• Fri, Apr 4 - 1:45 pm ET

Vogue Italia Makes Punching Your Wife Look Really Pretty In This Sexy Domestic Violence Editorial [Warning: Graphic]

Vogue Italia Makes Punching Your Wife Look Really Pretty In This Sexy Domestic Violence Editorial [Warning: Graphic]

You know the most beautiful thing about getting hit in the face by somebody you love? Nothing! It actually hurts and sometimes your face bleeds and then you have to make excuses so cliche, they sound like they were ripped straight from a Lifetime movie. Anyway, Vogue Italia doesn’t feel the same way. Vogue Italia would have you know that domestic violence is actually really gorgeous and glamorous.

In its April 2014 issue, Vogue Italia included an editorial titled “Horror Story,” models are shown running away from men–presumably their partners–covered in blood and looking terrified. The implication is obvious: they are being abused, and isn’t that pretty? The story, shot by Steven Meisel, features looks from Marc JacobsMiu Miu, and so many other lovely designers. There is one photo where a woman is seemingly attacking a man, but other than that, nearly all these lovely little pictures show men trying to hurt, or even murder, women. For example, the photo above a terrified woman running from a man as he stalks her down the stairs, but she’s wearing Valentino and he’s got on Gap and Prada so s’all good.

In the article, Vogue Italia claims it’s all in the name of women!

Saying NO to violence against women enables us to be, in our own way, useful. And to convey, as our civic duty, a message against barbarism. It doesn’t matter if we run the risk of causing a general uproar with the media or arousing criticism; or if we are accused of exploiting pressing issues just to push our way in newsstands. What is important for us is that at least one of the dozens of women suffering violence every day can feel our nearness.

Really? Because you didn’t convey a message against barbarism so much as “look how glamorous people can be when they’re being tormented and potentially killed.” This preemptive strike against criticism would be absolutely hilarious if it wasn’t so sad; it is painfully transparent that they are indeed doing what they know everyone will accuse them of. They are exploiting domestic violence and trivializing it in the name of getting people to buy and click. That’s right: Vogue Italia is XOJane, but with an undeservedly positive rep.

It is not simply the blood and the weapons that bother me; it is also the sheer terror shown on so many of the well-dressed models’ faces. The well-acted dread, fear and panic the women express is how it actually does feel to have somebody want to hurt you so badly, you are unsure how things will turn out (to put it in the most delicate possible way). To put it not-quite-as-lightly, domestic violence is a devastating epidemic that reportedly affects over 1.3 million women each year–most of whom never see justice. The stigma against women (and men, of course, though it’s worth noting an estimated 85% of victims are female) who report domestic violence is still going strong today, and editorials in high fashion magazines that make it look real pretty to punch your wife in the face until she’s unconscious doesn’t exactly help.

Vogue Italia Makes Punching Your Wife Look Really Pretty In This Sexy Domestic Violence Editorial [Warning: Graphic]

Naturally, Vogue Italia EIC Franca Sazzoni naturally defended the shoot in an interview with The Independent.

“The idea originally was cinematic. When you talk, for example, with young people and you see which kind of movie [they watch], [it's] all about horror, about things that we… I don’t know, not the kind of movie that I usually look at. I don’t know why they have this kind of attitude to see all these kind of films and so we started to think about that and I said to Steven, ‘OK, let’s do [one] about [a] horror show.’”

Aw, you guys know that beloved horror classic called “I’m Terrified To Say The Wrong Thing Because My Partner Will Twist My Wrist So Hard, I Won’t Be Able To Use It Tomorrow,” right? It’s one of my faves and it’s totally livestreaming on Netflix!

Vogue Italia Makes Punching Your Wife Look Really Pretty In This Sexy Domestic Violence Editorial [Warning: Graphic]

Eventually, Vogue Italia might issue a non-apology (at best) about how their intentions were misconstrued and we just don’t understand their “art.” They’ll say this whole thing was a solid idea, presumably under the guise of “raising awareness” or something. You know, whatever bullshit people pull when everyone calls them out for glamorizing violence against women.

Photos: Steven Meisel for Vogue Italia

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  • Sarah

    Love the dig at xojane because my disdain for their practices is what brought me here.

