What’s Current: Outrage over Dior ad featuring Johnny Depp asking ‘What would you do for love?’

What’s Current is Feminist Current’s daily news round up.

Image: Dior

Dior (the company that brought us the $700 We should All be Feminists t-shirt) has chosen Johnny Depp to participate in their Dior Love Chain campaign where celebrities ask and answer the question “What would you do for love.”  Marisa Bate writes:

“For the final time, just so we’re all on the same hashtag: feminism is more than a ‘slogan tee’ aimed at broadening your millennial, Insta-audience. And being violent against a woman should prohibit men from being cast in any adverts or campaigns or tweets, but especially ones about love (Yes, even if a woman settles out of court).”

Amanda Abramovich and Samantha Brookover, a lesbian couple in West Virginia, have settled their discrimination lawsuit against the county clerk’s office. In 2016, an employee of the office called them “an abomination” when they applied for a marriage license. The clerk’s office has agreed to issue a public apology and pay the couple $10,000 in damages.

A new report by Lawyers and Doctors for Human Rights reveals the horrendous torture and rape endured by women at the hands of male guards in Syrian detention facilities.

On Monday morning — despite the Canadian Football League’s PR campaign professing that they really care about violence against women — the Hamilton Tiger-Cats announced they had hired Art Briles, a coach who was fired from Baylor University for mishandling sexual assault allegations against dozens of players. On Monday night, the team announced they wouldn’t be hiring Briles to coach for them after all.

Lisa Steacy
Lisa Steacy

Lisa Steacy is an Assistant Editor at Feminist Current. She has a B.A. in Women & Gender Studies from the University of Toronto. However, the women she met in her five years as a frontline worker and collective member with Vancouver Rape Relief & Women’s Shelter deserve almost all of the credit for her feminist education. She lives in Vancouver with her partner and their cats.

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  • cday881@gmail.com

    Isn’t part of the Art Briles problem that Baylor (and other colleges) fail to treat rape as a criminal offense?

  • Stroke_Your_Own_Ego

    I disagree. I think that the conventions surrounding romantic love are a patriarchal construct. Marriage is a patriarchal convention. And I know that “love” is a word used to smooth over and justify the realities of male entitlement and male violence. But to say that romantic love in itself is a product of patriarchy would mean that romantic love between two women is nothing but an imitation of a patriarchal construct, and I don’t agree with that.

  • Hanakai

    The anthropological and other evidence is that humans have always done a pair-bonding thing or had some form of familial organization that served as the functional equivalent of marriage.

    Also based on the evidence, it appears that feelings of love, affection, bonding and form of romantic love have existed in humanity for eons.

    But yes, in the last 6,000 or so years of patriarchal rule, genuine love has been corrupted by patriarchal power and structures and practices of male supremacy, and corrupted as well by capitalistic and brutal economic values. And what Western culture calls love is a corrupted form of codependence, illusion and adaptations women have made to survive the hostility and violence of males.

    Lately neuroscientists have identified structures in the brain involved in love. And also the structures involved in sexual desire or lust. The brain has the structures and chemicals (PEA and others) for the state of love to exist in the human animal. One would conclude that love and a romantic-type love exist, but that courtship rituals, sexual mores and practices, societal sex role divisions, these things are cultural, influenced by patriarchy and are behind an illusory and false vision of love that is marketed to our young. Love today has become as twisted as the times.

  • Alienigena

    And relationships are considered some kind of holy grail, everyone is supposed to be seeking one and we are all supposed to suspend our critical thinking abilities when observing the relationships of friends and family. And relationships don’t just impact the people in them they impact others, such as children. My own parent’s marriage left me with zero respect for male/female relationships. I don’t go around critiquing people’s relationships but I do find it odd that there is so much propaganda around relationships (such as you are a weirdo if you aren’t in one and don’t want to be in one, you are one step away from becoming a hoarder or criminal) when they are supposed to be so natural and everyone is supposed to desire to be in one.

  • calabasa

    I so totally disagree with this. There is not always a “man” in a relationship between two women.

    Is the man the more dashing of the two? The one less invested? Who?

    I feel more able to be “myself” in close friendships with women. I can be funny and charming and ridiculous, and also dashing, when I want to be, and also helpful and nurturing (like cooking for my friend, or helping her clean, or otherwise nurturing) without having to question any of it. “Am I acting passive and nurturing to please a man” anxiety never arises. “Am I intimidating/masculine and therefore too much of a turnoff for a man” anxiety never arises. I feel this to such an extent that I feel homoromantic–more romantically attracted to my best friends than to men. I NEVER have such a connection of humor, in-jokes, and total ability to just be ourselves with a man in a relationship. I have NEVER had that.

