Ralph Lauren: abusing women’s self esteem and the DMCA

Filippa HamiltonFormer Ralph Lauren model, Filippa Hamilton is 5’10” and weighs 120 lbs., and despite this image, no, her head is not really bigger than her waist.

These days you can assume that every commercial image you see has been touched up in some way. The less innocuous ones erase stray hairs, remove a zit, or even out a blemish. More gratiuitous ones remove any signs of pores, erase 10 pounds, or increase bust a cup size or two. But this image from Ralph Lauren is just ridiculous.

So ridiculous in fact, it has made it’s way across the blogosphere in places likeĀ Photoshop Disasters and Boing Boing. Normally I wouldn’t bother commenting. Yes, this is a case of the fashion industry creating an impossible ideal of beauty, possibly devastating the self-esteems of women everywhere… but what else is new?

When called out on their photoshop flub however, Ralph Lauren issued DMCA takedown notices to the above mentioned websites, which were critical of the image. Nothing is as outrageous as a company hiding behind their lawyers and abusing the DMCA, when the usage is clearly protected as criticism and comment. Nothing that is except another company that complies with the takedown notice blindly, removing the content without question or appeal, like Google did when it removed the image from Photoshop Disasters.

Ralph Lauren issued an apology, saying

“For over 42 years we have built a brand based on quality and integrity. After further investigation, we have learned that we are responsible for the poor imaging and retouching that resulted in a very distorted image of a woman’s body. We have addressed the problem and going forward will take every precaution to ensure that the caliber of our artwork represents our brand appropriately.”

Ralph Lauren however also fired poor Filippa for of all things, being too fat. Sorry Filippa… but even though you’re fat, I still love you. Call me, we’ll go out for cheeseburgers.


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