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Vice Magazine Sticks Its Head in the Oven of Good Taste

By Courtney Enlow | Think Pieces | June 18, 2013 |

By Courtney Enlow | Think Pieces | June 18, 2013 |

“Suicide. It’s so beautiful, you guys.” — the most dangerous thought that can occur to a person / a gleefully accepted suggestion in Vice’s last content meeting.

Well, as you may have heard by now, Vice, in its latest Fiction issue, decided to create an entire fashion spread dedicated to female authors who’ve committed suicide (and Dorothy Parker because she ded, whatevs). Each meticulously staged photo was complete with fashion credits (you, too, can purchase the stockings Sanmao used to hang herself! Wear them with a cute herringbone skirt!) and the death details of each author (but not, like, mentions of her work or anything unnecessary like that, because all that matters is live fast, die young, literary girls do it well, I suppose).

I don’t want to shock you. But pretty pictures depicting the suicides of severely ill women who left a legacy of much more than death did not sit well with the internet.

Only after the firestorm (about fourteen hours of it) did Vice make the goodhearted sacrifice of pulling the images from their website.

“Last Words” is a fashion spread featuring models reenacting the suicides of female authors who tragically ended their own lives. It is part of our 2013 Fiction Issue, one that is entirely dedicated to female writers, photographers, illustrators, painters, and other contributors.

The fashion spreads in VICE Magazine are always unconventional and approached with an art editorial point-of-view rather than a typical fashion photo-editorial one. Our main goal is to create artful images, with the fashion message following, rather than leading.

“Last Words” was created in this tradition and focused on the demise of a set of writers whose lives we very much wish weren’t cut tragically short, especially at their own hands. We will no longer display “Last Words” on our website and apologize to anyone who was hurt or offended.


As always, it only seems like a good idea to pull the offending piece after an internet shitstorm. Also, it’s still in the published magazine, so enjoy the suicide, I guess.

I mean, I don’t have to say things like “as someone whose family has been affected by suicide blah blah blah” right? I don’t need to point out that for young artsy teens who go through life unable to fit in, the idea that suicide is somehow poignant is incredibly dangerous and this photo shoot literally glorifying its glamour is horrifically negligent? I don’t need to point out that a spread that basically says “Elise Cowen jumped out a window. Buy these shoes for $600!” is really fucked up, right? Cool. Just making sure we’re on the same page.

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