Celebrities are people. People have opinions. Opinions differ. Differences cause conflict. That is a cycle everyone is aware of and engages in. We know that when we express an opinion, there might be room for conflict. Somehow, Dolce and Gabbana did not realize this when they called in vitro fertilization babies synthetic.
In a recent interview for an Italian magazine, Domenico Dolce called IVF children “chemical children, synthetic babies” to which Stefano Gabbana added that “families are not a fad” because “in it, there is a natural sense of belonging.” Elton John, who has two kids with his husband through IVF, started a Twitter trend to boycott D&G clothes because of their “archaic thinking.” The outrage exploded, where celebrities and people alike expressed severe distaste for Dolce and Gabbana’s comments.
Dolce and Gabbana are famous personalities, and whether we want to admit it or not, they have possession of a voice that is much stronger than, for example, a college freshman’s will ever be. Strength has consequences. If I met someone who had an opinion at all similar to what they have, I would be outraged. I would tell my friends what this person thinks, and overall, I would think that he is not as understanding or accepting of a person. I would not be able to a start a Twitter campaign, but I would make sure people knew his way of thinking. In other words, I would boycott him.
In his grandiose manner, Elton John did just that. He warned us on the character of these famous personalities and made us weary of their attitudes. However, is it right to urge boycotting D&G apparel because of a personal comment made by them?
Obviously, clothes are not made with the ideological and social beliefs of a person, but an image is. In a world fueled by how people perceive other people, words can make or break a brand, a person, even an institute. D&G clothing is always revered, but given that humans think, D&G will not always be appealing. Dolce and Gabbana are the faces of an enormous enterprise, and with great power comes great responsibility — the responsibility to protect the company’s image.
The only way an image succeeds is by being devoid of controversies because people have opinions, but brands should not. What Dolce and Gabbana forgot to realize is that they symbolize a brand, and when they do, they need to abstain from opinions. This is not urging famous people with brands and images to maintain to be robotic and quiet, but it is urging them to see the difference between a personal opinion and a public statement.
Opinions matter, not only in content, but also because of the aftereffects it can create. To express an opinion can sometimes be considered an art form, and while Dolce and Gabbana excel in the art of making clothes, they are failing in the one of developing opinions. Baffled by the outrage, Stephano Gabbana Instagrammed an image with the words “Je Suis D&G,” equating the horrific Charlie Hebdo incident to his menial Twitter debacle with Elton John. While understood that all he means is that everyone should have freedom of speech, he distastefully develops his opinion around an attack people are still not over. Constantly, Dolce and Gabbana are choosing to draw opinions in a manner that hurts, disgusts and repels.
Celebrities are people, and people have opinions. Opinions matter, and because they do, it is imperative to execute them appropriately and intelligently. Dolce and Gabbana did not only fail to do so, but they also tainted the brand they have created. Elton John wants to advocate boycotting Dolce & Gabbana, but I believe that the first boycott we should all engage in is the boycott of disregard. We need to realize the importance words have and the implications of what we say and when we say it. This is not about freedom of speech. It is about quality of speech.