Business Community & Education Hong Kong

Evisu ads draw backlash in Hong Kong for ‘objectifying women’

Japanese clothing company Evisu has come under fire over an ad campaign which feminists say promotes the objectification of women and “rape culture”. A Hong Kong mother has started an online petition against the ads and called on authorities to crack down on inappropriate promotional material shown in public.

The Evisu posters, which were shot for the company’s newly released AW15 collection, feature Shaun Ross, a American model, and Danish model Camilla Christensen in controversial poses. In one of them, Ross carries Christensen, wearing full-body nude tights and a lifeless expression, across the back of his neck.

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The Evisu ad displayed in Langham Place. Photo: Facebook.

The ad caused outrage among some local mothers online. Elizabeth Loennborn, who started the petition, told HKFP that a friend had taken a picture of the ad, which was displayed in Langham Place, Mong Kok, and shared it with others. Loennborn said her six-year-old son sees the image every day.

“Boys shouldn’t carry girls that way, ” Loennborn quoted her son as saying.

In another ad in the same series, Ross reaches inside Christensen’s jacket from behind as both sit with their legs apart. In another, Ross carries Christensen on his shoulders, with her bare bottom on top of his head.

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Another ad of the same series featured on Evisu’s website. Photo: evisu.com screenshot.

The series was shot by American fashion photographer Terry Richardson, who has been accused of sexually assaulting models.

“We are starting this petition because we find Evisu’s most recent campaign in Hong Kong not just personally repulsive and objectifying [of] women, but a blatant case of promoting a culture of violence against women. I am not alone in finding it distasteful,” Loennborn said.

“The HK advertising culture is continually blurring the lines between obscenity and pop culture. At a time when women are making some amazing progress in professional and in-home equality, we can’t allow misogynistic rape-culture pop media be the norm.”

The 40-year-old mother of two started a Facebook page called “We Are Not Things” last year to campaign against objectification of women. Meanwhile, an international movement called “Women Not Objects” is trending on social media.

Evisu did not respond to requests for comment.

Evisu ads draw backlash in Hong Kong for 'objectifying women'