Boycotting Dolce And Gabbana: Gays Becoming What They Once Hated Most

After centuries of oppression, Gays have finally achieved the right to openly be who they are as long as they don't piss of Elton John.

After centuries of oppression, Gays have finally achieved the right to openly be who they are as long as they don’t piss of Elton John.

Stefano Gabbana and Domenico Dolce are Italian fashion design superstars, meaning that I pay no attention to them whatsoever, and don’t understand the priorities of anyone who does. Nonetheless, they have a rich and famous international clientele.. The two men were once romantic partners, but no longer; how they are just business and artistic partners, and continue to thrive.

Their thriving, however, has suffered from a self-inflicted setback. In an interview with the Italian magazine Panorama, the pair declared their lack of support for same-sex families with children created by in vitro fertilization.  “I am not convinced by those I call children of chemicals, synthetic children,” Dolce told the magazine. “Rented uterus, semen chosen from a catalog.” Gabbana added, “The family is not a fad. In it there is a supernatural sense of belonging.”

The Horror: a non-conforming opinion from prominent gay fashion icons! Can’t have that! Lapsed pop superstar Elton John, who has two sons through in vitro fertilization with his husband, David Furnish, took the remarks as a personal attack and proclaimed a boycott of the Gabbana & Dolce label. “How dare you refer to my beautiful children as ‘synthetic,’ ” Mr. John wrote on social media. “Shame on you for wagging your judgmental little fingers at I.V.F. Your archaic thinking is out of step with the times, just like your fashions. I shall never wear Dolce & Gabbana ever again.” Thus was born the hashtag #BoycottDolceGabbana.”

Victoria Beckham, Courtney Love, Ricky Martin, Martina Navratilova and other celebrities—almost nobody but celebrities and millionaires can afford this stuff—condemned the fashion label on Twitter, joined Sir Elton’s crusade, and threatened to burn their Dolce & Gabbana apparel. When actress Zoe Saldana dared to say that it was “stupid” to make fashion choices based on a designer’s opinions on matters unrelated to fashion, and that—she is really getting out on a limb here—“People are allowed to [have] their own opinion.”

“Well that’s certainly a laid back approach to confronting hate speech!” snarked the perpetually hateful feminist website Jezebel. More on target was the response of the besieged designers to Elton John, in which they compared him to the Charlie Hebdo assassins and called him a fascist. A bit excessive, I would say, but their central point is on the mark. There is a metastasizing strain of intolerance and mandatory conformity in the gay and feminist communities that is ugly, anti-democratic and hypocritical.

Especially gays. 出る杭は打たれる, say the Japanese: Deru kui wa utareru, or “the stake that sticks up gets hammered down.” All those decades fighting for the right to sing “I am what I am!’ in the words of Jerry Herman’s anthem, and now, apparently, the gay community is falling into the trap Friedrich Nietzsche warned against, that“He who fights monsters should see to it that he himself does not become a monster.”

There was nothing hateful about the opinions expressed by the designers. They did not declare hate for anyone or any practice. Nothing says they have to toe any ideological line regarding in vitro fertilization–not ethics, common sense or law. Is theirs a dumb opinion? Sure: this is pure “ick factor” all the way down. It’s not “synthetic life;” it’s life. Children are real regardless of how they are conceived. Okay, the fashion designers are incompetent bioethicists: so what? Argue with them, educate them, or persuade them, but to set out to destroy them for having a different point of view than their customers is coercive, vindictive, censorious, unfair, a Kantian breach, a Golden Rule violation and a tacit endorsement of totalitarian tactics: the use of power to enforce conformity of thought.


Sources: New York Times, Jezebel, NPR

Graphic: Chaos

47 thoughts on “Boycotting Dolce And Gabbana: Gays Becoming What They Once Hated Most

  1. I think there probably is an amount of harm done to the child here. Referring to them as ‘synthetic’ might infer that they are less than human. And maybe I’m inventing scenarios, but I can see at a future date where the process is less expensive and more mainstream, idiots standing on the sidelines waving signs that say “God Hates Synths.”

    It fails Kant, we need to start from the point of accepting everyone’s shared humanity first, and if we can’t even agree with that, we’re in a bad place. But you’re right, this perpetual outrage machine that we live in has to stop, and maybe that means that we have to grow a little skin collectively, and not sweat the little things.