    I would probably feel more pressure if I were dating these women, but still.

    I had a best friend who was a man for a while when I was younger, and though I felt able to “be myself” I think it detracted, for him, from my attractiveness (or he simply felt vulnerable, since we were friends and to be into me that way would be putting himself out there). He was extremely funny, but also VERY dark. I am sure there are plenty of women like that, but my women friends have always been optimistic to a fault (really, to a fault–to their detriment, with men). My best friend right now has finally figured out her life is a lot better without men in it, and she’s okay with that. Why wouldn’t she be? She’s got a great job, her own condo, her own car, makes a good salary, has her own time and life and only needs to look after herself–why risk all that for a relationship with a man, who even in a better-case scenario would tie her down, keep her from traveling, and expect all her time and effort? Really, male-female courtship is so ridiculous; it’s this lie of men “pursuing” women with all this effort that it is just *expected* will be turned off the moment he’s “caught” her, at which time he’ll start doing a whole lot of nothing and she will become the one to do the labor to keep the relationship alive and the household running. What a shit deal.

    I have talked about raising children collectively with several of my friends. I know that it’s probably infuriating to lesbians, and appropriation, but several of my female friends have said they wished they could dump the deadbeat guys and just be “lesbian moms.” I would love that (to help raise a friend’s kids). I don’t think there would be a man in the relationship between us (as long as we could keep the actual men out)–why? (Yes, in friendships with women in heterosexual LTRs, there is an actual man between you, and that’s unfortunate, but you’ve got to still be there for your friends, and, if in a relationship, find a way to carve out time for yourself and your female friendships). I don’t think women’s friendships need to have that concept of “ownership” so unfortunate in romantic love.

    As to “love everybody equally,” well, I don’t think even in a Utopian society that would be possible. There would always be different levels of affection for different people. The polyamorous Utopia cannot happen without the destruction of the patriarchy first, anyway (the main issue of all liberal “feminism,” putting the cart before the horse).

  • Stroke_Your_Own_Ego

    I’ll tell you this, if I ever detect that a woman I date is trying to “play the man” in the relationship…or if I get the sense that she wants me to “play the man,” then I’ll be gone faster than lightning on crack. I’m not going to launch into indignant whining and say “How dare you enforce that stereotype about lesbian couples!” because some lesbians totally do play into the man/woman dynamic either deliberately or unknowingly. And that’s definitely worthy of criticism. Although I would argue that power dynamics between two women are vastly different than between a man and a woman. A woman doesn’t have the structural power to subjugate another woman within the home, the way a man does, even if she’s emulating a male archetype. It’s like how trans men still occupy the social class of a woman, despite the fact that they strive to occupy the social roles of men.

    I have to say, it sounds extremely idealist to me–to expect every person to love everyone in the world an equal amount, and to abandon all notions of close personal relationships. But I won’t get into to that with you. The world is so entrenched in capitalism and patriarchy that arguing among feminists about life in a post-patriarchy world seems like a tangent from the discussion at hand.

  • DeColonise

    “He seems to be in the category of male star who doesn’t bathe … possibly to put off ardent fans. Who knows.”

    haha good point!

    He also is extremely overpayed as most of Hollywood “super”stars.

  • Tobysgirl

    I have no doubt that life is not ideal in the countries the U.S. chooses to destabilize. That said, life after invasion/bombing/regime change undertaken by the U.S. grows exponentially worse for the inhabitants of those countries, IN PARTICULAR the women and children. I have a lot of problems with Western countries getting on their high horse about conditions in nations they are targeting for domination and exploitation; it’s as though we do live in an ideal country. I prefer to hear criticism of these nations from people who live there, and it being clearly understood that their narratives do not equal “humanitarian intervention” by Western nations. See Diana Johnstone, Fools’ Crusade, for the true meaning of humanitarian intervention.

    • Nan

      1) I don’t need to live in an ideal country to be allowed to criticize obvious human rights violations (FGM, child marriage, systematic use of torture, etc).
      2) Do you have the same problems with Russian bombings in Syria as with NATO’s ?
      3) You “prefer to hear criticism of these nations from people who live there”: does it include the women that testified about Assad’s detention center ?
      4) Obviously several past Western interventions have been ill-advised and poorly managed. Does it mean it is always better to just sit by while slaughters are under way? I guess you’ll say “yes because these so-called slaughters are made-up/exagerated by western media”, as said by Diana Johnstone about the Srebrenica massacre. I have not read her actual book, but some of her articles about French politics which I’m knowledgeable about. It appears clearly that she’s a conspiracy theorist, favouring far right leader Marine Le Pen and Putin’s Russia (hence her stance in the Yugoslavian war) and cultivating a (not so) subtly veiled anti-semitism. Definitely not a convincing reference for me.

