December 7, 2013
Nude “Coffin Girl” Calendar Sparks Controversy
Death is a touchy subject. It’s a curse that all of humanity bears, a great unknown that everyone is going to have to face one day. Death always brings with it loss, leaving a great hole in its wake. Understandably, it’s one of the most difficult issues that we as humans have to tackle. It brings with it a certain gravity, and that which comes with carries with it a great weight. A deathbed request becomes a lifelong promise. Lost soldiers are immortalized on memorials and walls. Heroes and tyrants become history. The dead, though they cannot hear or speak, are among the most honored and respected.
It is for this precise reason that coffin manufacturer Lindner Coffins has found themselves in hot water recently, after releasing a calendar full of nude women posing with … their products (SFW). Women with cars? Sure. Women with coffins? Um … not so much. All necrophilia jokes aside, there’s a powerful cognitive dissonance that comes from seeing images of sex and death juxtaposed. These are two of the most primal, powerful elements of the human life, and seeing them thrown together in such a way is … unsettling, to say the least. It seems crass, disrespectful, and utterly distasteful. The Catholic Church in Poland officially decried the calendars and demanded the sales halted.
I think tact is important for anyone, doubly so if you’re interacting with the general public on a regular basis. Regardless of personal views on sex and death, it seems the kind of thing that would obviously cause a storm of negative PR. Sure, all the negativity is still giving them attention, which is exactly the kind of thing a business would want, but is it worth the inevitable excrement storm? Apparently Lindner thinks so. Now one could play Devil’s Advocate and ask why we give death so much power over us. By treating it with such a horrific severity, we only reinforce its inevitability. Death is a natural part of the world, and though the loss of a loved one is difficult, it need not be something we anguish over. Some advocates of the idea have suggested that such a stance is the first step towards defeating fear. Further, it would appear as though the sales of the calendars are being used to fund charity work, and while that may simply be a red herring that the manufacturers can point at to prove their benevolent intent, it does pose a difficult question for dissenters.
Personally, I think they should find a different way to raise funds. While I can appreciate respecting death as a part of the natural way of things, there are still social conventions to take into account. Seriously. All fancy rhetoric and metaphysical debate aside, it’s just plain creepy and more than a bit disrespectful. Sure, sex sells, but there are some places it simply doesn’t belong.
And here’s the link to the calendar preview. Warning: Not Safe For Work!
Image Credit: Lindner