    • HT, there are a million things every one of us can read somewhere that will hurt our feelings. It will benefit the child greatly if he learns not to take abstract statements as personal, something that he’s obviously not going to learn from Elton Dad. Nobody said he was less than human.

      • I don’t disagree that this shouldn’t have been as big a deal as it is. And I probably would have filed it under “little stuff not to be sweated”. But “I am not convinced by those I call children of chemicals, synthetic children” Does kind of sound like you’re calling the kid less than human.

        Parents have a duty to protect their children. If instead of calling the kid synthetic, he called him a fag, would a bad reaction be understandable? And how is that different? I understand Mr. John’s reaction, even if I think it’s inappropriate, and I wouldn’t have done it myself.

          • Does that really make a difference? Serious question. Is “God hates fags” softer than “God hates you, because you’re a fag”? It’s less personal, sure, but should there be less offense taken?

            • There was nothing about hate in the team’s quote, just personal preference. No, I think “God hates fags” isn’t abstract. “I think the idea of babies without parents is icky,” however, isn’t in the same category. If I say “I don’t think professors should date their students,” that doesn’t mean I can’t have a good relationship with a specific couple that meets the description. I can say “I don’t like lasagna,” but oif you make great lasagna that I haven’t tasted, you don’t know that I don’t like YOUR lasagna.

              • It’s not the child’s fault when one or both of its parents are either irresponsible or criminal and allow it to be born illegitimate. Nevertheless, just or unjust, there’s a stigma attached. How much more stigma must a child suffer if it has been artificially conceived for the custody of two male homosexuals who say they’re “married”? No, the child is not less than human, for the sperm and the ovum which united to begin him was human, as was the womb that bore him. Not the child here, again, but the so-called parents. They are the ones who are less than human. Bore by a mother-for-hire and destined to be a political showpiece for these two creatures and, God help us, other things much worse. Such is the nature of deviants with children in their hands.

    • If I could collect a dime for every time I’ve heard nasty generations from “compassionate” people about “fat lazy kids” “God botherers” “rednecks” “fembots” “c—s” “neckbeards” “whitebread” people, “flyover states” “thugs” “inbred hillbillies” “fatasses” “jesus freaks” “bums” “trailer trash” and “retards”…

      Hey, get in line with everyone else, fags and synthetic children.

  2. The Federalist has been running a number of very moving opinion pieces by “synthetic children” and the issues they have to deal with.

    I’m glad to see someone is making these arguments from someplace other than my more theoretical perspective, although I do have an adopted daughter and have had some experience with what adoption does to a person. I just think there’s a lot more to this issue than “ick factor.” I’m just not enthused. I just don’t think having kids out of catalogue is a great idea. I think there’s a great deal of self-indulgence involved on the part of the consumers of this technology. I just think it’s wrong and unethical.

    Golden rule application: Would I like to be the kid in school who has two mothers who take me to the park every few months to play with the other kids I have absolutely no interest in being with but I have to because they have the same father in the sperm bank catalogue and my parents and their parents think we should be happy together? No, I would not. If I were a lesbian, I’d find other ways to occupy my time and satisfy my emotional needs. I might dote on my nieces and nephews (the way my late, great “maiden” aunt did).

    • There are interesting family court verdicts coming down about 3-parent custody type cases, and such. If I’m not mistaken some sperm donors have won partial custody. There’s precedent because biological fathers have always been regarded as rightful fathers, even if they’ve been absent…but it’s jarring that a man who was brought into a business transaction by selling sperm could have a claim on children he did not intend to raise even for a moment. You’d think that in the past, a deadbeat dad may have at least been invested at one point in a family, but failed in that commitment and could be granted a “second chance.”

      It’s a snowball effect stemming from the separation of romantic love from children/family. Adults have sex and shack up or marry if it fulfills them, and have kids if THAT fulfills them…but see those things as separate arenas. Hence there is no family cohesion, just individuals acquiring significant others and/or children the way you acquire a hobby or pet. To feel good.

  3. I’m of mixed feelings on this one — although I am certain that I don’t care a fig about D&G or Elton John. I do agree that banning D&G seems extreme — it should be banned on the sole ground that it is ludicrous to pay $5000 for a purse! But I digress….

