Well, I'll go to the foot of my stairs...

Often startled, frequently amused, sometimes scared; rarely speechless. Can be found at witchywoo22@yahoo.co.uk

Saturday, May 20, 2006

Ok, so...

...what's this about, then?

Here we have a picture of a (stick thin) dark haired woman, hips thrust forward in a mini-bikini, supposedly pulling the long (blonde) hair of a slightly more dressed (but still stick thin) blonde woman who in turn is, seemingly, almost jabbing the stiletto heel of her (almost there) shoe into the clitoris of the bikini'd woman.

What the fuck is that about?

I went shopping today - while my car was being serviced (yes, ok, I'm no BB [look back to her original post] when it comes to cars) and whilst I was just out-and-abouting I saw this as a window display in FCUK. It's a huge promotional picture in the FCUK window. And I have to admit, my initial reaction was to walk away...far away, it scared me...but then I reminded myself of aradfem's fearless use of the camera in her mobile and I went back and took this pic.

There is implied pain on the face of the woman who's having her hair pulled and there is implicit pain to come for the woman with the stilleto being jabbed in her pubis.

This is a promotional window display in a shop that sells clothes?

This is how they think they'll make us want to buy their clothes? I'm sorry (not) but, fuck, I walked straight out of that mall when I saw this. It was only the thought of aradfem's bravery and defiance that made me go back and take the picture.

I ask in all seriousness - what is going on here?

As an advertisement, what are they trying to say? That women will buy their clothes because they make them think they can physically hurt one another to get the men off?

Or is it that they believe some women will relate to this imagery because it's a popular theme of pornography and we're all so accustomed to it that we'll all want, automatically, to be on the side of the woman who isn't 'implicitly' threatened with sexual harm and, therefore, buy their clothing?

All I know is that I'll never, ever shop at FCUK - ever, and I'll tell everyone I know not to either - and that I love aradfem for giving me the courage to do this (amongst other things).


  • At 9:05 AM, Blogger asdgasdfaserwe said…

    I walked past that same poster (in Islington) yesterday and considered going into the shop to rip it up or return with a spray can and write something on their windows, but have yet to pluck up the courage.

    Similar ads of FCUK fighting women have been carried on London Buses and a complaint I made to them was dismissed because 'Transport for London doesn't considers these advertisement to be inappropriate'.

    All in all FCUK just aren't so picky about who dishes out the violence as long as a woman is at the receiving end.

  • At 9:09 AM, Blogger alyx said…

    There are similarly repugnant 'catfight' fashion displays in my own home city, and I agree with your and v's idea about the subversive potential of mobile phone cameras (they're especially handy for snapping pics of old perverts at the beach who film young girls.)

    Misogynist FCUKs. Thanks for highlighting this, witchy :)

  • At 1:36 PM, Blogger manxome said…

    My first thought is "to get attention". Advertising is merely getting the name stuck in consumer's heads. How it's done is secondary to that.

    Yeah, but what's up with this one? I came up with something, and the rest is top-of-the-head freeform thoughts coming as I type them. What I came up with is: Catfight!

    Now, who calls this out when women get physically aggressive with each other? Men. Are they worried, concerned? No. They're titillated. It's a bit 'ol turn on. If it ends too soon they are disappointed.

    What does this have to do with selling clothes to women?

    Isn't it almost always about how we look to others? Pleasing others, exciting others, being constantly told that we are on display, always being watched and judged and graded for our looks, for how we "perform?

    Isn't this "catfight" a perfect example of this? The the ultimate free performance, better than a striptease because it's free, and it's all so exciting to men.

    Which leads to: maybe that's the point. Maybe it's a statement about that, and maybe it's not. Maybe it's art, or art that's poorly done, or art that would be better displayed outside the context of a retail clothing establishment, or just some pig who thinks it's hawt, and art is the excuse for getting away with it.

    So, I didn't solve it, but I did get my daily allowence of incoherence in for the day!

  • At 2:37 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    Yunno, I was already avoiding FCUK on Ethical grounds but this is just another reason. Thanks for the heads up.

    BTW I'm not avoiding you but we never seem top coincide online any more.

  • At 3:03 PM, Blogger Biting Beaver said…

    Damnit, that is simply repugnant. Absolutely disgusting.

    And I absolutely LOVE the idea of documenting it when you see it. Seriously, it's a wonderful idea and it really brings all of it home that we are ALL on the front lines. Whether that be the UK, Australia, US, or anywhere else we're all experiencing the same thing.

    This picture, while it's far from the US where I live, is a perfect representation of the very same culture over here.

    Excellent job WW.

  • At 6:34 PM, Blogger spotted elephant said…

    This is a familiar (porn) image-not just the violence, but the woman in the bikini is wearing heels.

    Thank you for taking this picture.

