Art or Domestic Violence campaign?

The media is very heavily filled with controversy; whether it is news dramatised to create bold headlines by the media itself or genuine real life spectacles. Due to the confronting nature of controversial issues and the easily ready avenue it is presented to us in, it is a part of everyday life and it is what leads to both conflict but also change.

In May 2012 the Bulgarian fashion magazine, 12 magazine, published an editorial called ‘Victim of Beauty’ and it was about women being just that, but the part that sparked public outrage was the images that were included. The six graphic photographs shot by Vasil Germanov depicted women to be “victims of beauty” by featuring close-up shots of perfectly made-up models sporting ghastly wounds and injuries such as a black eye, acid burns and even a slit throat. The photos and editors were quick to receive backlash as the initial reception by many critics deemed the photographs to be ‘glamourising and condoning domestic abuse’. Alison Meldrum, from anti-domestic violence charity Standing Together, said: ‘Given that violence is already skyrocketing in teen relationships, this kind of perversity masquerading as “art” is very troubling.’

Huben Hubenov (editor-in-chief) responded by contesting that the spread didn’t anything to promote domestic violence as “this shoot was left without an introductory text, thus allowing everybody to translate it the way they want” in an email sent to NY Daily News. He then continues in his email and urges audiences to take a closer look at the photographs as opposed to “leaping to conclusions,” and by doing so, “they would’ve seen girls who look at us strongly, who look confident, who are above the wounds, above everything. They are independent.”

Others also question the conclusion made by some with a comment by Lindsey Schuyler on an article by on the subject, who says ‘Why do you automatically jump to domestic violence? Why assume women can’t get injured on their own?’ I agree completely, why is it domestic violence? Maybe it’s about self-harm and depression and self-esteem issues which arise from the portrayal of women in the media? Maybe it’s something completely different and actually about workplace safety. I just find it anti-progressive when people assume women are the victim of men when in fact they are perfectly capable of being victim to themselves.


Murray, R, Magazine explains controversial fashion shoot, says photos aren’t intended to glamourize violence, New York Daily News, Published June 19 2012, Accessed March 20 2014

Reynolds, E, Should violent images of women EVER be portrayed as chic? Campaigners condemn grotesque ‘beauty victim’ photoshoot as ‘perverse’, Daily Mail UK, Published June 12 2012, Accessed March 20 2014

Leung, B, Commentary on 12 Magazine’s Controversial Spread, Published June 20 2012, Accessed March 20 2014

Wishhover, C, Editors at 12 Magazine Defend Their ‘Beauty’ Editorial Featuring Brutally Injured Women, Published June 13 2012, Accessed March 20 2014


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