[Warning for references to domestic violence.]
The ad says,
Is suffocation really the worst kind of abuse? I don’t know, frankly; considering the range of horrible things done to women by partners and family, it’s kind of hard to rank them all. But I feel comfortable saying that suffocating one’s breasts with an overly tight bra ranks so far down the list as to not warrant even joking comparison.
8 out of 10 women are wearing the wrong bra and don’t even know it. A bra that is too tight constricts your rib cage; leading to bigger health problems.
The ad campaign for Indian lingerie brand Amante also notes that “it always starts with the little nicks and cuts,” informing you that “if you notice painful strap-marks on your shoulders, it’s time to go down a band size.”
“How much longer will you adjust?” “Respect the space you really deserve.” “Every woman deserves to be held right.” “Don’t let anyone ruin your confidence.” You deserve to be treated well! By your bra. Because a partner who makes you feel like shit is like a bra that lets your boobs sag. Get it?
Not everyone agrees that the campaign is objectively horrible. Amante CEO John Chiramel says the campaign has been “carefully thought through, in not trying to objectify women, but more about dealing with the real issues and educating the consumer, so that they have an enjoyable experience wearing fine lingerie.” And Jezebel’s Dodai Stewart appreciates that, saying, “Even if you don’t like the ‘worst kind of abuse’ slogan, the company deserves kudos for attempting to think outside the cleavage.”
No, the campaign doesn’t flash skin and turn women into sex objects. Rather, it turns survivors of domestic abuse into a metaphor for improperly squeezed boobies. That’s far less offensive. It trivializes violence to draw attention to the real issue, which is bras that pinch. And for good measure it places the burden on the “victim”–the owner of said boobies–to remove herself from the situation by “break[ing] up with the wrong bra.” Because escaping an abusive relationship is just that easy.
So no, Dodai, no, Amante doesn’t get points for not showing boobs in the ad. Trading one classic–“Look! Tits!”–for another far more offensive classic–“Ha! Abuse is funny if it isn’t happening to me!”–earns no points. Carefully thinking it through and deciding that the only alternative to showing skin is to trivialize domestic violence earns no points. What is wrong with you?