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New Ad Campaign Features a Model Both Topless and in a Burqa

Posted by on Sep. 10, 2013 at 9:35 PM
  • 7 Replies

I came across this and immediately thought of you ladies. :) What do you think? Is this cultural appropriation gone awry? Does context matter? 

And many believe it crosses the line between edgy and insensitive.posted on 

Earlier this week, designer brand Diesel released this poster ad:

Earlier this week, designer brand Diesel released this poster ad:

This ad is part of their new “Diesel Reboot” campaign, which seeks to “baptize a new era of energy, bravery, and bold iconography at Diesel.”

Responses to the ad have been largely negative.

Diesel Jeans new ad featuring woman in niqab. Trying too hard to be 'edgy' and 'current'. cc @OutburstM @kawrage

Many have shared the sentiment that the image is insensitive to Muslim women.

@DIESEL the burqa ad is distasteful. those who designed it did not bother or care bout da sensitivities of a large number of Muslims.

In an article for MTV Desi, Shruti Parekh lampoons the ad as a case of cultural appropriation gone awry:


On the most basic level, the ad appropriates the burqa and puts it on a white woman in a socio-political context rife with Islamophobia and attacks on the Muslim world… And Muslim women who wear the burqa in the West have had to deal with everything from discriminatory banning laws in Europe to racist slurs and hate crimes. Meanwhile, this white woman who wears her Diesel burqa bears none of the hate or loaded connotations that Muslim women bear on the regular… This level of cultural appropriation is more than a disrespectful “borrowing of culture,” it is a nasty flaunting of privilege.

She goes on to argue that, if created and released in drastically different context, this ad might be less offensive and even “empowering.”


This image would mean something drastically different if it was created by Muslim women, and if the woman was actually a Muslim model in the context of a fundamentalist Islamic regime. It might be radical, bold, and subversive. It might actually be an empowered assertion of women’s sexuality.

But context is everything, and in the context of a white woman in a Diesel ad created by Americans, the meaning and symbolism twists inside out and is deeply disrespectful.

Sana Saeed, a senior editor at Islawmix, is similarly disappointed.

Long dreaded the day that 'THE VEIL' wld become so subversive that capitalism wld just consume it.Then this Diesel ad

The ad was designed by Nicola Formichetti, who was Lady Gaga’s stylist until Diesel hired him to be their artistic director this past April.

The ad was designed by Nicola Formichetti, who was Lady Gaga's stylist until Diesel hired him to be their artistic director this past April.

In this blogpost, fashion blogger AntwerpSex compares the ad to other instances of problematic cultural referencing:


This kind of cultural appropriation is disgusting. It wasn’t okay in the second Sex and the City movie, when the director used the sacred niqab as a cheap form of humour and entertainment. It wasn’t okay when Lady Gaga sang “Burqa”, which consequently gave rise to “burqa swag” on Twitter and reduced the significance of this garment down to a fashion trend. And it sure as hell isn’t okay for Nicola Formichetti to use it in such a sexualised manner to further his own design career.

It has always baffled me why the burka, niqab, or either veils are depicted as symbols of oppressive patriarchy in mainstream media, but when they are taken out of their religious context and appropriated like this they suddenly become “creative”, “bold”, and “edgy”.

AntwerpSex goes on to say, “I read one comment describing this campaign as “fashionista meets terrorista.” This is monumentally fucked up.”

by on Sep. 10, 2013 at 9:35 PM
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Replies (1-7):
krysstizzle
by on Sep. 10, 2013 at 9:36 PM

Source: http://www.buzzfeed.com/regajha/diesels-new-ad-campaign-features-a-model-who-is-both-topless

(sorry, I've been visiting Buzzfeed way too much lately.) 

tanyainmizzou
by on Sep. 10, 2013 at 9:37 PM

It doesn't bother me.

stringtheory
by Gold Member on Sep. 10, 2013 at 9:40 PM
I didn't realize the article of clothing itself was sacred. Of course, I could picture a similar campaign being done with a nun's habit and I remain equally indifferent.
krysstizzle
by on Sep. 10, 2013 at 9:44 PM

That's actually how I feel, indifferent about it (as I would a nun's habit also). 

The part that was gross was the "fashionista meets terrorista", but that had nothing to do with Diesel and the ad itself, as far as I'm aware, just some asshole's comment, apparently. 

Quoting stringtheory:

I didn't realize the article of clothing itself was sacred. Of course, I could picture a similar campaign being done with a nun's habit and I remain equally indifferent.


lga1965
by on Sep. 10, 2013 at 9:44 PM

 The only thing that occurred to me was that she has wayyyyy tooooo many tattooooooos.

stringtheory
by Gold Member on Sep. 10, 2013 at 9:48 PM
yeah, I thought that was definitely a distasteful comment. Unfortunately, i wasn't surprised it was made.

Quoting krysstizzle:

That's actually how I feel, indifferent about it (as I would a nun's habit also). 

The part that was gross was the "fashionista meets terrorista", but that had nothing to do with Diesel and the ad itself, as far as I'm aware, just some asshole's comment, apparently. 

Quoting stringtheory:

I didn't realize the article of clothing itself was sacred. Of course, I could picture a similar campaign being done with a nun's habit and I remain equally indifferent.


stacymomof2
by Ruby Member on Sep. 10, 2013 at 9:54 PM
Meh. Just nonsense. I think it is dumb and shallow.
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