Scandals of Yore: Calvin Klein Ads and More
Recently, the advertisers at Calvin Klein were slapped on the wrists yet again, for another scandalously attention-whoring advertisment that looked to some like a weird, drugged-out threesome and prompted concern from certain groups over the passive appearance of the woman in the photo. The controversial billboard has since been replaced by this one of Eva Mendes slathered in oil and wearing only pants which may be sexy but looks horribly uncomfortable.
People in NYC are pretty liberal and tough to shock–when you’re faced with rats, roaches, people from New Jersey in party buses and masturbating on subway trains, things like the word threesome are hardly so incendiary. However this struck a nerve and it got me thinking about some of the scandals in recent and not-so-recent years that have been set off by little more than one image.
Calvin Klein is no stranger to scandalous advertising. After putting baby faced Brooke Shields in an ad where she declared that “nothing comes between me and my Calvin’s”, CK started an uproar with this campaign featuring then fifteen-year old Kate Moss and Marky Mark Wahlberg. This campaign also famously received criticism for Moss’s waif like appearance and was credited with ushering in the notorious heroin-chic trend of the minimalist 90’s.
One of the most widely known visual scandals was the boob heard ’round the world. When Janet Jackson’s right breast popped out at the 2004 Superbowl during a performance with Justin Timberlake conservatives (who, apparently, thoughts breasts were their secret) went apeshit and demanded a public apology. This brouhaha was also responsible for the coining of the phrase “wardrobe malfunction” which was added to the Chambers English Dictionary in 2008.
Decidedly NOT to do with fashion, this image was the spark that lit the flame of the Clinton Impeachment hearings and changed the way Americans thought about cigars-and world leaders–forever. It’s hard to imagine what would have been the fallout had this happened in a post Dubya administration but one can scarcely believe it would have caused such a frenzy. Oh, for the days when a President liking oral sex was the nation’s biggest problem.
Now I don’t know about y’all, but I was NOT ALLOWED to see Dirty Dancing when it came out. I even had to skip my friends birthday party because they were going to see it and my mom was all “Oh, no you’re not!” This led to a fight and a subsequent grounding and instead of watching Johnny and Baby have The Time of Their Lives, I spent a feverish evening in my room, angrily playing The Oregon Trail. The annoying part was, when I finally DID see Dirty Dancing, there wasn’t nothin’ dirty about it! A couple of dry humping dancers? Some murmured suggestion of an abortion? Please. I saw worse on MTV’s The Grind every day after school. My mother has still not heard the end of this.
This last but not least, is my very favorite because I refused to be scandalized by it, and actually found it to be really awesome, and therefore felt for the first time that I could make my own critically-based decisions about how I felt about music, media and the world at large-a truly thrilling moment in a young person’s life.
Ladies and gentlemen, I give you Rump Shaker.
[Ed. Note: For Some Reason the only Rump Shaker videos I can find are for a musical version that samples Big Daddy Kane’s “Ain’t No Half Steppin'” which is bullshit and not the original song. However the video is the thing here, and that remains the same. Apologies.]