    People need to accept all people as people, and not question lineage, race, gender, etc. It is both humiliating and dehumanizing to the target individual.

    Case in point.

    Women can be banned from sports because their bodies might naturally produce higher levels of testosterone? But we don’t ban athletes who are genetically born with longer limbs, larger rib cages, etc.? This is sick in my mind.

  4. I’m definitely an armchair QB on this topic, but here I go anyway: the only thing I haven’t really gotten over my ick factor yet is where they are researching how to make 1 baby from 3 DNA samples. i.e. 2 fathers and 1 mother. However – I’m not that far from surmounting that mental block when it’s used sparingly between a couple and they’re replacing defective DNA to cull a hereditary genetic disease.

    There’s a whole spectrum of reproductive medicine and science that does give off the ICK factor but I know there’s a place for it. I wonder if they have clarified their comments in any way. Are they supportive of gay men using their own sperm and only picking an egg donor? Or are they against all in vitro but only for “impossible situations”? Or are they against in vitro for straight couples too who are trying to increase their success odds of becoming pregnant?

    • The real question though isn’t Ick Factor…it is cold hard science. A science we don’t know enough about.

      Evolution has manged to “figure out” that wide ranging genetic diversity leads to a relatively self-correcting system. If we start selecting the genes we want to pass on due to apparent desirable traits, then we honestly, given our level of understanding, don’t know what genes we are leaving out that nature “knows” we may need later on.

      How does that affect the ethical analysis?

      • Well, these guys don’t strike me as having based their opinion on a thorough study of the genetic diversity issue: for them, it’s pure “ick.”

        I don’t think it changes the analysis at all—maybe it bolsters it. They just said they don’t like the idea. If it turns out they happen to be right and there’s a genuine reason to object to it, it would really be wrong to beat up on them for an opinion, but it’s wrong anyway.

          • I agree with them, insofar as the larger argument about what kinds of family units are beneficial/harmful to society. I don’t think it’s unethical to have an “ick factor” either, if you’re just saying, “I feel like this is icky.” But using the phrase “synthetic children” is all that’s unethical to me no matter what, because the poor children have no say in any of this, are as valuable and honorable as any other human life, and even if you do object to the circumstances of their birth, it only means they deserve extra sympathy and not to be disadvantaged by labels.

            Then again, was the interview in Italian? Maybe there’s a translation thing I’m missing, where “synthetic children” comes across more clinically and less like “fake children?”

  5. It should not come as a surprise that after years and years of fighting the fighters don’t know what to do with themselves when the fight is over, or take the fight to the next logical step, which involves clearing away all those who opposed them. The Spanish spent 700 years+ (711-1492) clearing the Moorish conquerors from their land, in what’s probably the longest war in history, even longer than the Hundred Years’ War (actually lasted 114 years)or the Crusades (1099-1291). When Granada fell there was no longer an external, local enemy to fight, and the Catholic Kings set about remaking their nation in their image and faith. Previous kings, including the arguably greater crusaders Ferdinand III, Jaime I and Ferdinand XIII, had been tolerant of both Jews and Muslims who chose to remain in the reconquered realms, but no longer. Unfortunately the expulsion or liquidation of the non-Catholics destroyed the middle class and made Spanish thinking sclerotic and unreceptive to new ideas, ultimately resulting in the UK and France displacing Spain as the premier power in the world two centuries later and their empire in the New World crumbling a century after that as new ideas took hold there.

    Let’s also not forget the USSR, now almost forgotten a quarter century after the fact. After the Red victory in the Russian Civil War Lenin and Dzerzhinsky spent years purging the unlike-thinking from everywhere, and Stalin took the process Up to Eleven and spread it to Eastern Europe. Seventy years after the Bolshevik triumph, the whole thing collapsed, even Gorbachev’s conservative acceptance of new ideas and restructuring weren’t enough to stop the fall, only to slow it down.

    The emerging intolerance on the American left, particularly virulent among the militant gay community and its allies (as well as those who use them for political pawns) probably won’t even last seventy years, but in the meantime a lot of careers will be destroyed and lives ruined simply because someone said something, or was thought to have said something, that pissed off the wrong people.

