Shameless. That’s what I thought when I read the recent interview with Italian fashion designers Domenico Dolce and Stefano Gabbana in Italy’s Panorama Magazine. Not only were the legendary designers’ comments ill-informed, their comments were also mean-spirited and close-minded. And in case you’re thinking they made shameless comments about fashion or the fashion industry, you’re wrong. The Italian duo was talking about babies born through IVF calling them, “synthetic.” Ironic, coming from two guys who have made millions selling clothing to women who don’t need it.
For the record, Dolce and Gabbana are gay. They’ve been in a relationship with one another for years. They’re also notoriously outspoken opponents of gay marriage. I’m not going to debate why that’s wrong. I personally believe that every loving couple has a right to be legally married, but I recognize that not everyone feels the same. But it’s their comments about children, adoption, and IVF that I find shameless and insulting to all parents and to all children.
See, the design duo didn’t just say they thought children born from IVF were synthetic they said, “We opposed gay adoptions. The family is a traditional one.” Dolce went on to say, “You are born to a mother and a father — or at least that’s how it should be. I call children of chemistry, synthetic children. Rented uterus, semen chosen from a catalog.” Later Gabbana said, “The family is not a fad” as if to imply anyone who has a baby through IVF is doing it just to be trendy. As if endless shots, miscarriages, and hormonal surges are the equivalent of fall’s latest trends.
As a mother of two children, I’m horribly offended. No, I didn’t have either of my children through IVF. And no, I’m not gay nor am I in a gay marriage. I’m a married, heterosexual woman who got pregnant naturally, but I’m offended by anyone who wants to categorize children and refer to them in the pejorative.
Defining a family as traditional, and categorizing traditional as better, is incredibly unkind and insulting to every child and family who doesn’t fit the Dolce & Gabbana traditional family model. Are adopted children synthetic? Are children of divorce not traditional and somehow not as good as children whose parents are still married? Are babies born to gay couples not valuable because they aren’t in classically traditional families? Because the truth is, there is no such thing as a traditional family. There is just a thing called family. It doesn’t matter how you get there, it just matters that you’re a part of a family.
Singer Elton John, who is the father of two children born through IVF, is outraged and insulted and vows never to buy Dolce & Gabbana again. His hashtag #BoycottDolceandGabbana is currently trending with a veritable Instagram battle between John and the Italian designers erupting online.
I’ve never really thought that celebrities, including fashion designers, had to sign up to be role models just because they work in the public eye, but I’m siding with Elton John on this one. As a parent, I don’t ever want to hear that my children aren’t as valuable as someone else’s just because of the way they were conceived. So I too, won’t be buying Dolce & Gabbana. I prefer to buy my clothes from designers with better family values. And to me, the greatest family value is kindness. Being close-minded and ignorant is totally out of fashion.