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Jimmy Choo Winter Ad 2017: A Problematic Portrayal of Sexism in our Society

Photo by Lukas for VFNTM C8 ©

The fashion industry has gained notoriety for being unashamedly problematic over the years. From Dolce & Gabanna’s unsavoury views on same-sex families to Donna Karan’s inexcusable “are we asking for it?” comments on the Harvey Weinstein scandal. So it came as no surprise to the vast majority of us when Jimmy Choo’s winter 2017 advert included unsophisticated sexist imagery likely to make the toes of any self-respecting woman curl up in embarrassment.

The advert, titled Shimmer in the Dark stars the undoubtedly beautiful Cara Delevigne and premiered just last month on Jimmy Choo’s official YouTube channel. It has already garnered over four-million views. It begins with Delevigne confidently strutting down the streets of New York sporting a pair of gorgeous boots and an equally-shimmery red dress. A typical setup for a typical fashion advert, some might say. However as she continues on her way down the ultraviolet New York pathway, she is greeted by several men looking her up-and-down provocatively, wolf-whistles and even comments such as “nice shoes, lady” from a shady-looking man just happening to be hanging out in an alleyway.

Some may argue that this is just a harmless take on a confident woman showing off her “new shoes” and basking in the attention of others, or even that the advert is trying to appeal to our sexier sides in order for us to want to identify with Delevigne. Sex, of course, sells. But is the inclusion of reckless wolf-whistles and poorly provocative comments all too inflammatory in today’s social climate? The backlash on Twitter seems to answer, yes.

But that brings us to the inclusion of Cara Delevigne. Delevigne is such a militant feminist icon and role-model that it was disappointing for people to see her revel in the cat-calls of midnight-men; and as a woman that spoke out so bravely on her experience with Harvey Weinstein, surely she should be reprimanding the romanticizing of ‘casual’ harassment from men, as opposed to promoting it? It’s upsetting to see that while as a society we have evolved greatly from the prehistoric sexual attitudes of men and women around the world; we still have such a long way to go. Incidentally, the glamorization of these attitudes in the media in general needs to stop. Period.

As feminists, women and consumers of media, we really need to ask ourselves; are we becoming so desensitized to the casual harassment that occurs in our daily lives that when we see something like that presented to us on a plate, we feel the need to just accept it? I urge you to watch the video below, and decide for yourselves.

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Hannah is a 19 year-old linguistics student & aspiring novelist from Cambridge, UK.
Follow her on Instagram & Twitter: @hannahvandepeer