Italian Lingerie Company Celebrates Sexist Berlusconi Culture in Terrible Ad
4:03 pm, November 15th | by Amy Tennery
But that’s not stopping one Italian lingerie company from bidding farewell to Berlusconi — in the worst way possible.
It’s an ad from underwear purveyor Yamamay, which, naturally, includes a grinning, topless woman. The tagline is “Bye-bye Mr. President!” — a reference to Berlusconi’s recent departure, according to Leggo, a free Italian daily newspaper. The background is a wash of pink sparkles. The model is holding a small, dog in a Santa hat. It’s all supposed to be very cute, I guess.
I understand that there isn’t any “good” way for a lingerie company to memorialize Berlusconi’s tenure — which is probably why Yamamay shouldn’t have done it in the first place. The reference to “Mr. President” (and the fact that the model is blonde) calls Marilyn Monroe and JFK to mind. But where JFK was plagued by saucy rumors of liaisons with Hollywood starlets, Berlusconi faces far more outrageous charges. The ad is trying to make light of the situation, but there is no criticism in it — there’s no don’t let the door hit you on the way out. It reads almost like a celebration of Berlusconi.
But what is there to celebrate? This is a politician who has been investigated for “facilitating child prostitution” and stands accused of allowing the “commercial sexual exploitation of a Moroccan child,” according to a U.S. State Department report released late last month. Berlusconi’s charges aren’t cute — he’s currently facing accusations that he may have had a sexual encounter with a 17-year-old (which makes her underage according to Italian law). Of course, these are still just accusations. But this ad seems to be a tacit endorsement of the sexist culture that Berlusconi has fostered. Are we to expect gals in barely-there getups to start posing in adverts welcoming Dominique Strauss-Kahn back to France?
It’s possible that Yamamay didn’t mean to send this kind of message to Italy’s “Presidente” (the preferred moniker of Berlusconi, which would explain the “Mr. President” reference in the ad). But there’s nothing in the imagery or the words that broaches the seriousness of the charges against him. As Business Insider put it, “it’s probably the kind of goodbye Berlusconi would have endorsed himself.”
But Berlusconi shouldn’t be allowed to orchestrate the tone of his departure — and this company shouldn’t be doing it on his behalf.