As you drive down PCH, enjoying the ocean breeze and the view of Topanga State Beach, your eyes can’t help but lock on the huge American Apparel ad emblazoned across the storefront. The ad features two girls at the beach in skin tight and probably extremely uncomfortable swim suits that accentuate their thigh gaps.
This is the image shown to people as the ideal, perfect girl — the allegedly, everyday American girl. This is not ideal. No image shown at American Apparel is ideal.
American Apparel recently launched a new campaign in Britain called “School Days” that objectifies schoolgirls by showing a girl bent over a car. Let that sink in for a moment. This so-called wonderful company, obsessed with fair trade and sweatshop-free clothing, is committing a horrible injustice: They are dehumanizing women.
Just look up a few American Apparel ads. The women in these ads are misrepresented. They are not showcasing the clothes (or lack thereof) they are wearing. They are being used only for their bodies. The main ideal these ads showcase is sexism. And I’m not just saying this from my feminist point of view. These ads that are supposed to showcase fashion simply highlight the objectification of women.
Women are not body parts. The model in the photo is shown with her underwear and short skirt on display. Want to know what is not on display? Her face and the rest of her body. With these facets missing, she is no longer a person, the model becomes only a body part. This advertisement spread has been banned in the U.K by the Advertising Standards Authority.
On Sept. 3, an investigator of the case against American Apparel said in a press release, “We considered the images were gratuitous and objectified women, and were therefore sexist and likely to cause serious and widespread offense.”
It’s as simple as that. This ad objectifies women. However, it’s not just this ad. Many ads objectify not just women but men also. Sexism and objectification go both ways, and this needs to stop. It’s 2014, and we are still selling products based off the idea that the more skin shown or the more provocative the model’s pose, the better.
People say that sex sells. American Apparel obviously heard this and ran so far with it that they passed the mark of flirtatious advertising long ago and have descended into blatent obscenity.
Personally, I am tired of seeing this. Why can’t intelligence, talent or kindness sell? People are so much more than individual body parts. The American Apparel ad could have gone a different way. This girl in this skirt could’ve been at school, surrounded by friends and laughing. She could have been studying or spending time with her family. As a girl who wore a uniform skirt to an all girls Catholic school for four years of high school, this portrayal of “School Days” is completely inaccurate and just sad. Come on American apparel; find your class.
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