The Married Feminist this week on on Donna Karan, Women and Dressing Provocatively

A slight detour from the men and women and marriage circuit that this column normally deals with this time round. What has got me granny knickers all in a twist today is Donna Karan. For those of you who haven’t been following the news, this is about the spirited defense fashion designer Donna Karan put up for movie mogul Harvey Weinstein who has been accused by a number of women for sexual inappropriateness and outright abuse. Weinstein and his wife also happen to be dear friends of Donna Karan, for the record.


To quote from the Daily Mail, “During a red carpet interview at the CinéFashion Film Awards on Sunday, the DKNY creator was asked to weigh in on the scandal hours after the disgraced film mogul was fired from his company. Unlike many Hollywood stars and celebs, Karan did not condemn the 65-year-old, who has been accused of sexually harassing multiple women over the span of decades, and instead pointed the finger at his accusers.”

“I think we have to look at ourselves. Obviously, the treatment of women all over the world is something that has always had to be identified. Certainly in the country of Haiti where I work, in Africa, in the developing world, it’s been a hard time for women.

“I also think how do we display ourselves? How do we present ourselves as women? What are we asking? Are we asking for it by presenting all the sensuality and all the sexuality?”

“You look at everything all over the world today and how women are dressing and what they are asking by just presenting themselves the way they do. What are they asking for? Trouble.” she said.

This inexplicable show of support to the abuser and the level of victim shaming, given that she is part of an industry that has been built on commoditization of women as fashion plates, is astounding.

Donna Karan was slammed, rightly so, for those remarks. She apologised a day later, saying her remarks were taken out of context, but the damage was done.  In that one statement Karan had undone decades of exemplary work dressing women in fashion that was powerful yet feminine, a strong line of fashion she brought into the forefront that was powerful, confident, and yes, occasionally provocative. Some of them very provocative indeed. Did she intend, when she designed those garments, that women who would buy them and wear them were asking to be sexually assaulted?

Read the rest of the article here


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