Ring in the new year…with rape imagery!

Found by way of Womanist Musings…Pirelli Tires has an odd way of thanking its top customers.  This year, A-list clients have been gifted with a calendar featuring some really fucking disturbing photos that depict women in peril in some non-specific “exotic” country, presumably somewhere in Africa (link is absolutely NSFW and may be triggering).

Take a look at the photos, long enough to absorb them but hopefully not long enough to become nauseous, and remember that these were for a calendar distributed by a tire company.  All I can think of is the souvenir calendars my neighborhood Shop Rite used to give out when I was a kid that had pictures of flowers and cats sitting on windowsills in them.  Shouldn’t tire companies give out calendars with pictures of…oh, I don’t know, cars? If they absolutely had to incorporate a naked chick in it, couldn’t they have one spread-eagled across the hood of a Jaguar Tawny Kitaen-style? It’d still be vaguely offensive, but not nearly so creepy.  Where the hell does one hang a calendar featuring photographs of a frantic, nude, inexplicably oily black woman who looks like she’s about to be gang-raped? Calendars are meant for practical purposes, they’re to be hung in places where you see them often, should you forget what day of the week it is or when your root canal is scheduled.  Would you put this in your breakfast nook, right next to the BLESS THIS MESS wall hanging? Or in your cubicle at the office, in full view of your co-workers? Maybe you can regift it to that hard-to-buy-for brother-in-law this Christmas.  It’s better than a Big Mouth Billy Bass!

Some of the comments at Womanist Musings are of the typical “it’s not rape imagery, it’s art!” variety, in a manner suggesting either feminist-baiting troll or profoundly oblivious dope.  I’m not quite sure how someone can fail to see rape imagery in photographs of a naked, terrified woman being held spread-eagled by her arms and legs (the close-ups of her face are particularly unpleasant, like outtakes from an Abel Ferrara film); apparently as long as no actual rape is taking place there’s nothing wrong with the photos.  From a legal standpoint, that would be correct, as long as models are consenting adults you can photograph them looking like they’re about to be put through a meat grinder and you wouldn’t be breaking a law.  I’m sure as soon as the model in the photos linked here stopped being manhandled for a tire company calendar, she walked away, wiped the Vaseline off her body and had a sugar-free soy latte.  It doesn’t make the photographs any less wrong and deeply, inherently icky.  It may be art, depending on your opinion, but it’s not art that belongs on something that’s given out for free to attract or keep someone’s business.  That’s a little too Patrick Bateman for my comfort.

In any case, Pirelli might want to stay on their toes, as I understand Goodyear is planning on gifting their clients with framed photographs of a man wearing only a ball gag and about to be sodomized with a studded dildo.

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