  • calabasa

    I am not proving your point. You are obfuscating your point.

    If your point is that the idea of ownership is a problem, you should have said so. There is no proof that the notion of ownership within relationships is a patriarchal one. However, no one’s denying it’s a problem. (See: “The Ship That Sailed into the Living Room” for a lesbian writers thoughts on the problem of the notions of romantic ownership). I am aware of heteronormativity, but as someone else pointed out, pair-bonding is natural and would exist with or without patriarchy. There would likely be more fluidity, and one would hope more openness, but jealousy also is a natural human emotion, just like love, and it happens in all sorts of relationships.

    If your point is that in some sort of socialist Utopia we would all be polyamorous, you should have said so in your original post. If your point is that such a setup is prevented by the exploitation of patriarchy, you should have said so in your original post, as well.

    Patriarchy fucks up all romantic relationships–gay, lesbian, straight, monogamous, or “open.” Is that what you mean when you say there is always a man between two women (a man is meant to mean the problem of patriarchy)?

    In any case, your idea of a society in which everybody fucks everybody else *equally* is as religious magical thinking as some notions in Buddhism (“I love everyone equally”). Pointing out that individuals exist and some get along with others better than other is not elevating them above the rest; calling us talking monkeys is ridiculous, as monkeys also have social relations, hierarchies (something we would have to THINK our way out of), and pair-bonding behaviors as well. Bonobos may use sexual activities (often not intercourse) as a social lubricant, to smooth over small fights, just for fun, etc., but that doesn’t mean they’re just as likely to do it with anyone because “hey all monkeys here, I don’t see no difference.” The point of being social animals is that there IS a difference. You will also find pair-bonding among bonobos, and yes, they will have sex with favorite individuals more often.

    Socialism doesn’t “mandate equality” of people’s feelings. What you’re talking about is fascism. Also, I wasn’t referencing liberal feminism in the slightest, and there’s zero proof patriarchy is the cause of pair-bonding or the friction of ownership that comes with romantic exclusivity.

    What are you on about, anyway? (Or just on)?

  • Stroke_Your_Own_Ego

    “Exclusivity.” Man I hate that word. It’s interesting, even though what you’re saying is radically socialist, I’m getting flashbacks to my time in the third wave queer cult. I realize the idea behind “lack of exclusivity” is that everyone is free to sleep with whoever they want, and that there’s no jealousy or inequality involved. But I can so clearly imagine that structure being twisted into yet another facilitator of rape culture. People who didn’t want to share their sex life with the whole world would get accused of selfishness and non-inclusiveness. Consent would be iffy because people would feel obliged to sleep with whoever was horny to make sure they fit in with the communal whole. You can’t establish boundaries in your sex life if your sex life is public property.

  • ArchFucius

    All while Russia was propping him up and installing Trump in the whitehouse.

  • Hanakai

    I recall this notion making an appearance under various names pretty much every generation. Free love, polyamory, omniamory, complex marriage, nonexclusivity, nonpossessiveness. Generally this idea of free love, which really means that one has sex with many people, is proposed by males who want to be able to have sex with as many females as they can. These males basically want women to become sexual public property, available to all men on demand.

    There have been many many communes and social experiments that followed this lack of exclusivity and notably, none of them survive. Jealousy happens. People fall in love and want to be with the beloved instead of with any old nondiscrimate sex partner. Read about the Oneida community.

    People are individuals and are drawn to other individuals based on an attraction composed of many factors. Not just anyone will do. Exclusive relationships happen because people are individuals and my relationship with Alice with be different than my relationship with Laura and different than my relationship with Steve, and this because people are different and related based on individuality. I relate differently to musicians with whom I can play than to people who play no music. Obvious.

    Even the Buddhists, who aim for equanimity and having loving feelings and compassion for all and who advocate minimizing attachment, recognize that there is going to be some degree of attachment to family, children and those one loves.

    The brain also contains the structures and neurochemicals of love, and the brain shows a focus on specific loved ones.

    Personally I would not want to share my body or my life with any odd person from the collectivity. I like having choice and being able to follow the genuine promptings of my own heart, mind and intuitive knowledge.