H&M's latest slogan 'I Love GBV' sparks protests over acronym's association with gender based violence

  • According to the United Nations, gender-based violence affects one in three women worldwide

  • Even if accidental, the tagline is an unconscionable celebration of gender-based violence, Heather Barr pointed out

  • However, as of 11 November, the items that featured the tagline were still listed for sale on H&M's website

Women's rights campaigners have unleashed protests against the fashion giant H&M's use of the slogan 'I Love GBV' for its latest collection, as this is a widely used acronym for gender-based violence.

According to a Reuters report, H&M has said that the tagline was an abbreviation of the Italian designer Giambattista Valli and any other associations were unintentional. The slogan is emblazoned on hats, a necklace and boxer shorts with a red heart symbolising the word 'love.'

 H&Ms latest slogan I Love GBV sparks protests over acronyms association with gender based violence

H&M products sporting the 'I Love GBV' tag have sparked protests due to the acronym's association with gender-based violence. Image via Twitter

Women's rights activists have demanded that the products be withdrawn and it would be 'crazy' to keep selling them. Reuters quoted Heather Barr, the women’s rights division co-director at Human Rights Watch as saying, "This is not an obscure term. It’s very commonly used as a shorthand for gender-based violence." Even if accidental, the tagline is an unconscionable celebration of gender-based violence, she added. According to the United Nations, gender-based violence affects one in three women worldwide.

As of 11 November, the items that featured the tagline were still listed for sale on H&M’s website.

In its first collaboration with Valli, the Swedish retailer, known for its ready-to-wear and haute couture pieces, had launched the clothing line on 7 November. In an email to the Thomson Reuters Foundation, H&M spokesperson Hacan Andersson said, "We condemn any type of violence, and as a value driven company, we believe in an inclusive and equal society."

"By coming up with this line in the first place it demonstrates the lack of awareness about women’s rights," Barr said. "The right thing to do would have been to remove them all and apologise."

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Updated Date: Nov 13, 2019 12:37:16 IST