Bil Browning

Dolce & Gabbana sells gang rape

Filed By Bil Browning | June 24, 2008 11:30 AM | comments

Filed in: Living
Tags: Dolce & Gabbana, gang rape, risque advertising, sex sells

Dolce & Gabanna have come under fire recently for an advertisement that some have said promoted/glorified gang rape. (That ad is after the jump.) The company's most recent ad has not been scrutinized for violent connections even though one model is naked while others stare.


Personally, I'd like to know what it is they're pointing at. What are your thoughts? Does this ad also promote gang rape or something similar? Do you think the other ad does?


What do you think Projectors? Gang rape? Artistic advertising? Bad taste? Gratuitous nudity? What?

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the first thing that comes to mind is that women love having sex with groups of men.

it promotes the image that women are simply sexual objects and always looking for some. She's lifting her hips, in anticipation. that's not rape. that's playboy/penthouse porn images of women loving it from many men at once.

does this promote gang rape? I am a believer that rape is an act of violence. I'm not sure a sexual picture is going to create the rage it takes to rape.

the all boy ad, I think, does the same thing. his hands on on his chest, comfortably, as if waiting..

such bullshit in advertising. I can't believe my kids see this crap on subway ads and in magazines. it's soft porn.

in my humble opinion.

Both pictures are ambiguous, but the hetero one clearly suggests that force is being used by the way the woman is being pinned down at the wrists.

But first impressions can be deceiving. Actually, the man bending over her is her personal trainer, and he's just trying to get her to do her stomach crunches correctly. I, too, have discovered that crunches give you a six-pack faster if you do them while wearing stilletos --- but don't cheat, be sure to keep the toes firmly against the floor.

I think the nude male in the first pic is enjoying showing off whatever it is he's got at least as much as the other men are enjoying the chance to look. What an odd position to assume while taking a quick nap in the changing room. And the guy with the gray hair is a med intern pointing at a poorly sutured appendectomy scar.

Well ... don't look at me like that, you asked me what I thought, didn't you?

Honestly, the first one makes me think of an assault against a trans or intersex man. He's lying on the floor, naked, in an awkward posistion, his genitals are obscured to the ad-viewer while two male figures stare and point and another two undress.

In the second one the woman is clearly being held down. The problem is that it is sometimes difficult to determine consent in the context of ads. If I'd come across this photo in a BDSM set, I would view it in that context and not assume it advocated rape. However, given the long and sordid history of the portrayal of women in mainstream advertising, I think it's not unreasonable to draw the conclusion of nonconsensual group sex.

What does Dolce and Gabbana sell, anyway?

Not surprised, considering their clientele. Let's just say that the people I've met who wear D&G aren't the most socially aware folks out there, but really really care about being cool.

Both look like limp attempts at edginess. Is it just me or does it look like the ensembles have been cut & pasted together? Can we say awkward lay-out?

I do like the shirt on the left in the second picture though, so maybe their ad man did earn his keep.

No, not really. The one with the female may cause some initial anxiety, merely because her wrists are being held. The woman is not portraying struggle, though; this is a key element for heterosexual gangbang scenes: The woman struggles first, and then she submits to the supposed pleasure. Submission is the real fetish.

You'll find that most straight women actually are accustomed to being the passive entity in the act, so this won't be found offensive by most people at all. It's mainstream heterosexual sexuality characterized by the usual standards of the gender binary.

Allegations against the gay ad, though, are beyond absurd. There's no hint whatsoever at displeasure/repulsion/resistance. He's not even being pinned down. You might as well interpret this to be some promotion voyeur parties.

Lay off the Freudian crap, people. This is a clear indicator of individuals having too much time on their hands.

P.S. The people part is directed at the ones who've fired complaints, not Bilerico members and staff.

"You'll find that most straight women actually are accustomed to being the passive entity in the act"

Wow, way to generalize.

Here some info on the one with the woman: And fortunately a write in campaign got it pulled.

I find the style in both to be voyeuristic rape fantasies and not appropriate for a print ad. But then what do I know? Not as if I can afford the "edginess" that is Dolce & Gabanna.

It is open to interpretation, obviously, however, I don't think the female model looks like she is struggling... I'll leave it at that.

In the second picture they clearly beat him up to steal all of his clothes - poor thing had to wear multiple pairs of pants because of his skinny legs - seriously - look at his legs... that is the most disturbing thing about this image.

Robert Ganshorn Robert Ganshorn | June 24, 2008 8:55 PM

And I used to think Ralph Lauren was vapid. The obsession with "branding" an image, lifestyle or aspiration as a way of charging more for a pair of pants. Seems to me that there are more real things to worry about.

Things that are neither gratuitous or tasteless.

Robert Ganshorn Robert Ganshorn | June 25, 2008 3:33 AM

Does anyone else notice there is no happiness on any of these faces?

If I was a tranny from Kentucky (oh,. gee, I am!), I'd be asking this question: what does Dolce and Gabbiana sell? Can't tell from this ad. If I didn't know that they sold clothing that isn't made in my size and that I can't afford, I wouldn't learn that from this ad.

Models never smile, right? Never. Isn't the ability to smile something a person loses when they starve themselves.

I agree that the first photo doesn't depict rape. The 2nd one is a little more "iffey."

Personally, I think its a way for them to be "edgy" or "artsy" while trying to include nudity to sell clothes that are overpriced.

What I see in the all-male image is perhaps a male prostitute or simply a man who likes sex with multiple men -- or maybe a scene with nothing sexual whatsoever. Perhaps the man on the floor is going to be beaten. Perhaps the man with his hand on his zipper is about to piss on the nude man. Whatever is happening, the image is evocative and has artistic power.

