a photo shoot. It is very real and very serious.

-1 in 4 women will experience domestic abuse in her lifetime.
-Domestic violence is the leading cause of injury to women.
-An average of three women and one man are murdered every day in the US by an intimate partner.
(If you are the victim of domestic abuse, please call the National Domestic Violence Hotline: 1-800-799-SAFE (7233), and know that you are not alone. There is hope.) 

I am disgusted with the continued portrayal of women beaten, bruised, and raped - in ads, media, and photo campaigns.

Rape is not funny, and violence against women (or men!) is not sexy.


  1. That is absolutely disgusting.
    It's vile to think that any person would view this as "art"
    Thank you for standing up against this. I'm standing right there with you.

  2. People who think subversive and creative means being thoughtless and ignorant are not artists. They are sad, boring and at times, dangerous.

  3. Having lived through abuse, these photos make me sick.

    Thank you for sharing this...for shedding light on something that is completely unacceptable.

  4. it is amazing how some would use this was cute...great article

  5. This is disgusting. It is normalizing abuse. "It's okay that your husband beats you because you can still be beautiful." Abused women do NOT need to see ads like this. Men do not need to see this and glamorize abuse. Abuse-emotional, physical, sexual-is never sexy.

    Thank you so much for bringing this to light.

  6. it is disturbing the criminal acts in advertising today, or the suggested criminal acts. in the ad for the video girls gone wild there is an assault with a guy grabbing a woman's breast spontaneously in public. that this sh*t is allowed on the airwaves and in magazine pages shows who runs society: companies with money and they do whatever they want to, despite laws or clear standards of behavior.

  7. I saw a story about these the other day and it made me want to cry. I don't know how someone would think that this is ok, especially Heather Morris from Glee. She should know better. Whether she likes it or not she is a role model and she is glamorizing abuse. It is not right at all.

  8. thank you for speaking out. ugh. gag.

  9. Wow, thank you for posting this. The ignorance and thoughtlessness in these is unreal. About "pushing limits?" Really? You've got to be kidding me.

  10. What!!! This is totally wrong. Trying to gain points and push the limits is beyond me. Appreciate you posting this Tracie.

  11. Yikes. I hadn't seen these ads. Definitely in bad taste.

  12. A bruised up Barbie shot? What on Earth is the point? Totally in bad taste. Heather Morris is going to get a little bit older and look back on this feeling really embarrassed.

  13. As a survivor of domestic violence, I find this stuff disgusting. Thank you for your outrage!

  14. WTH?? Apparently these people have never knowingly had domestic violence infiltrate their lives or that of their loved ones. Had they , they would have NEVER done such tacky disgusting ads.

  15. I had seen the "bruised up Barbie" pics which were bad enough but the one on the couch seems sooo much worse. Is the diamond necklace some kind of pitiful apology or worse pay off for the beating? It's not edgy. It's sexy. It's not cool. It's ignorant and sends a terrible message to our daughters. And as an artist, I feel comfortable saying that it is not art.

    There are more interesting ways to draw attention to a young actress or a hair design. You are right to speak out. Between the JC Penney tshirts and these campaigns, I wonder about the art directors and marketers of the world. Do none of them have daughters or do they just not care?

  16. Oh my goodness. And I thought the FB meme's for breast cancer awareness were distasteful.....this brings a whole new meaning to inappropriate! Thank you for sharing these--bringing awareness to what IS important, and for linking up to JBE!

  17. Ugh! Let those people live through an abusive relationship then see if they can 'push their advertising limit' that way. This is so disgusting and makes me sick. I have known women here who stays in their marriage bruises and all just to safe their faces from the society. Thanks for sharing this!

  18. this art is tacky and tastless. These women should be offended that they are doing this..
    ugh. thanks for posting this!

  19. This is incredible. Not only is it in poor taste and irresponsible... but I find no artistic value in it. I don't see any limits being pushed at all - it just seems stupid.
    Violence is NOT sexy, should NOT be glamorized, and is NOT smart advertising.
    Thanks for speaking up, Tracie.

  20. I couldn't agree with you more. This is all in very poor taste, and it's not a subject to made light of. At all.

  21. Agreed. These were neither funny or entertaining. Which leads me to the question...who were these ads meant to target?

  22. Ugh. Just like the FB meme which *supposedly* will raise awareness for breast cancer, this also makes no sense to me at all. Seriously. Who thought this would be a good idea?? Thank you for bringing this to our attention, and for linking up to JBE!

  23. You people are all a bunch of drones. Nobody wants to hear your sniveling. As if the only way women could ever get a black eye is from an @$$#0|e they're in a relationship with. It -automatically- means "domestic violence". You people need psychological help. It is no more unacceptable to show a female with a "black eye" than it is to show a male with a black eye.

  24. Are you censoring the comment I made yesterday because you disagree?