When poet Karen Kunawicz shared a photo from the boys section of the SM Mall Department Store on Facebook earlier this week she sparked widespread outrage among Filipino netizens.
Kunawicz asked: ‘Really SM Department Store? In the boy's section?’ The T-shirt had the following statement printed on it: ‘It’s not rape, it’s a snuggle with a struggle.’
The next day, SM Malls, the Philippines’ largest shopping mall chain owned by the country's richest man, was compelled to issue a public apology and promised to withdraw the shirt from their stocks.
Kunawicz's Facebook post has gathered over 1,800 likes and was shared more than 4,700 times. Several posts on Twitter expressed indignation against the ‘pro-rape’ shirt:
Snuggle with a struggle? Really? SM wants boys to walk around wearing a shirt defining “rape” in the most distorted way? Ew.
— Pat (@PatriciaCruz_) September 22, 2014
— Betty Romero (@BettyRome) September 23, 2014
“It's not rape. It's struggle with a snuggle.” You actually sold a shirt with that line, @TheSMStore. Gross and unforgivable.
— Nina (@nunuuu) September 23, 2014
“Snuggle with a struggle”? Seriously? Of all the things to put in a shirt, it just had to be a joke on rape. Just plain sick.
— Kammy (@_kamuntalan) September 23, 2014
Bench “Naked Truth” Fashion Show
Meanwhile, a major apparel brand was also forced to issue a public apology in the wake of a fashion show that also caused a public scandal.
Netizens condemned retail brand Bench for trampling on the dignity of women during ‘The Naked Truth Denim and Underwear Fashion Show’. Former Gabriela Women’s Party representative Liza Maza posted on Facebook:
At the Naked Truth Bench show – Bench should be held accountable for this degrading and dehumanizing portrayal of women and should apologize.
— Danton Remoto (@DantonRemoto) September 23, 2014
One of the scenes from the show featured a female model who was on all fours crawling on the stage while a popular actor held her on a leash as if she were his pet. The Plump Pinay by Danah & Stacy wrote that the Bench fashion show ‘crossed the line’ and ‘made their blood boil’, saying the scenes glorified sex slavery and human trafficking:
Didn't anybody from the company know that treating people like dogs (literally) was one of the cruel exercises the Nazis did in concentration camps to strip a person from his/her dignity and humanity? To make them feel utter shame and inferiority? No one felt uncomfortable enough to call this out from the production team? Not any one?