Culture

How Should We Feel About FCKH8’s Controversial New Anti-Domestic Violence Clip?

Trigger warning: this is pretty fucked up.

About a month ago, we shared a cute little video about kids swearing and getting all up in sexism’s face. “Fuck that sexist shit,” they said with their adorably sassy mouths while brandishing their middle finger cloaked in a satin Disney Princess glove. As well as being great entertainment, it was also a pretty clever idea — it made people think about what prompts them to feel outrage and how that feeling can be better spent.

But it also garnered a whole lot of criticism. People asked why this company were getting young kids to pedal their agenda. And, in an issue which may be more problematic — ding ding ding, we dropped the buzzword! — people took issue with the fact they were a for-profit T-shirt company profiting off an important socio-political conversation.

Well, if you were offended last time, we suggest you tune out right now. FCKH8 have really upped the ante with their latest offering, and we frankly don’t know how to feel.

One thing is definitely clear from the outset: the video is hard to watch. Young girls are painted up to look as though they’ve been the victims of domestic violence. Just as in the last video, they’re dropping F-bombs all over the place, but they do so this time while slingin’ uncomfortable rhymes about rape. At the end of the clip, some adults echo the kids’ message while sporting the company’s wares. “Break the silence on domestic violence!” yell a couple of perky dudes while flashing their pearly whites and pointing to their chests like they’re repping their high school football team. Without analysing it too much, it’s safe to say there’s a problem with the tone.

On the flip side, any kind of public discussion about domestic violence can hardly be a bad thing. The more taboo the topic is, the harder it is for women to speak out. Though the video claims that one in four women will be the victim of domestic violence at some time in their lives, the stats are actually worse in Australia. One in three of us have experienced some form of violence since the age of 15 and that figure only increases when applied exclusively to Indigenous women. Last year, 27,000 domestic assaults were reported in NSW alone, and a reported 40 percent of people think that rape results from men not being able to control their sex drive. Yesterday, White Ribbon Day saw more than 1,000 events take place all across the country to get the issue heard.

It helps that this time around FCKH8 are donating all of the profits to anti-domestic violence charities, but is it enough?

Frankly, you’d be hard pressed to find someone not unsettled by this ad (let’s just call it what it is), but that’s not to say their shock tactic’s proved its point. Being uncomfortable with seeing women — much less girls — who have been subjected to domestic violence doesn’t make you complicit in that violence. It’s okay if you’d rather just make a donation to the White Ribbon foundation than wear a fluro “not a wife beater” tank top.

Either way, guess we’ll see you in the comments section.

If you’re experiencing any form of abuse, you can reach Lifeline on 13 11 14 at any time. If you’d like to talk to someone about sexual assault or domestic violence, please call 1800 RESPECT (1800 737 732).