This was clearly a calculated move on the part of Urban Outfitters; some art director said: "Hey, you know that Kaleidoscope Dress is just the thing one would wear for the occasion of experimenting with another girl!" Which makes me wonder what they were trying to accomplish by this image? Is this for the benefit of their female customers, their male customers, or just free publicity provided by the shock factor and an organization that calls itself A Million Moms, (which is urging everyone to unsubscribe from UO catalogs, while a million dads are busy taking a second look)?
If you study the picture, you'll notice that it's made to look as if it was taken with a cell phone or some other cheap camera with harsh shadows falling on the wall behind the pair. The blurred windows also add to the snapshot feel, as well as the overall harsh, unflattering lighting. The smoocher in the giant black platforms looks like she's a lot more into it than the other girl - who has the uncertain expression of someone experiencing her first girl kiss. Perhaps it was a game of Truth or Dare? The image is intentionally vague on the matter. The question that begs to be asked is, "Is this appropriate?"
Now that we're on the subject of UO catalogs, I want to bring up something that's been bothering me for a while now; the way their images represent teenagers. Most of the catalog shots have had this substance-induced, I-am-going-to-regret-it-in-the-morning feel to them. The girls are always looking insensible and crawling half naked through some bushes, projecting the appearance of someone who was just raped or about to get raped.What message do these images send to teenagers? What does it say about your average UO shopper? Shouldn't a huge brand like UO attempt to send some kind of a positive message? Can't they do a soup kitchen or the joy of recycling theme or something? Call me old fashioned, but I wouldn't want my daughter wearing skirts that display a clear view of her underwear and tops without a bra, while crawling through the under-bush with a dazed expression.
Here's a page from an older Urban Otfitters catalogs, featuring a nude teenage girl. This may get a lot of boys to sign up for catalogs, but it seems clearly wrong in my book. Shouldn't there be at least some semblance of modesty in our society, at least in public, at least when kids are concerned?
What are your thoughts?