Steffano Gabbana


“Who doesn’t do sex? Who doesn’t? It’s a trend,” says Gabbana, in a recent Vogue interview  – is non-consent also a trend? Making people feel scared to go to work each day, to quit their job – is this a trend too?

Gabbana, known for his tactless outbursts, claimed that sexual harassment could be classified as “not violence”. This comes after a string of blundering claims with regards to equal marriage, as well as children born from IVF, who he called “synthetic”.  He went on to say that “For me, political correctness is fake, because you don’t have the power to explain what you really think”. It makes you wonder if he is just making sensationalist statements, plying his fishing hook with click bait for the internet era, a tactic employed by the likes of Bret Easton Ellis or Donald Trump.

Finally people are gaining the courage to come out and share some of the uncomfortable, shocking and sometimes downright horrific experiences they face at the hands of sexism within the fashion industry – among many others. But no good deed goes unpunished. Sadly, there is a fear and stigma that surrounds people (and we are not just talking women, here) who have been harassed or assaulted in the work place, that their admission or official complaint of such should be dismissed, or even worse ridiculed – this is being perfectly demonstrated as a legitimate fear by Gabbana and others. It is not just the perpetrators that we should fear within society, and various industries especially, but just as equally, the nay-sayers, the brusher-offers, the “of course these things happen” peddlars. “It’s life”.

“But sex is an old story. We are Italian. We came from the Roman Empire. We know very well”, he says. When we have come so far from our roots as humanity that we are even destroying the planet with our evolution, the flimsy argument that this behaviour is engrained, cannot be changed – the “asking for it” mentality, frankly, does not hold water. Women spend enough time walking home from work alone at night, keys in hand, glancing backwards every time there is a noise – they should not have to be burdened with these fears within the work place as well. This is 2017.

It calls to mind this attitude that rears its ugly head every time women, or indeed any marginalised or minority groups in society move for equality: In the 70s, the media demonised feminists as some kind of social terrorists – look at those ‘crazy’ women! They can’t control themselves!

And though we like to think things have changed, when discussing with two male friends, the #metoo campaign the other day: These people would consider themselves equalitists, open minded and if accused of anything otherwise, would dispute these claims strongly. However, in a moment of weakness, or forgetfulness maybe, one of them confessed that ‘the women are rebelling’, while the other chuckled. Of course, humour is often used as a tool of dealing with some of the harshest realities we face, but it was a stark reminder of the undertones still running through the veins of society with regard to casual sexism.

“Its not new,” Gabbana exclaimed. “Everybody knows. After 20 years you say, ‘Ah! He touched my ass!’ It’s not violence, this.”  This further temptation by these people – usually people worried about being found guilty- to bury things that have happened under the mists of time – ‘It was the 70s –things were different then!’ and other catchy phrases thrown about such as ‘witch-hunt’ – lets remind ourselves of the origin of this phrase – another time in history when women were drowned, burned and tortured on accusations of not being the correct idea of a ‘woman’. Ironic, isn’t it?


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