Calvin Klein Under Fire For Overly Sexual Ad Campaign: Is ‘Upskirting’ Appropriate?

Calvin Klein has come under fire for its latest overly sexual ad campaign, according to CNN. The brand came up with the idea to show what people do when they wear Calvins. And the ad campaign featured it all: vaginas, butts, crotches, and orgasms.

Calvin Klein’s latest ad campaign was shot by photographer Harley Weir and featured such stars as actress Klara Kristin, model Kendall Jenner, and even Justin Bieber. A series of photographs with juicy slogans were posted to the brand’s Instagram account.

In one of the photographs, Kristin is seen revealing what’s underneath her skirt. And as may have been expected, the “upskirt” photo showed the actress’ underwear — a pair of Calvins. So what’s all the fuss about?

Kristin herself took to social media to defend Calvin Klein and the overly sexual ad campaign, in which she was directly involved, according to the Independent. The actress also voiced her support for Weir, the photographer, and encouraged her Instagram followers to not be “alienated and scared” of the female body.

“Be and love yourself and your sexuality #girlpower.”

On her photograph for Calvin Klein’s controversial ad campaign, Jenner is seen holding a grapefruit that resembles a vagina. The photograph comes with a slogan that says, “I eat in my Calvins.”

The campaign also features Bieber “flaunting,” “glowing,” and “dreaming” in a pair of Calvins.

And while many critics defended Calvin Klein’s ad campaign saying it’s empowering and feminist-positive, others called the photographs “creepy” and “disgusting.” And while the New York Daily News called the campaign “risky and offensive,” ABC News titled it as “fashion porn.”

Some even took it as far as claiming that Calvin Klein’s scandalous ad campaign promotes pedophilia. Critics even said the brand is exploiting the models while the National Center on Sexual Exploitation issued a petition in which it asks Klein to “Stop Normalizing and Glamorizing Sexual Harassment.”

But some people wonder why critics get so angry over Calvin Klein’s photograph in which Kendall Jenner is holding a grapefruit that resembles a vagina. Why do they call it “disgusting”? It’s a female body part, after all, and all women have it.

But it looks like those critics contradict themselves when they talk about empowering women and feminism and at the same time they find some shame in acknowledging female body parts. So the effect of their good intentions can actually be reversed: women, who listen to those critics, actually feel that there is something on their bodies to be embarrassed about.

Some others wonder why Calvin Klein is not allowed to encourage people to buy underwear with the help of photographs that feature people wearing the underwear. The argument is that most people wear underwear and the fact that a model was photographed from a different angle, or the fact that a model is holding a fruit that resembles a private body part are irrelevant. It’s a matter of perception.

On the other hand, “upskirting” is an issue that has had a lot of attention over the past few years, especially since the introduction of cell phones with inbuilt digital cameras. The very fact of taking an “upskirt” photo impliedly violates the rights of the woman being photographed. And as one commenter noted, “upskirting” is a porn category and not something that should be normalized in a mainstream advertising campaign.

For some, though, the argument remains that it’s everybody’s own business what they do in their underwear by Calvin Klein, so if a woman decided to hold a grapefruit, why is she being criticized for doing that? Or if a woman decided to flash her underwear by standing over the camera in a skirt, why is she being criticized for it? Doesn’t it contradict the main idea of feminism?

This contradicts the views of other groups of society, who, while they agree that people can do as they like in their Calvin Klein underwear in the privacy of their homes, do not think that the latest advertising photos are appropriate the be displayed on public billboards and in print.

[Photo by Chris Hondros/Getty Images]