    This Vogue editorial just infuriates me. It’s more male photographers who get these grand ideas in their head about “real” art and all this bullshit and they just end up using women as props. This “art” isn’t CHANGING anything. Sure, it angers people and gets people thinking, but it does not offer any solutions, only perpetuates the problem…the objectificationg of women being a major one. There has to be a point where we stop shouting “fire!” (Or in this case: “look at this glamorous fire”) and actually DO something to stop it it put it out. :(

    • Samantha Escobar

      Oh my god, the idea that this type of “art” is getting anyone anywhere makes me livid. People will flip through these pages, admire the clothes and raise their eyebrows at the concept. If we’re lucky, they’ll be angry and think, like you said–but yep, no solutions. It just projects this image of living in a horrifying, dangerous environment being quietly glamorous.

      Also, A+ analogy. :)

    • Sarah

      Thanks ;) the more I think about it, the more I want to add that they are putting little ribbons and lace and bows on the fire, too. Thus, making it more flammable.

  • FemelleChevalier

    Holy fuck, this is seriously triggering. O_O I remember the fashion thingy about model suicides ages ago, and it gave me nightmares. But this is way worse and seriously scared me.

    I don’t get it. Isn’t Vogue suppose to be about fashion? Does it need to have genres, too? What’s next, glamorizing the Saw series for “art”? -_-

    • Samantha Escobar

      Honestly, I thought I was being dramatic by saying “Warning: Graphic” in the title but now I’m glad I did because I felt like it was triggering, too :( AND YES the model suicides thing was horrible. Agh. I’m just unsure of why so many magazines feel that this is so “edgy” as opposed to completely inappropriate and counterproductive, particularly considering their general demographic (females in their twenties and thirties) is one of the highest targeted for domestic violence.

    • FemelleChevalier

      Not dramatic at all. This is seriously scary for me, and I’ve dissected dead bodies and worked with blood in school. And yes, this is just WAY too inappropriate for a supposed fashion editorial that caters to women. What’s the point in this? To give us nightmares? Do they secretly cater to sadistic psychopaths? *sigh*

      P.S. I hate the last picture. It’s triggering for me. Those who made these are a bunch of wankers. -_-

    • Maria

      A Saw-themed editorial would be way more tasteful than this, actually.

    • FemelleChevalier

      Fair point, although Jigsaw (the puppet) in pretty clothes is too surreal for me.

  • Lindsey Conklin

    how is glamorizing domestic abuse saying NO to it? These images are horrifying

    • Sarah

      Yeah, nothing about thus can be glamorous unless you are a sociopath with no feelings. This also brings up my hatred for luxury and high fashion how these designers and fashion writers/phoyographers think that designer fashion is god’s gift to the world. No. It’s just fabric. It’s not going to change the world. Ugh. #rant sorry

    • Lindsey Conklin

      No, I completely agree! well ranted!

    • JosephCain

      Actually, you ladies may wish to do a search on the following things as well: Cuckolding, Femdom, and Yandere. Most of it very abusive, yet a great deal of it glamorized, even pushed that it’s female empowerment. Some men love it quite a bit as well.

      Thing is, this editorial seems like it’s literally taking on Horror Movies. Now tell me what most slashers are about? If you answered “Woman running from a weapon-wielding man”, you’d be right. Though this is mostly after all the other guys and girls have been hacked up as well.

      I mean, it’s in the title for crying out loud: Horror Story. It’s based on horror movies and horror stories. Goodness people, chill out. If you don’t like it… then don’t read the goddamn article. I have a feeling half the people here would be cheering female empowerment if it were women cutting off men’s heads or poisoning their food and standing over their vomit-drenched corpses.

  • Em

    Sometimes I think Vogue Italia is trolling us…the sheer amount of inappropriate/insulting editorials they’ve done is just freaking ridiculous

  • GL

    It’s unfortunate that the first sentence of this article reminded me of all the times I’ve been punched in the face by someone I love, consensually and by request, and how I actually do love it.

    It’s also unfortunate that I don’t speak Italian, because based on the photos themselves this just looks like a horror-movie homage. Just because they’re in a house doesn’t mean they’re family members.
    I would never say that The Shining was about domestic abuse, even if it did contain a husband who went after his family. That was a horror movie. It was about horror.

    • Maria

      The guy in the last image is wearing Patrick Bateman’s murdering coat, so you might have a point…