Here is an interview with Jennifer Berger, executive director of About-Face, an organization which equips women and girls with tools to understand and resist harmful media messages that affect their self-esteem and body image.
About Face have an ongoing campaign against American Apparel, check out the interview with Jennifer here.
We love the demands that About-Face have made of American Apparel:
1. That sexually exploitative advertising ends altogether in all points of purchase on the website and in stores
2. Dov Charney – CEO of American Apparel – hires a marketing consultant for one year to relaunch the brand in a way that is more friendly to women
It is important that we are aware of American Apparel as this brand is now being sold in Australia. Recently as I perused the clothing in Trade Secret, I grabbed a few items that I thought looked good. I checked out the tag and when I saw that it was American Apparel, I put the items back. In this case, the items themselves were fine – in fact I was keen to purchase if they were suitable. However I will not purchase American Apparel because of the way they objectify and degrade women in their advertising.
American Apparel uses images inspired by pornography in their advertising. Women – often their young staff members – are posed and photographed in ways that draw attention to their body parts or imply sexual activity.
Checking out their Australian website, I find they are also selling pornographic magazines alongside their clothing. Not sure why I’m surprised.
In the US, residents in Manhatten made repeated complaints about this American Apparel Billboard. Finally someone plastered it with graffiti, writing “Gee, I wonder why women get raped.”
Of course, women are never responsible for rape. However the constant portrayal of women as objects of sexual recreation, contributes to a culture where rape is more likely to happen. In her award winning films on the portrayal of women in advertising – Killing Us Softly – Jean Kilbourne makes the point that objectifying someone is almost always the first step in justifying and committing violence against them.
The Bottom Line here is – don’t buy American Apparel and ask your friends to join you in boycotting them. Help create awareness by sharing this article, or joining the facebook group That’s Enough American Apparel. Women and girls deserve a lot better than the constant representation of them as objects of sexual recreation. You might choose to let American Apparel know what you think of their marketing by contacting them here.