Fashion Ad Features 17-Year-Old Girl Being Choked. No Big Deal?

Jezebel recently discussed a Pop fashion magazine photograph in which the camera closes in on a nude woman with a man's hand gripped around her neck, to which the author commented, "To call this editorial 'disturbing' is an understatement."

Maybe I'm blind (or effed in the head), but I don't see the issue. My mind immediately associated the image of a man's hand gripped around a throat with sex. "What's the big deal?" I thought to myself.

Upon reading the rest of the article, some other details came into play. Apparently, the model is 17 years old.

Sit on that. OK. Moving on.

Her parents sued a photographer after some "salacious" photos of her 15-year-old self ended up printed on T-shirts at Urban Outfitters, not a European fashion magazine. In the photographs, the model, Hailey Clauson, has her legs spread, and reveal "portions of her breasts."

OK. Moving on.

Before she was even 16, she had walked the runway for Calvin Klein, Versace, Christian Dior, and become a face of Gucci.

OK. Moving on.

We've all been here. Don't lie.
We've all been here. Don't lie.

I'm not sure what emotions these new details were supposed to convey, but if it was repulsion for the outrageous photo in question, I missed the point -- again.

It's true she's 17, which is, uh, you know, kinda sketch. But if I were to see it as the girl I was at 17, as someone coming into her own, sexually and otherwise, I would see it more as a reflection of maturation, in at least that of the curiosity that lives in the mind.

Did a photographer take advantage of her being young and maybe, still, somewhat spineless to the man, fully knowing what she wants and what consequence really means? Perhaps. Scuzzy photographers and industry is nothing new, but I get the outrage. Its commonality should not negate it's disgustingness.

However, maybe this is more a case of us pretending that women (on a mainstream, not subcultural, level) get off on being choked, or being submissive, or trying something different in the sack ... whether it's when we're 17, 27, 37 or 57.

What is it about the choking that's particularly offensive? Are there indications that the spread's theme was kidnapping or domestic battery? If there was no such theme or even hints at one, then maybe the image should be judged as a stand alone piece. Domestic abuse or battery is not the first thought that came to my mind, perhaps because I've never been in an abusive relationship, and consider my sex life and preferences healthy ones.

If it was a woman in her 30s, and not a fashion photograph, but instead a painting, and it were hanging at an art gallery, then then, and maybe then, would we see the truth in life in the art and call it beautiful.

Melysa Martinez writes a sex column at clatl.com/areyoushaved. Follow her on Twitter at @areyoushaved and for more stories like this follow @AfterDarkLA on Twitter.


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