Dr. Helen

Sexism in Fashion: Presenting Men as Pigs and Dogs

It’s no wonder most men want nothing to do with the world of fashion, especially given the disdain the industry seems to have for them:

Paris men’s fashion week began in earnest Wednesday with two collections showing what dogs and pigs men can be, as the industry reels from a new sexual harassment scandal.

French designer Julien David sent out his models wearing dog’s heads, from a macho, man-spreading Doberman to an intellectual whippet and a splayed poodle in dungarees.

“I wanted to study the human species with a bit of distance. It’s a bit of a human laboratory,” he told AFP of his show.

Yet as David put the final touches to his study of male types — including a very predatory-looking German Shepherd with his tongue hanging out — little did he know that the fashion world would be hit by new allegations this weekend that two star photographers had harassed a string of models.

Later a no-holds barred show by Flemish master Walter van Beirendonck presented men as pigs.

He led out his quirky collection with a litter of pig men in an allusion to France’s answer to the #MeToo campaign, #BalancetonPorc (Squeal on your pig).

With little piggy ears sticking out of their hoods, and strategically-placed holes over erogenous zones, the outfits took a dark and world-weary take on the male condition.

“One-eyed monster… Dream daddy… pig,” read one of his skin-coloured, skin-tight tops worn with leather breeches and braces.

I can’t decide whether to laugh or cry at this idiocy. On one hand, it demoralizes the models in the show even though it is the male models who have reported being victims of sexual harassment. Why would the male models agree to wear such humiliating outfits? It makes them look like the predators themselves. Is this really the image they are going for?

On the other hand, the men as dogs and pigs is derogatory towards all men. What if they dressed Jews or women etc. in such outfits? No one would think that was okay. Why is this? What kind of fashion designers think such a sexist costume would be good for business? And what kind of society goes along with this sickness without a care?