A butcher in Australia is generating plenty of controversy across social media after literally treating a woman like a piece of meat.
Darren Gerrand of Lancelin in Western Australia, teamed up with photographer Kym Illman to photograph a nude woman lying alongside the meat offerings in his refrigerated display case. In the photo, the model posing is painted with lines indicating where her “flank,” “rib” or “breast” meat is located-- much like cows or chickens on a butcher chart.
Illman explained to Vice that the shoot was the brainchild of both himself and Gerrand, although the model was the one who came up with the idea for the paint lines “after she spotted a poster in the store with beef cuts marked on the cow."
The photo, which was taken in February, was first posted to the town of Lancelin’s official Facebook page last Thursday, where it was deemed “a curious sight.”
Critics, however, are calling the photo offensive and degrading to women, with one local resident claiming she’ll “never support this business again,” and another simply calling it “disgusting.”
On the other hand, many commenters took the opportunity to dissect the message of the photograph, or, in some cases, defend it.
Illman has since told Vice that the project was simply “a great social experiment to see how people would react,” but Jasmine Sanders, an online branding expert and the CEO of Acent-cy Online Marketing, thinks it was staged purely for publicity.
Sanders told Fox News she believes the photo was likely “an appeal to get potential customers and media in the store,” and the idea to sell it “as some new social media campaign … probably worked well.”
“This type of branding stunt reminds me of something you would have seen in National Lampoon magazine,” she added.
Ironically, this exact type of “stunt” has been used by Peta in their “All animals have the same parts” campaign. But in Peta’s case, the message was decidedly anti-meat consumption.
“This is a page right out of PETA's playbook," the organization wrote in a statement to Fox News.
"Just ask Pamela Anderson, who stars in this ad mimicking a butcher's diagram. Animals are thinking, feeling individuals who are made of flesh, blood, and bone — just as human beings are — and none of us wants to be killed, chopped up, labeled as this or that cut, and sold in cellophane."
Illman, meanwhile, tells Australia’s North Coast Times that he believes most Facebook commenters saw “the funny side” of the photo, regardless of the backlash.
“It means whatever you want it to mean,” said the photographer.