Seeing how the fashionistas over at Italian Vogue are photographing that American freakshow known as Michael Jackson, it should come as no surprise, really, that they'd be equally as brazen with their glamorization of the war in Iraq. Sexy! Fun! Exposed nipples! That's the vibe emanating from fashion photographer Steven Meisel's shoot in the current issue of the magazine, which features dirty, sweaty soldiers (fully dressed) feeling up hot models (mostly undressed) in the middle of a supposed war-zone. Meisel (the man behind Madonna's controversial Sex book) claims to be making a "Make Love, Not War" statement. But some women feel otherwise! Women In Media and News says the shoot is pornographic, not because the photographs feature women in various stages of undress — seriously, what's up with a dress that exposes the entirety of both boobs? — but because the images sexualize a horrific situation and suggest that violence is erotic. True, yes, but have they ever heard of Hollywood?
@so5minutesago: i think you raise a good point, but the question of audience may help make a distinction. a rape fantasy played out in particular communities who understand the "rules of the game" is one thing. a spread in a mass market publication of women being raped in haute couture is another. the difference is in how they are consumed. in a fetish community, the fantasy is clearly that—a fantasy. in the context of a larger community, there's a negotiation of practices and discussion about how consent works.
in a magazine, there is no context—well, that's not quite right. there is a context, but it involves the unspoken connection between the violence of warfare and violence against women. this is what gives tacit consent to acts performed against enemy populations in the fog of war. this is why the international criminal court defines rape in wartime as a crime against humanity—to refuse to see this practice as natural to warfare—and may perhaps be a reason the Bush administration "unsigned."