by Stephanie Cole
Several weeks ago, I was joyously embarking on my daily Fashion Blog perusal when I came across a story only indirectly related to fashion, but linked to a much more pervasive sexist phenomenon. It all began when French fashion house Louis Vuitton sued Danish artist Nadia Plesner. LV was angry at her depiction of a starving child holding one of its bags in a mural addressing violence in Darfur. My interpretation is that Nadia was critiquing materialism in light of injustice, and LV’s legal action was entirely inappropriate. However, when the Internet-based Anarchist hacker group called Anonymous got wind of this, their response was idiotic, offensive, and exemplary of the hypocrisy of many people who supposedly fight for human rights.
Anonymous titled their response “OPERATION SKANKBAG” and instructed its members to take down the Louis Vuitton website and make the term “Louis Vuitton whores” a Google trending topic. The use of sexist terms like “skank” and “whore” demonstrate exactly how wrongheaded and offensive this response is. I noticed that the group prefaced its call to action with “Gentleman,” so it’s obvious they didn’t intend for women to be involved. Their misogyny is even more ridiculous as the artist they are supposedly defending is a woman.
Seriously criticising on-line antichrists is somewhat pointless. Anyone who attends a protest in a “V for Vendetta” mask is obviously in need of some serious historical perspective. However, in light of the events surrounding Wiki-Leaks, it’s clear that computer-based anti-government and revolutionary action is going to become more effective and common as technology moves forward.
The Louis Vuitton incident is an example of “Manarchy,” when people who supposedly fight for human rights continue to promote patriarchy. The hypocrisy of this attitude should be obvious, but it is rarely addressed. The fact that even revolutionaries engage in sexism is indicative of the pervasive power of patriarchy. I say us feminists should jump in and challenge these ignorant men. We could start by speaking out: Sorry Anonymous, but targeting ignorance is far more effective then targeting the Louis Vuitton website.