Maxim Korea's New Cover Is Sickening

September issues are traditionally the most important of the year in magazine publishing, and editors do not choose the concepts for them lightly. This year, for their September cover, which features actor Kim Byung-ok of Oldboy and Sympathy for Lady Vengeance fame, the Maxim Korea team decided to go with the theme of the "Bad Guy." Pensive stare, check. Sleek ride, check. James Dean pompadour, check. Cigarette in hand, check. "What is our brooding antihero missing?" the room full of tastemakers who plotted the cover's creative direction must have asked themselves. "Oh, we've got it — let's put a female model in the trunk of the car and show only her bound, naked legs, implying that our bad guy is so bad, he actually killed a woman and stuffed her into his trunk before pausing for a casual cigarette break over her lifeless body." Nailed it.

The cover text elaborates on the visual message, reportedly translating roughly to "Women like bad guys? This is a what a bad guy looks like. Dying for him, right?" You know what, Maxim? Not so much. We can get down with a man in a leather jacket, but somehow violence against women isn't our idea of sexy. A petition by Korean women imploring Maxim Korea to "Stop sexually fantasizing about crimes against women" is gathering speed, having gained nearly 10,000 signatures so far today. The petition points out that Korea ranks a depressing 117th out of 142 countries on the World Economic Forum's Global Gender Gap Index 2014 — and that imagery glamorizing this gap at its worst is unacceptable.

And, with 35% of women worldwide estimated to have experienced intimate partner violence or non-partner sexual violence in their lives, it's not as if the abuse of women is country-specific. So drive your cars, smoke your cigarettes, and gaze intensely into the distance, "bad guys" of the world, but stop using women as props in the mythology of your supposed badassery. Let alone dead props stuffed into trunks.
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