Calvin Klein's new spring underwear campaign, "Erotica," shot by photographer Harley Weir, is causing controversy due to its racy images.



Why is This Calvin Klein Ad Causing a Stir?

Calvin Klein is making waves with a new installment of its “I ___ in #mycalvins” campaign. The controversial ad features an upskirt shot of Danish model and actress Klara Kristin, offering a peep of her underwear. The photo was uploaded to Calvin Klein’s Instagram account one week ago and has garnered over 48,000 likes and 2,600 comments, expressing a mixture of support and disgust.

Some commenters are likening the ad to important issues like rape culture and sexual harassment. One commenter said that the photo is “glamorizing upskirt victimization which is NOT cool or arty.” Commenters have called the ad “creepy,” “distasteful,” and “predatory” because of Kristin’s “young” look that “feeds pedophiles.” The model sports a silk slip with tousled hair and disheveled bangs; neither her hair nor her outfit particularly screams “12-year-old,” as one Twitter user said. But there’s no need to fret—Kristin is 23 years old and well over the age of consent.

A less controversial shot of Klara Kristin from the same campaign.
A less controversial shot of Klara Kristin from the same campaign.

Launching racy ads featuring youthful models is not new for the Calvin Klein label. Campaigns featuring a 15-year-old Brooke Shields and a 21-year-old Mark Wahlberg from 1981 and 1992, respectively, have also sparked controversy, though not as fiery as the one Kristin has ignited. Unlike Calvin Klein’s past campaigns, many, including the National Center on Sexual Exploitation, are so outraged with this particular upskirt shot that they are demanding that Calvin Klein not only remove this advertisement but also suspend the entire “Erotica” campaign. Supporters—including the photographer, Harley Weir, and the model—seem unfazed. One comment on Weir’s Instagram maintains that this is a “beautiful ad, made to sell underwear” that utilizes an “out of the box angle and warm colors.” Another commenter offered some encouragement to Weir and Kristin, saying, “it’s marketing, it’s art, and it’s perfect! You go and you don’t stop because there will always be critics.”

Abbey Lee Kershaw
Calvin Klein’s “Erotica” campaign features Klara Kristin, Abbey Lee Kershaw, Saskia de Brauw, and Kendall Jenner, as well as butts, grapefruits, and roses.

Weir, who also shot Proenza Schouler‘s Pre-Fall 2016 campaigntold The Associated Press that she’s “really happy” with the response to the ad. Kristin agreed and retaliated against her critics on Instagram by reposting the ad with the caption, “I LOVE this photo that @harleyweir took of me. All this discussion about it makes me think about how alienated and scared some people are to the female human body. Be and love yourself and your sexuality #girlpower.”

#girlpower, indeed.

Photos shot by Harley Weir for Calvin Klein. 

Stay tuned to Milk for more sexual women worth celebrating.

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