Poster campaign depicts AOC, Michelle Obama and Hillary Clinton as domestic violence victims

Sabrina Barr
AFP via Getty Images

A new poster campaign has appeared in Milan, Italy depicting high-profile women in politics as victims of domestic violence.

Individuals featured in the campaign, which is called “Just Because I Am A Woman”, include former US first lady Michelle Obama, German chancellor Angela Merkel, US congresswomen Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez and former US presidential candidate Hillary Clinton.

The doctored images, which were created by Italian artist AleXsandro Palombo, include a message that reads: “I am a victim of domestic abuse. I am paid less. I’ve experienced genital mutilation. I do not have the right to dress as I want. I can’t decide who I’m going to marry. I was raped.”

Palombo explained in a statement that he wished “to illustrate the drama that affects millions of women throughout the world... with the aim of denouncing, raising awareness and obtaining a real response from institutions and politics”, according to the BBC.

While some have praised the artist for his work, others have criticised him for digitally manipulating the faces of globally-recognised individuals.

People walk past ‘Just because I am a Woman’, a new series of works by Italian artist aleXsandro Palombo, depicting women in politics as victims of gender violence (AFP via Getty Images)

“This is extremely troubling,” one person wrote on Instagram. “These faces are not yours to manipulate.

“Please raise awareness for domestic violence without desecrating the image of powerful women.”

The person added that while they admire Palombo’s “artistic ambition”, they believe he should “abide by feminist principles” when promoting women’s issues.

Another person expressed their staunch disapproval over the campaign.

“As a domestic abuse survivor I am appalled!” they said. “You use THESE women for their political/celebrity clout. You could have used REAL women survivors, but I guess that wouldn’t have garnered the notoriety these women would.

“Just another way or perpetrating the abuse of REAL abuse victims... IGNORING US.”

The artist previously worked on a campaign in which he portrayed Disney princess with disabilities.

In 2015, he created a series of digitally-altered images of celebrities including Kristen Stewart and Angelina Jolie as victims of domestic violence, with the tagline: “Life can be a fairytale if you break the silence.”

When asked by The Independent to comment on the criticism, Palombo said he chose to include political figures in his work “because it is an issue that must be taken seriously by the political world and therefore my invitation to these powerful women to unite and act”.

“I chose these women because they represent accomplished and committed women, a point of arrival and they are symbolic in the fight for gender equality,” he stated.

Palombo emphasised the impact violence against women has across the globe, adding that “politics must become an example and respond more forcefully through laws that guarantee fast and efficient justice”.

The Independent has contacted domestic violence charities Women’s Aid and Refuge for comment.

You can contact the 24-hour National Domestic Violence Helpline on 0808 2000 247.

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