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Last week we chatted about the Victim of Beauty editorial which was published by 12 magazine. The editorial shows brutally injured women as victims of beauty. I argued that portraying women, who have never been the victim of gender-based or other forms of violence to sell products – i.e. not to campaign against violence – was very insensitive.

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Fashionista first posted about this, critiquing this shoot. The editors-in-chief, Huben Hubenov and Slav Anastasov, responded to her. Here is the email they sent:

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First of all, we would like to say we are happy that our shoot provoked an international discussion, at some scale.

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It is also important to say, that we do NOT support violence of ANY kind, and this is NOT a shoot glamorizing, or encouraging, or supporting violence against women. We believe that images such as ours can be seen from various angles, and we think that exactly that is what is beautiful about fashion and photography in general – that anybody can understand it their own way,and fill it with their own meaning. Where some see a brutal wound, others see a skilful (sic) work of an artist, or an exquisite face of a beautiful girl.

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That being said, we do understand why some accuse us of promoting, in a way, violence, but we do not agree with that, and we think that it is very narrow-minded way of looking at the photographs.

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And after all, isn’t it true that we see brutally wounded people all the time, in real life – on television, in the news, in movies, videogames, magazines and websites, and they are all very different, but alike in one thing: some are real, some are not. And fashion photography is an imitation of real life, sometimes realistic, sometimes delicate, other times grotesque, or shocking.

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1. How would you perceive those photographs, if they were accompanying an campaign against domestic violence? Would you still think of them as disgusting or you would praise them as brave and thought-provoking? Worth the think, isn’t it?

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2. What would you say if those where bespoken men, carefully groomed, but still, terribly injured? Probably nothing, and quite frankly that’s a bit sexist.

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Do you agree with this? I still don’t. On the second to last point in particular:

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On point 1: Yes, worth a think, but that’s exactly what I argued. If these photos were used for an anti-violence/abuse campaign, then it would be relevant and appropriate. Showing women who have been beaten up – presumably by men – in order to sell beauty products or in order to promote something is not cool in my opinion. It almost makes the issue less important, trivializing the impact of violence against women.

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What is your opinion? How would you have reacted if these photos were taken of men?

Photos via fashionista