Started by Pacman7331, Sep 21, 2010, 02:41 PM
Dear (me - Pacman7331), Thank you for taking the time to write to us with your concerns about Icebreaker's images. The image you may be referring to is the cover image for Icebreaker's Spring/Summer 2010 catalogue. The figure with the ram's head is an iconic character called the Ramotaur, created for our catalogues three seasons ago. We portray the Ramotaur as a mythological creature that is half man, half merino. Our garments are made from natural, renewable merino wool, and sustainable production methods are at the core of our business.The Ramotaur was created as a symbol of the connection we have with nature. This imaginary creature symbolises the force of nature, and has a ram's head to emphasise the fact that he is a human/merino hybrid. Racial and gender representatives are a sensitive issue in marketing, and the last thing we would ever want to do is to promote negative or damaging stereotypes of anyone. None of our images of women, for example, show women in decorative roles: women and men in our images are confident, adventurous and strong. The names for our underwear collections were also chosen to illustrate our connection with the natural environment. The name of the men's collection, Beast, refers to energy. Our marketing language around this collection talks about "creative energy" as well as the harmoniousness of nature, to illustrate the fact that our underwear brings the spirit of the wilderness into urban environments.We've called our women's collection Nature because it's made from the lightest form of merino, a natural fabric, and because all the designs are inspired by nature - such as the native flowers of New Zealand. We are very sorry to hear your concerns, and are grateful that you have taken the time to share them with us. But please rest assured that the imagery that concerns you was created as a symbol of Icebreaker's connection with nature, with no racial or gender subtext.Thank you again for writing to us. Rebecca ToomerGlobal Brand ManagerIcebreaker NZ Icebreaker New Zealand Ltd Level 2, Hope Gibbons Building7-11 Dixon Street, PO Box 959Wellington, New Zealandicebreaker.comfacebook.com/icebreakernztwitter.com/icebreakernzPlease consider the environment before printing this e-mail
My first reactions are:The portrayal of men as beasts is much greater damaging and negative stereotype than a woman as decorator. There is no shame in being a decorator, but it is very derogatory to name person as a subhuman animal. They seem to have oversensitivity towards depiction of women and total insensitivity when it comes to men. What if they reversed the genders here? Putting a animal head on a female and having a man mount atop her back? The contrast between those two situations should effectively illuminate the bias against men. Weather intentional or not I think they could find other ways to show they use merino fabric without portraying males as animals. I did email a number of people I found on New Zealand MRA sites on this issue but have yet to receive any response.