Dolce & Gabbana has managed to piss off quite a few people over some comments its designers made about what constitutes a family. In an interview with Italian magazine Panorama, Domenico Dolce expressed that he felt having a family was not in the cards due to his sexuality. “I’m gay, I can not have a child. Life has its natural course, there are things that must not be changed. And one of these is the family.” Quite a traditional sentiment coming from someone you wouldn’t think would share the same ideas as say, a right-wing conservative from the Bible Belt. “You are born and you have a father and a mother,” he elaborated. “I call children of chemistry ‘synthetic children’. Rented wombs, semen chosen from a catalog.”*
These controversial comments did not come without some backlash. Elton John led the charge against the designers by posting a strongly-worded criticism of the pair for their views to Instagram. Elton is a father and took to the social media outlet to defend IVF as well as his family’s structure, before vowing to never wear any of Dolce & Gabbana’s designs in the future. “How dare you refer to my beautiful children as ‘synthetic,” he wrote. “And shame on you for wagging your judgemental [sic] little fingers at IVF – a miracle that has allowed legions of loving people, both straight and gay, to fulfil [sic] their dream of having children. Your archaic thinking is out of step with the times, just like your fashions.”
Several celebrities mirrored Elton’s outrage by commenting on Twitter with #BoycottDolceGabbana. Families with IVF children also took part in the tweet storm by posting photos of their adorable “synthetic” babies.
This isn’t the first time the designers have outraged people. From gang-raped themed ads to racist collections, they’re known to provoke, as blogger Nicolette Mason pointed out.
Now, Dolce & Gabbana is rightfully backtracking on its comments, saying that the designers were just expressing their personal opinion, as opposed to criticizing couples who choose “unnatural” methods of conceiving and embrace non-traditional family structures. “We talked about our way of seeing reality, but it was never our intention to judge other people’s choices. We do believe in freedom and love,” Stefano Gabbana told The Independent. “I am very well aware of the fact that there are other types of families and they are as legitimate as the one I’ve known,” Mr. Dolce added. “But in my personal experience, family had a different configuration. That is the place where I learnt the values of love and family. This is the reality in which I grew up, but it does not imply that I don’t understand different ones. I was talking about my personal view, without judging other people’s choices and decisions.”
The comments were certainly offensive, not only to gay couples, but to couples who can’t naturally conceive. The notion that everything should be done the way nature intended is silly — should cancer patients be allowed to suffer without medication because that’s just how it goes in nature? Obviously not. So it’s strange that the designers would hold such archaic views, especially after the brand put out a collection celebrating mothers and families. They certainly have a right to their opinion, but some opinions, as we know, are better kept private.
[via The Independent, Panorama]
*Note: These quotes were translated from the original Italian source.