Elton John has been urging anyone and everyone on social media to #BoycottDolceGabbana after he read fashion designers Stefano Gabbana and Domenico Dolce’s comments on in vitro fertilization (IVF) last week.
“I am not convinced of those I call children of chemicals, synthetic children,” Dolce told Italian magazine Panorama in an interview.
He went on to refer to children born through IVF as “rented children, created from semen chosen from a catalog.”
What began as a small outcry from John, who has two children born through IVF, turned into a fairly large social media campaign, which was backed by quite a few celebrities. It probably hit your news feed as well; it hit mine.
The most offensive part of the whole fiasco was how blissfully unaware both Dolce and Gabbana were about the statement they made (on behalf of their brand, I might add).
The most criminal thing about their statement on IVF is that their viewpoint is completely ignorant to science. If IVF were to somehow alter a childbirth, making the birth any different for the mother or the child, it wouldn’t be a commonly-used and accepted practice. Calling children who are born through IVF “synthetic” is like saying people who use pacemakers aren’t real people. Most people who are alive today wouldn’t be alive if it weren’t for science, so I don’t see how IVF is any different.
The #BoycottDolceGabbana campaign was particularly viral among LGBT celebrities, which makes sense, seeing as IVF is one of the few options by which gay couples can have children, and the only one that allows the child to share one of the parent’s genes. It’s especially ironic since the fashion industry has a strong connection with the gay community, and I’m sure these two men work with many LGBT individuals or their allies. It’s also worth mentioning that both Dolce and Gabbana are gay and were formerly partners in a different sense than they are today.
But not only does fashion have a strong connection to LGBT people, it’s also known as being one of the most progressive industries in the world, despite its reputation for being full of people who aren’t the brightest individuals. Unfortunately, Dolce & Gabbana is only perpetuating one of these stereotypes, and it’s not the positive one.
Although the fashion house released a statement in an attempt to correct what was said in the interview, it was ruined by Stefano Gabbana calling Elton John a fascist and stating, “Je suis D&G” on Instagram. As if this is in any way comparable to the issue that made “Je suis Charlie” a well-known phrase.
It was truly just one ignorant statement after another, but to be honest, the backlash was equally dumb.
The average person, including the majority of Elton John’s and any other celebrity’s fanbase, and the majority of people who took to social media to #BoycottDolceGabbana, can’t even afford Dolce & Gabbana products in the first place. Believe me, I would love to own a $995 umbrella with tacky branding all over it, but I can’t. So even if I were to boycott the fashion label, I would be one of the thousands of people boycotting a brand that I’m unable to affect in any way.
So is there really a solution to this? Should we just unfollow the Dolce & Gabbana Twitter account? Should I send hate Tweets to Domenico Dolce? Help me Elton, I don’t know what to do!
This campaign, hashtag and all, is another case of a pointless sensation that will die out and be forgotten in a few weeks. In fact, it has already died off a bit on social media. We can all say we don’t support the company anymore, but they’ll still receive invitations to fashion weeks around the world, celebrities will still wear their couture and they will come out of this scandal with little to no damage. Sure, their comments were dumb, but with money comes the privilege to say stupid things and have them forgotten quickly.
Ironically enough, one Dolce & Gabbana product we can all afford—and probably have all been avoiding anyway—is their “eau de enfant,” a baby perfume. It might only cost $44, but I’m starting to doubt any gay couples with children born through IVF will be purchasing that product.