A club night has been heavily criticised after using an advertisement which pictured a semi-naked woman being seemingly pinned down with a male fist in her mouth.
The woman in the poster, which promotes the Supermax night at the Berkeley Suite in Glasgow, is seductively licking the clenched fist while lying on the floor with one breast exposed.
Although the night took place last weekend, students and feminist groups want the picture removed from social media and existing posters taken down within the city. Since publishing this article, HuffPost UK has learned Glasgow City Council will be launching an investigation into the advertisement.
Supermax says it 'embraces the positive value of controversy'
Lisa Rosebud from Supermax posted a message on its Facebook account calling the request to remove the image "censorship" and saying it had "always embraced the positive value of controversy".
Stacey Devine, NUS Scotland women’s officer, said the poster was an outright sexualisation of violence against women.
"It’s ridiculous to say that calls to remove images like these is somehow restricting free speech, or imposing censorship," Devine said.
"That’s just the easy way out of admitting why images like this are so distressing to women, and facing up to the harm that they cause. This isn't about finding ‘offence’, it’s about recognising that images like this trivialises the very real violence that far too many women still face, and will be hugely distressing for the countless survivors of that.
“We want to have our absolute right to safety and respect protected.
"If clubs who feel the need to advertise with images like this genuinely wanted to ‘address difficult realities’ like violence against women, then they would understand why this image has caused so much hurt and distress.
"They have utterly failed to provide a defence of why this image was needed or what it represents, if not the sexualisation of violence. That speaks volumes.”
Nadia Alnassa, president of Glasgow University's student feminist society called the poster "disgusting".
"It shows a really worrying trend of clubs using domestic violence, sexism and misogyny as advertising material. It's gone from sex sells to violence sells."
Female collective TYCI wrote an open letter to the events company and its "deeply troubling" image.
"This poster also sexualises the act of violence against women – this is morally reprehensible," the letter read. "It is risible and pretty disgusting that Supermax and the Berkeley Suite promotes an image like this and uses it to sell their product."
Scroll to the bottom of the article to read the response in full.
According to TYCI, Supermax designs its own posters instead of using an outside agency.
Under picture posted on the club's Facebook account, one woman asks: "Why the hideous poster of a man punching a women's face?" while a man responds: "Good question."
Another, Freya Gosnold, writes: "It's sexualised violence. It is a major problem, between men and women, in both directions, and also between same sex couples and people of the same gender who aren't couples. But violence against women is the most common form of sexual violence, and it is also the kind of violence depicted here."
Billy Woods, the man believed to be behind the design of the poster, joined in the conversation, writing: "We feel under absolutely no obligation to dignify TYCI with a direct response given that their main goal has been to try and discredit what we do by attempting to create a public shit storm..
"I think it’s important to clear up that we feel under absolutely no obligation to dignify TYCI with a direct response given that their main goal has been to try and discredit what we do by attempting to create a public shit storm over something that could and should have been resolved amicably by contacting and dealing with us directly."
A spokesman for Glasgow City Council said: "A licensing standards officer has been asked to investigate and will seek a meeting with the licence holder for the premises to discuss this matter."
Supermax's response in full:
"Supermax have always embraced the positive value of controversy and encouraged diversity of opinion through the use of artwork. We stand for freedom of expression and support the free exchange of ideas and opinions fearlessly. If this results in opening up the possibilities of addressing difficult realities then we see that as a positive.
"Via an open letter there has been a call for censorship motivated by the insinuation that Supermax is promoting violence towards women through the use of an image.
"The image in question, like any image is open to interpretation and we accept and respect everyone’s opinion. We believe everyone has the right to voice an opinion, but that doesn’t necessarily make it hard fact. Expression should not be limited just because an organization, community or individual is offended by it’s content. In life we are all sometimes exposed to things we personally might find offensive, insulting, outrageous or vulgar. To accept freedom of expression for ourselves we all have a responsibility to accept freedom of expression for others. Unfortunately, this can often be used as a vehicle for attack by organisations, pressure groups and individuals who want to impose their personal moral views on other people.
"To avoid any confusion we would like to state that it is not Supermax’s intention to promote violence against women and are not of the opinion that the image does. The reality is Supermax have always believed in equality and human rights for all and will continue to do so. Supermax is a safe and welcoming environment for people of all gender, race and creed.
"We would like to take this opportunity to thank everyone who has shown us support both privately and publicly over this issue."