  6. The views and conclusions of this post are most surprising to me. I first heard of the Italians’ ignorant remarks from a neighbor whose sister and brother-in-law — the normally amiable parents of two of the over 60,000 children born annually in the U.S. via IVF, (the total increasing by about 2,000 annually – hitting a 35-year total worldwide of 5 million in 2012 ) — were incensed by the reports which they received as HAVING NOTHING TO DO WITH GAY COUPLES but everything to do with stigmatizing both themselves and their offspring. My neighbor and I had spoken about various methods of reproduction some years ago when I was still active in the health care profession. She said she would pass along the information but that they weren’t even comfortable talking about it with other couples in the same situation. They had already gone through the derision and disgust over Octomom and that exploited family of multiples who had a tv “reality” show; they knew others going through the procedures who found their sex lives subjected to scrutiny they weren’t able to answer (how do you answer gossip and sniggering?) and the men, in particular, found their virility was called into question and made fun of. Considering the stress level that couples endure just for the medical procedures (not to mention the finances) — which can be doubled in stigma for a gay couple — I don’t think it unnatural that they feel that their families are being attacked viciously at a most intimate and vulnerable point.

    In other words, there are hundreds of thousands of people who are not gay who are subject to being “outed” if they speak up — their sex life twisted into something unnatural, their childbearing made to seem mechanical, by extension their ability to be good parents becoming doubtful in the eyes of the media reader/viewer. Not to mention being connected by (possibly dread) association with gay or lesbian marriages. Whether they’re happy to let Elton John fight the good fight for them in the spotlight remains to be seen. My neighbor thinks they will continue to seethe in silence.

    Zoe Saldana is not defending anyone’s right to an opinion, by the way — if you listen to the end it turns out that she just doesn’t think D&G’s remarks should affect her fashion choices. In other words, she likes the clothes and doesn’t give a damn what comes out of the miserable minds and nasty mouths of her favorite couturiers.

    As far as the feminist extremists go, they’re going to yell hate as long as black people are going to yell HUDS. People who go over the side to port or starboard tend to have a limited vocabulary.

    I disagree completely that there is a “metastasizing strain of intolerance and mandatory conformity” in the gay community. Far from it. In fact, the idea of community has in recent years become looser and more widely dispersed than ever before, having come together primarily for safety in the first place, and having already had a tradition of independent thinkers and acters, non-conformists and rebels bred of alienation and rejection by family, peers, and the world-at-large. (More LGBT people were/are either neutral or dead against same-sex marriage in the first place — “why copy a failed model?”) Its leadership is virtually nonexistent; its spokespersons (like John) either voluntary and single-issue, or narrowly localized. It’s been a good quarter of a century since any particular part of this diverse group could gather enough members to circle more than one wagon at a time. What you are hearing is mainly static, the noise of the media shoving microphones and cameras in the faces of — as named above — Celebrities-With-Opinions. And websites lying and vying for Friends in the aether.

    For proof of the political pudding, I offer the formal chartering of the 38-year-old gay conservative group, the Log Cabin Republicans, by the California Republican Party a couple of weeks ago (vote 861-293). Membership began growing a day later. Who knew there was another closet behind the closet??

    • If Zoe says that a designer’s opinions on bioethics shouldn’t make people try to put them out of business if they still design nice clothes, then she’s agreeing that a political/social opinion should not be a cause for a campaign of personal and professional destruction. It’s just an opinion. They aren’t organizing a lobbying group with the money they make. This is Chic-Fil-A all over again, or the Mozilla chief.

      How is it a good fight? How are the team’s comments to an interviewer in Italian a personal attack on anyone? By this logic, no one can say that it’s irresponsible to smoke pot, to approve of unmarried pregnancies, to have large families you can’t pay for, to have abortion after abortion, to let your 15 year old daughter go to parties looking like a hooker, without risking an uprising and material attacks. Hold that climate change is hyped and we don’t know nearly enough to start strangling industry? GET HIM! He’s a menace to the environment! Hold that Obamacare’s a mess??? Boycott his business! My third cousin’s illegitimate daughter would be destroyed without the health care subsidies! It’s hate speech!” Say that Social Security needs to be scaled back? He hates old people! Run him out of town!