When I see the male-on-female image, I don't see sex at all. I see the same great tension that was in the all-male photo, but it looks like she's being interrogated and threatened. Yes, she's arching her back and there's a man leaning over her, but I don't see any sign of rape or even sexual interest being expressed.

Both images are high quality photographically speaking and have a very European aesthetic. They both hint at stories but don't tell them, which is why so many people who know nothing are so busy trying to fill in the blanks. What we fill those blanks with likely says more about us than about the photos.

I'm guessing this company sells upscale men's clothing... but probably not to any of us.

Alright, the first picture, I might add, is HOT!

I really think it's just men doing what men do behind closed doors and there isn't anything wrong with that. I mean, who isn't curious?

But, the second picture, is appauling.

I cannot even imagine that showing up in a teenaged magazine for someone to see. A man leaning over a woman while other men watch?

It's porn, they just haven't taken their clothes off yet.

Hmm.. well that brings me back to the first picture, I guess. I WOULD LOVE TO SEE THAT IN A MAGAZINE!

Cathy Renna Cathy Renna | March 3, 2009 6:01 AM

first of all, you probably will see the second ad in OUT magazine, they do advertise there if I am correct

these need to be looked at on a number of levels - subjective evaluation of the content's intent and context, then the actual argument as to whether they are really selling the clothes or the IDEA of who you wil be if you buy them

both pictures are exploitative, in my opinion - but it's subjective whether or not they offend.

bottom line is that I continue to wonder how we continue to be such prudes about the healthy diversity of sexuality yet be a country that uses sex to sell everything from toothpaste to overpriced clothing

glenn blackwell | May 7, 2009 3:00 PM

This is a ink blot test.

In the first ad.
I see a photographer dressed in black.
He is pointing at a man who has anorexia nervosa.
Saying he looks ill. Next!
Another man is undressing to pose.

In the second ad.
I see a woman about to be sexually pleasured.
She has assembled a number of lovers.
They know she is in control of the session.
Gang rape would be her kicking and screaming.

Forgive me, I'm late to the party.

I learned something in art class that I've never forgotten. The eye, especially in print advertisement, usually travels from the upper left corner of the page to the lower right, in a diagonal line, upon first viewing. In each each, the D&G print compositions follow this rule.

In the case of the first print ad the upper left corner is oppupied by the face of a handsome man. Traveling horizontally, the next thing you see is the crotch of a man. Further down you encounter the leg of the nude man and then along his body, finally to his face. Then eye travels up to the two men gawking. Then it pulls back to take in the whole picture and is confronted with the company logo. It is designed to be provocative, and further, effectively designed to be memorable.

A look at the second photograph reveals much of the same technique. The photographer has staged the composition. The ads are almost barren of emotion. The models all have that vague, bored expressions that they teach high end models to have about everything fashionable.

In the end each print ad has done, quite effectively judging that both have ended up here as a topic for debate, what they have set out to do, which is promote the D&G line through memorable advertisement.

If we start judging the content of the advertisement, we have to look at what lies behind it. Companies spend millions of dollars for adverstisement that gets their product noticed. To spend ad dollars in almost any other way is an irresponsible use of company asset.

Each ad is provocative. Each ad works. If you buy into the idea that these ads either objectify men and women or promote rape, then you buy into a whole host of other ideas. Are we objectifing unaesthetic women with unibrows who use Planter's peanuts as perfume to attract the attention of men? Are we promoting testicular bludgeoning when Justin Timberlake slams his crotch into a mailbox post three times before a continued flight into some girls backyard all to sell more Pepsi?

We get hung on on the sex don't we, which is ironic when you consider our own fine art icons like Warhol and Mapplethorpe. The truth of it is that almost all advertising objectifies something or someone, either sexually or not. As for the rape idea in the second ad, I've seen video games that were far more violent and suggestive. Women fighting for the tossed bridal bouquet at weddings are often incredibly violent. You might remember those Axe deoderant body sprays for men depicting women ripping men's clothes off and the men smiling through it all. If the only implication is that you can't rape the willing, then I sugest you look a the females torso in the second ad. It's raised. She's not fighting off any rape. It's part of the staging the photographer used to make the ad visually effective.

It isn't 1950 anymore. And frankly, sex sold products even then, it just had to be more furtive. If people are really concerned that children could see these ads and be influenced, then I suspect I'm not the only one late to the party. I lived by an elementary school for the last 16 years. The things those kids yelled at recess would make a drag queen gasp. If parents aren't guiding their children from early in life about what they see and hear then they're living in a fantasy land. It's wishful thinking that kids haven't learned about the nature of sex at age when we were naive and innocent. It's not that world anymore.

Those D&G ads are too vague to really imply anything except an artful approach to propell a brand name. Excellent advertising too. Look how much debate they've spawned here over hazy obsevations about what they might or might not imply.

the bottom line is, SEX SELLS.

d&g know this, and if you dont want ads depicting sexual acts to be shown, you have to stop letting them affect you?

the first one is gaaayyyyy!!! the second one... wtf... this is an add for what!!!??? for a porno magazine of something? both should be banned.

I think it's hot, actually. Eye-catching and brilliant.

I take issue with the comment that people who wear D&G aren't socially aware. That is hurtful and so not fair...Also I'd rather just look at hot bodies. Period. It doesn't really matter what they're up to - I think you guys have been way over-thinking this - as long as they're not fat.