  • At 6:56 PM, Blogger Pippa said…

    Excellent work! I will be using my camera phone from now on and posting the objectionable pics on my blog. We need to complain, loudly, in great gangs... I like the 'no comment section' in Ms. every quarter. They provide names and addresses of those responsible for adverts and displays that offend. Cheers, Pippa

  • At 10:08 AM, Blogger lost clown said…


    That is so disgusting. Well done witchy-woo!

  • At 4:21 PM, Anonymous delphyne said…

    I hate French Connection, ever since their FCUK campaign.

    That window so needs to meet a brick.

  • At 4:24 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    im glad you took this! you'll be using your camera more now i bet. i have a few pics ive taken but not got round to posting yet.

    i dont get the display, at all. are they fighting over clothes? over a man? are they drunk? is it fight porn?

  • At 10:15 PM, Blogger birdychirp said…

    Ick. No longer shopping there (plus, of course, no goddess sized clothing...)

  • At 12:07 AM, Anonymous Laurelin said…

    Great post, Witchy.

    This really makes me want to carry a camera around me... so many times I've stopped in front of adverts furious.

  • At 2:18 PM, Blogger soopermouse said…

    does anyone remember that horrid beer add that wa sout about a year ago? It had a guy and his new bride on a beach, in hot as hell weather. The guy was in his trunks, the woman wa sin wedding dress with a veil on, in order to keep her husband's beer coldunder the veil.
    I called the City Council ( they own the boards) immediately and made a scandal ( one thing I learned as an immigrant in Enhgland, being polite does not help. Scream at the motherfuckers). the next day the board wasn't there

  • At 4:26 PM, Blogger witchy-woo said…

    I emailed FCUK to complain about their window and this is the response I've just got:

    Thank you for your email regarding our French Connection advertising. French Connection set out to create a debate, and the commercial is a visualisation of the debate between Fashion and Style.

    We apologise if the advertising has caused you any offence.

    I hope that you will have seen the very positive response to our Spring / Summer collections in the press recently – showcasing both stylish and fashionable pieces – and that you would consider shopping with us again.

    Kind regards


    A "visualisation of the debate between fashion and style"??? What utter drivel.

    A marketing manager needs to be shown the door - and sharpish - if that picture is supposed to represent a 'debate'.

    I don't care what their fcuking clothes are like, you won't catch me within brick lobbing distance of one of their emporiums of misogyny.

  • At 12:54 AM, Blogger Laura said…

    That response is as disgusting as the display. Did you see the TV ad it's based on? Basically catfight ending up in them kissing - yep, it's all about turning on the guys. Why else do we buy clothes?

  • At 7:43 PM, Anonymous Hypnorainbow said…

    Witchy, what's the FCUK email address? I'm gonna complain too.

  • At 8:12 PM, Blogger witchy-woo said…

    Good for you hypnorainbow! The person who replied to me was Sadie Green from this address:


    Actually, I've been doing a bit of research into their advertising style and I get the impression that they set out to shock and offend because they think that people will remember them better that way.

    The only thing I'll remember is never to go near anything they're involved with.

  • At 12:56 AM, Anonymous delphyne said…

    The company has been in some financial trouble recently, with a fall in profits, which is probably why they're trying to make a big splash with this campaign -


  • At 7:00 PM, Blogger Kim said…

    Blech. This is wrong for so many reasons, as you point out, Witchy.

  • At 1:03 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    Delphyne, I love hearing stuff like that - means the boycotts are having an effect!

    Why do you think nasty Nestle are getting all the film related choc stuff???

  • At 11:06 PM, Blogger Z said…

    I have always cringed when I see those FCUK products in NZ - though they are not too prevalent. They have them in Farmers. I hated them because... well the obvious connotations if you move 2 of the letters around. It just shocked me when I first saw it.

    I do not like that poster at all. It looks like fetish stuff to me. Women should be encouraged to stick together and support each other - NOT fight against each other (and in this case, obviously for the twisted desires of men). It makes me sad and I feel like women are often just posed like toys and dolls for the delight of men.

    I used to be 'scared' of women. Maybe part of this is because I went to an all-girls highschool and was badly abused by my 'friends'. Part of it was probably because I felt inferior to all other women on the planet (I've never been 'good at' conforming) and also because women didn't give me the ego-boost that males did. Even though these males were often abusing me at the time.

    Now I am a bit older however, I really crave having loving friendship relationships with women. REAL friendships - not the kind I experienced in my teenage years which were with people who said they were my friends and then abused me and tore me down.

    I haven't had any friends for.... many years. I think a lot of women have been conditioned to be competitive with other women and be all shy/giggly/'cutsie' with men. It is all starting to dawn on me now. It's a case of 'divide and conquer'.

    I think this poster is just another example perpetuating the idea that women should spend their time fighting one another because they are actually in competition -- and if it is in a way that is attractive to men - all the better!!

    Take care,


  • At 12:03 AM, Blogger witchy-woo said…

    I totally agree. While women are competing with one another we are divided from each other.

    The only people who benefit from that are those who encourage the competition and foster the divisions - and 99 times out of 100, they aren't women.


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