      You can’t have free speech if there are vigilantes who don’t bother to defend words with words (often because they don’t have the understanding or the data) and leap right to bullying.

    • Don’t speak for me. Elton John doesn’t. If I opted for IVF to have a child, no one would be able to make me feel ashamed by saying bad words about my choices.

      There’s this thing called “courage of convictions.” People who know that they aren’t doing anything wrong generally don’t throw tantrums when someone questions their choices. If I adopted a child (which makes 1000% more sense than IVF from every angle) do you think I would be bothered by people having a problem with THAT? Beyond just shaking my head and going on with life?

  7. > Okay, the fashion designers are incompetent bioethicists
    Oh, just like real bioethicists!
    Sorry for the snark, but recently I had a conversation with a doctor on transplant ethics and couldn’t let this one go. 🙂

  8. the italians are saying “it s not a natural family like the one we grew up in”
    I can see their POV. Who is Elton to have deprived the children of the loving ministrations of a female parent ? We are entitled to a mom & a dad, we may not all receive that but should we go out of our way to take THAT away from children? Elton John strikes me as selfish, HIS needs come before the children.

      • No, the other option was for Elton John to simply adopt some already existing children who needed a good home, as humans have been doing for eons.

        • That was HIS other option. His current children, however, didn’t have that option. Hey, I’m with you all the way: after all, that’s what my wife and I did. I think the mania about having your own genetic material in your kid at the sacrifice of immense funds and the life of a kid whose life you could save is narcissistic and bats.

          • So as long as there are children in squalor in the world that can be adopted, making children of your own (even the natural way) is automatically narcissistic and bats?

            I can see the exemplary ethics of adopting instead of procreating because you could help a child in a miserable situation. I don’t see the negative ethics of making one yourself while those conditions exist. Last I checked procreating one IS less expensive than adopting.

            • I assumed that it was stipulated that the discussion did not include parents who have children the old fashioned way. I think arguing that this, as opposed to adoption, is unethical would be a radical position indeed. Even so, if I did, and I was a fashion designer, I would not be attacking every natural parent in the world as well as their naturally conceived children.

            • oops. I was agreeing with Jack. The choice in discussion is between adopting and synthesizing (because you can’t because of basic biology). Adopting vs. a guy impregnating his wife and their having a child together is also a worthy issue. I failed that ethics test. My wife and I had our son rather than adopting. I only adopted my daughter who was born to my wife and her abusive, paranoid schizophrenic, first and ex-husband. And the counter argument a gay person would make would be “Why do I have to adopt a used kid with who knows what undisclosed genetic or behavioral problems when I can gin up my own? That’s not fair.”

        • What makes a mother? Genetic material or lived experience? Nature or nurture? Do adopted children know naturally that their genetic code isn’t derived of their parents? Are loving adoptive parents somehow less able to fill that role? I think your focus on natural motherhood is misguided at best.

          • you miss the gist of my post, a female parent & the entire panoply of the
            experience that comes along with that has been eliminated from the lives of these children & this was done deliberately. If you cannot appreciate that then perhaps you did not enjoy a relationship with a LOVING adult female parent who comforted your tears, took care of you when sick, went to your bedside when you had a nightmare, made you a hot chocolate when you came in cold from the snow. Moms have wonderful ways about them that cannot be duplicated by a dad.

          • BTW I am not talking about (your term) “natural” motherhood (what ever you mean by that) an adoptive
            FEMALE parent obviously fills the role of mother too
            There is a disconnect with you & Jack Marshall, I am discussing having a
            FEMALE parent in the life of a child NOT egg donors

            • Mary, the children were created by an egg donor, not a mother. EJ doesn’t know who the mother is. The mother doesn’t want his child. The child that exists exists because EJ and his partner chose IVF, and would not exist otherwise. The man is gay. A mother is not in the cards. He’s rich as Croesus so he had a custom designed child, whom he cares for well, by all accounts. THIS child could not possibly have a female parent.

              I have no idea what you think you are saying, or how it has relevance to the post.

  9. All I can say is: Gee, this must be some more of that TOLERANCE that I’ve heard so much about. Practice what you preach, kids, practice what you preach.


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