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Dana Perfume

October 10th, 1997

Dana Perfumes
3 Landmark Square
Stamford, CT 06901

To Whom It Concerns:

This letter, written by educators, members of Eating Disorders Awareness and Prevention, and parents, aunts, uncles, and sisters of adolescent women, is sent in response to a recent magazine ad for “Fetish” cologne. This ad was published in a magazine insert in the Oregonian newspaper. In this ad, an adolescent woman wearing an orange bikini top and heavy, pink eye make-up has a vial of “Fetish” hanging from the center of her bikini top, and text written across her chest reads “Fetish #16: Apply generously to your neck so he can smell the scent as you shake your head ‘no.'”

We are extremely displeased at this advertisement, and request that you remove it immediately from magazines, newspaper inserts, and your web-page. This ad perpetuates the dangerous myth that girls and women mean “yes” when they say “no.” The ad also suggests that it is acceptable, even socially desirable for women to send this type of mixed message. The text of your ad is replete with unhealthy messages for young women and men. The text communicates that a woman’s voice should be ignored, that a woman who wears certain clothing or uses certain cosmetics has given her permission to be violated sexually, that women want to and may enjoy being violated sexually; the ad also suggests that a woman who claims she was violated sexually could be lying about the experience– after all, she could have enticed her attacker by saying “no” but wearing perfume that said “yes!” The model in your ad is a thin, 13 or 14 year old who has been dressed and made up to look like an adult. The model’s red-rimmed eyes may be the result of make-up, but they could just as easily be the result of drug use (i.e., “heroin sheik”), starvation, or physical assault. Together, the photograph and the text of this ad present an extremely harmful message that undoes what countless citizens (like us) and organizations (like those we represent) are trying to accomplish–to raise young women who accept and appreciate themselves because of who they are what they do, not because of how they look and how capable they are of attracting men.

How ironic that this destructive, misogynist ad appeared in the same magazine that contained a poignant cover story on bulimia–a serious eating disorder that is characterized by self-destructive binge eating and purging in response to an all-encompassing obsession with weight and appearance. Another irony is that researchers find that many women who develop eating disorders have a history of being sexually abused. I wonder how many of these young women said “no” but were interpreted to mean “yes?”

We request that you discontinue this advertisement and others like it. We will not buy any of your products while it is running, and we will discourage our colleagues, relatives and friends from doing so. If you and/or your staff would like to discuss this issue with the principal author of this letter (Lori M. Irving), she may be reached at (xxx) xxx-xxxx, or via electronic mail at….


Lori M. Irving, Ph.D.
Assistant Professor, Psychology
Coordinator, EDAP-SW
Aunt of one teenage girl
Lisa Morrison,
B.S., Psychology
Member, EDAP-SW
Douglas Baker, Ph.D.
Professor of Business
Father of two daughters
Kris Bluett
Associate Director, Tears of Joy Theatre
Member, EDAP-SW
Allison Korpinen
Graduate student in Counseling
Member, EDAP-SW
Kristine Graff, R.D.
Southwest Washington Medical Center
Member, EDAP-SW
Rebekah Schenck
High School Senior
Member, EDAP-SW
Sister, one teenage girl
Valerie Kelley, R.D.
Providence St. Vincent Hospital
Member, EDAP-SW
Beverly Walker
Clark County Substance Abuse
School Nurse Advisory Board
Member, EDAP-SW
Mother of two daughters
Arlene Anderson, R.N.
School Nurse
Member, EDAP-SW
Ronda Cannon
Undergraduate Psychology Student
School Nurse Advisory Board
Member, EDAP-SW

November 14th, 1997

Lori M. Irving Pd.D
Assistant Professor, Psychology
Washington State University
14 204 NE Salmon Creek Ave

Room CL208-R
Vancouver, WA 98686

Dear Ms. Irving:

Further to our telephone conversation of November 6, 1997, here is the letter I promised you in response to our “Fetish” fragrance advertisement.

We have recently learned that certain advertising employed in connection with our recently launched “Fetish” fragrance has offended some who have seen it. Please be assured that no offense or insensitivity was intended.

Dana Perfumes sincerely regrets any impression created by these advertisements that it is insensitive to the concerns and best interests of its customers. As the nation’s second largest manufacturer and marketer of mass-market fragrances, we attempt to maintain the highest possible standards of quality and care regarding the integrity of our products and the welfare of our customers. We are always mindful of the sensitive issues that can be raised by beauty industry advertising, and we did not believe that any ads used in connection with the “Fetish” fragrance launch were in poor taste or were insensitive to the issues that are important to our potential customer group.

We have been contacted, however, with the concern that, despite our best intentions, some of these advertisements do not live up to the standards that we attempt to maintain. Consequently, and effective immediately, Dana Perfumes is canceling its use of the subject advertisements. While some use of the advertisements may continue temporarily in magazines that have already been printed and promotional materials that have been utilized, no further use will be authorized.

We want to apologize to anyone who may have been offended by these advertisements, and offer our thanks to those who took the time to contact us. We will redouble our efforts to ensure that our products, advertisements and other marketing materials represent the highest standards of our industry. We firmly believe that our customers and partners deserve no less.

Yours Sincerely,

Lynne Myers
General Manager
Dana Perfumes Corp.