Does Jimmy Choo’s Latest Ad Glamorize Street Harassment?

A video ad for Jimmy Choo’s Cruise ’18 collection starring Cara Delevingne has been getting a lot of attention, but not for the reasons the designer intended. Titled “Shimmer in the Dark,” the minute-and-a-half-long spot shows Delevingne walking down the street in a crowded city, absolutely killing it in a red sequin dress and glittering Jimmy Choo boots. She stops to admire some Choos in a shop window then makes her way down the pavement, attracting stares from passers-by before ordering a hot dog from a street vendor and skipping the line at a nightclub called “IWantChoo.” The problem? Many feel the ad glamorizes catcalling.

As Delevingne is strutting, one man whistles at her, one says “nice shoes, lady,” and another makes an inaudible comment that prompts her to turn around briefly. While complimenting someone on their shoes isn’t necessarily problematic (though sometimes you do just want to walk down the street without having to interact with anyone, even if they are a hot dude), the whistling, the hushed comment, and the general onslaught of unsolicited attention feel tone-deaf coming at a time when many women are just beginning to feel they can speak openly about sexual harassment.

As i-D notes, Delevingne herself has been outspoken about the sexual misconduct she’s experienced in Hollywood, recounting a “terrifying” hotel room encounter with Harvey Weinstein where he tried to kiss her and asked her to make out with another actress in front of him.

The real question is why ad execs at Jimmy Choo think something like this would possibly sell shoes. A 2008 study by Stop Street Harassment shows that 99 percent of women say they’ve experienced some kind of street harassment, and you’d be truly hard-pressed to find a woman who enjoys it. Even if the comments aren’t overtly sexual or are complimentary, very few women seek to bring this kind of attention into their lives. Sure, Delevingne looks great and appears to be feelin’ herself, but if all Choos are going to get me is wolf-whistles and street meat, I’ll spend my hard-earned cash elsewhere, thank you very much.

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