After Dolce & Gabbana called the singer's children "synthetic," he responded in the best way possible.
Titans of the fashion industry Domenico Dolce and Stefano Gabbana (better known as Dolce & Gabbana) made a powerful enemy over the weekend after referring children born to parents via in vitro fertilization (IVF) as “synthetic children."
“No chemical offsprings and rented uterus: Life has a natural flow, there are things that should not be changed. 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."
Soon after, Elton John took to his Instagram account, tearing into the famed designers. "How dare you refer to my beautiful children as 'synthetic.'"
In doing this, the hashtag #BoycottDolceGabbana was born.
How dare you refer to my beautiful children as "synthetic". And shame on you for wagging your judgemental little fingers at IVF - a miracle that has allowed legions of loving people, both straight and gay, to fulfil their dream of having children. Your archaic thinking is out of step with the times, just like your fashions. I shall never wear Dolce and Gabbana ever again. #BoycottDolceGabbana
A photo posted by Elton John (@eltonjohn) on
"How dare you refer to my beautiful children as 'synthetic.' And shame on you for wagging your judgemental (sic) little fingers at IVF — a miracle that has allowed legions of loving people, both straight and gay, to fulfil (sic) their dream of having children. Your archaic thinking is out of step with the times, just like your fashions. I shall never wear Dolce and Gabbana ever again. #BoycottDolceGabbana"
Almost instantly, he was joined by celebrities, LGBT individuals and allies, children born through IVF, and parents who have had children through this method.
"Degrassi" actress Aislinn Paul chimed in, coming forward as an IVF baby.
She was joined by parents of children born via IVF.
One man swore off the brand after noting that he was twice adopted.
Another pointed out that lobbing what was sure to be viewed as an insult to LGBT parents was a slap in the face to many of the brand's most ardent supporters.
Since the first baby was born via IVF in 1978, more than 5 million children have come into the world through the method.
Statements like the ones put forward by the designers are more than simply a comment of personal choice; they're a condemnation of the existence of millions of babies born via IVF, a criticism of the parenting skills of the loving couples who have adopted or undergone fertility treatments, and — as saddening as it is — dismissed LGBT people as unfit parents. IVF is not a new concept, making their comments seem that much more outdated.
This, however, isn't the first time Dolce and Gabbana have chimed in on the topic.
In 2005, the two posed for a "family photograph" on the cover of Vanity Fair. Gabbana told the magazine he wanted to have children but added, “I guess you cannot have everything in life."
The following year, Gabbana elaborated on his position, which stayed mostly under the radar. At the time, it seems as though he was in favor of IVF, noting that he had asked an acquaintance to act as a surrogate mother.
"My dream is to have a baby, not to adopt one because I am not up to it and I don't feel strong enough. I want my own child, a biological child, the fruit of my sperm, conceived through artificial insemination because it wouldn't make sense for me to make love to a woman I don't love. The person I love today is my partner so I am looking for a civilized and refined woman. A week ago I asked a dear friend of mine, who is twelve years younger than me, if she would help. I asked her 'Would you like to be the mother of my child ?' She was left a bit shocked and the following day telephoned and said she was still shocked but thought it was a great idea. I am opposed to the idea of a child growing up with two gay parents. A child needs a mother and a father. I could not imagine my childhood without my mother. I also believe that it is cruel to take a baby away from its mother."
The designers have since attempted to sidestep the backlash by offering statements of clarification, though the damage may have been done.
"We firmly believe in democracy and the fundamental principle of freedom of expression that upholds it," Gabbana said. "We talked about our way of seeing reality, but it was never our intention to judge other people's choices. We do believe in freedom and love."
"I'm Sicilian and I grew up in a traditional family made up of a mother, a father and children," Dolce added. "I am very well aware of the fact that there are other types of families and they are as legitimate as the one I've known. But in my personal experience, family had a different configuration. That is the place where I learnt the values of love and family. This is the reality in which I grew up, but it does not imply that I don't understand different ones. I was talking about my personal view, without judging other people's choices and decisions."
The designers absolutely have a right to express themselves and their opinions, and those who disagree are free to take their business elsewhere.
Families come in all shapes, sizes, and configurations. While Dolce states that he learned "the values of love and family" through "a traditional family made up of a mother, a father and children," the views expressed in their recent interview do cast aspersions on others' choices and decisions. Freedom of expression doesn't mean that others are in any way required to stand by as their loved ones are insulted. The boycott of Dolce & Gabbana is just as much an expression of free speech as the original comments, themselves.
There's always time to change, and as Dolce & Gabbana have done before, their views on this subject may shift as the years pass. They still might come around on this issue. Until then, though, you can't really blame Elton John and others for taking umbrage at blatant disrespect and dehumanization being projected onto their loved ones. True love and family — the very concept Dolce & Gabbana claim to uphold — means standing up for your loved ones when they come under fire, and Elton John is showing himself to be the type of wonderful parent the designers don't believe he can be.