This SCHIELD Campaign Endorses Bulimia Because the Fashion Industry Still Doesn't Get It
"Grow up Heather, bulimia is so '87" goes the famous line from 1988 cult-classic Heathers. The movie is a dark comedy, but apparently some people aren't in on the joke. SCHIELD, an Italian jewelry company, thinks bulimia is so 2014. The brand's gross Fall/Winter 2014/2015 ad campaign, unfortunately named "Disorder Sisters," shows one sibling with her mouth open while the other sister offers up her fingers as a vomit aid. Horrifying.
Heathers quotes aside, there is nothing fashionable or tongue-in-cheek about an eating disorder. NOTHING. Bulimia is not a cute, convenient way to have your cake, eat it, and vomit it up without messing up your designer outfit and SCHIELD jewelry. Bulimia is a disease. It kills people. Eating disorders have the highest mortality rate of any mental illness. Glamorizing the issue is the worst thing we can do.
The sisterly theme of the ads doesn't help matters. One girl helps the other with her disorder and they both ward off judgement with a stern glare at the camera that says "We'll do what we want, thanks." They're in this together, but not in a supportive, "I want you to get better," way. This is such a dangerous and irresponsible way to sell jewelry and promote the socks-with-athletic-sandals trend.
There is no mistaking what this pose symbolizes and the rapturous look on the right-hand model is, frankly, sickening. I'm baffled by how many people needed to approve this idea before the ads were produced. Was no one like "Hey, maybe promoting eating disorders is...bad?" One thing I do know is that I have no interest in buying what SCHIELD wants to sell.
Updated [7/3/14]: SCHIELD has removed the disturbing photos, releasing a statement saying, "Schield has never intended to speak, in his images, about a such a serious problem; but we chose to delete the misunderstood image to demonstrate our earnest toward such a important and sad theme."