What’s in Vogue for the international male? Choking and groping, say anti-domestic violence advocates.
The cover of Vogue Hommes Internationale has caused a storm of controversy over a photo of model Stephanie Seymour being simultaneously choked and grabbed from behind by male model Marlon Teixeira .
With one hand, he holds Seymour by the neck — with the other, he grabs her breast.
Critics say the cover, shot by envelope-pushing photographer Terry Richardson is decidedly unsexy and sends both men and women a terrible message.
“This truly disturbing image of a woman being choked sends a dangerous message to anyone who sees this magazine – that choking is a sign of passion rather than of violence,” representatives from Sanctuary for Families, Safe Horizons, NOW NYC and Equality Now wrote in an open letter to Conde Nast head honcho Si Newhouse.
“Choking is a huge predictor of future lethality. A 2008 Journal of Emergency Medicine study of murders of women in 11 cities found that 43% of women who were killed by intimate partners had experienced at least one previous episode of choking before being killed,” the letter goes on to say.
While the photograph of the 41-year-old model being accosted from behind may have been intended to shock and titillate, such images are well-trod territory, says Autumn Whitefield-Madrano, author of The Beheld, a blog on women, beauty, and cultural criticism.
“It's interesting that this image is causing a stir, because frankly this is nothing new — images of women being attacked and degraded are par for the course in fashion.”
Whitefield-Madrano believes the cover was an attention getting PR move.
“It's a provocative image in every sense of the word, and the erotic aspects of it — the hand on the breast, the licking of the finger, the parting of the lips — neatly serve as ammunition for critics and defense alike,” she said.
Richardson has made his living shooting provocative magazine photos of celebrities including Kate Upton, Britney Spears, Lady Gaga, and Lana Del Rey.
In 2010, the Parents Television Council was appalled at the Richardson-lensed photos of the cast of “Glee,” calling them “bordering on pedophilia.”
This year he posted photos he’d taken of troubled starlet Lindsay Lohan holding a gun to her head.
In 2010, Richardson was accused of inappropriate behavior by some of the female models he’d worked with in the past, allegations he has denied.