Tuesday, February 2, 2010

American Apparel Hits Rock “Bottom”

American Apparel has such a history of sexist ad campaigns that we’ve often wondered if their marketing team is made up of teenage boys lacking creativity and common sense. But their latest endeavor takes the cake. American Apparel is looking for the best bottom in the world to be the "face" of their new ad campaign. They're inviting girls to upload pictures of their butts to the website (wearing AA underwear or body suits, of course) and then asking people to judge the submissions with a score of 1-5 and the option to add snarky comments. It’s low budget and lowbrow. For girls, however, it’s high stakes.

Here's their invitation: "Confident about the junk in your trunk? Show us your assets! Post a photo of your booty's best side for judgment. We're looking for a brand new bum (the best in the world!) to be the new "face" for our always expanding intimates and briefs lines. The winners will be flown to LA, photographed and featured online. Send in a close-up photo of your backside wearing American Apparel panties, bodysuits or briefs for consideration and vote for your personal favorites."

Geez, American Apparel, try listening to girls instead of objectifying them. As Thalia, age 19, says, “You don't need to exploit us to benefit your company. Someone that is a CEO should have more common sense, don't you think?”

We do.

So, here’s our reply – grow up and get someone on your marketing team who’s got some brain cells and some principles. Sign our letter to AA’s CEO and Corporate Relations people to add your name to the protest.

Joseph Teklits and Jean Fontana, Corporate Relations
Dov Charney, CEO
747 Warehouse St.
Los Angeles, CA 90021

Dear American Apparel:

The sexualization of women and porn-inspired media have infiltrated the everyday culture of the youngest girls. According to the 2007 APA Task Force on the Sexualization of Girls in Media, the negative impact on girls and women is indisputable: the sexualization and objectification of girls and women in media wreak havoc on our psychological, emotional, cognitive and relational lives.

Your recent campaign is a perfect example of the insidious ways marketers and media promote sexualization and body obsession as “girl power.” American Apparel is directly and unconscionably undermining girls’ healthy development by equating confidence with looking sexy, winning with being judged on their appearance, and personal value with 15 seconds of fame. The objectification of girls’ and women’s bodies is a real concern in a country where 1 in 4 women is a victim of violence, and sexual harassment is rampant. This ad campaign invites girls to self-objectify, inviting girls to post pictures of just one body part, and inviting others to comment and rate it is demeaning and dangerous.

By launching this campaign at a time when sexting is in the headline news, American Apparel is literally placing girls in jeopardy of prosecution by inviting them to post highly sexualized images of themselves online.

Don’t insult us with the usual defense: this is not real girl power; this is not just girls feeling good, making choices or feeling confident in their bodies. American Apparel is selling girls for parts, and we’re not buying.

Add your name to the letter today!

Now, consider this:

A 3-pack of underwear from American Apparel costs $24.

We're willing to bet that not only will you probably find a better deal elsewhere, but you'll sleep better having purchased your skivvies somewhere else, too. And, if you want to sleep really well:

Here's what Hardy Girls could do with that $24:
Encourage girls to see the world of options that exists for them without having to show their underwear.

Please, consider investing your $24 in girls, with a gift to Hardy Girls Healthy Women.

We promise we won't sexualize, objectify, or otherwise demean your sisters, mothers, aunts, nieces, or friends. In fact, we will work toward a better world for all, one where women are valued more for their beliefs and brains than they are their butts.

Donate $24 to Hardy Girls today and see the returns in a better world for girls.

Support HGHW


Pigtail Pals Melissa Wardy said...

Hi Hardy Girls, Healthy Women!

My letter of disgust was signed, sealed, and I only wish I could personally deliver! Thank you for spearheading this Girlcott. You have the support of Pigtail Pals - Redefine Girly one hundred percent!

And kudos to young Thalia mentioned above, who is very astute and brave to stand up for her sisters.

Jackie_Jardine said...

I have signed, sent and shared this with others. This is truly sick. Instead of encouraging girls with a body-positive message, American Apparel entices young girls to involve themselves in exploitation indicative of child pornography. So in short, AA acts as a corporate pimp, using women and girls to make money.

croyex said...

You know, I would have liked to sign, but I find that I am unable to because it was assumed that only people from the US would want to sign the letter. I'm from Puerto Rico, and I can't let American Apparel know what i think about this campaign.

Funny how this group is complaining about something and finds itself guilty of something else.

Jen Cole said...

Considering their latest ad campaign plastered all over Facebook, I'm sadly not at all surprised.

hrdygrlz said...

hi croyex - sorry you had trouble with the petition website. it's a third-party service we're using and we didn't realize this limitation in the service.

however, you can still email the letter to dov@americanapparel.com and info@americanapparel.com OR send the letter via snail mail to:

Dov Charney, Corporate Executive Officer
Joseph Teklits and Jean Fontana, Corporate Relations
747 Warehouse St.
Los Angeles, CA 90021

thanks for signing on!!

-hardy girls

Cynthia B. Demented said...

Working in the advertisement world myself, I am appalled by such means to exploit women and teens!!! It is SO LOW of American Apparel to even THINK of this scheme. Disgusting. I'll join the rest of you who signed the letter and I'll blog about it too. This "campaign" has to be stopped. And actions and consequences should be taken upon AA and other company of the like.

Michele said...

I am sickened by the portrayal of women's sexuality being the ONLY thing powerful about them! See If I buy those durn drawers!

Patty said...

The AntiPorn Activist Network is working on a response to this separately. Email us at antiporn_activist@yahoo.com if you want details.

Gwen Sisto said...

Wow, such a sleasy way to get girls to buy a $24 pack of underwear. We should be empowering women with academics and athletics. I'm working on doing so throguh my weightlifting equipment company- www.ristosports.com ...and encourage other entrepreneurs to do so =)

hrdygrlz said...

Hi everyone! We've switched our petition over to http://www.ipetitions.com/petition/americanapparel/ so that our friends outside the US can sign on. Spread the word!!

Noah said...

Your very first sentence talks about sexist campaigns, and uses it to make a comment on males. Why is sexism only wrong if it goes in a particular direction?

Lillie said...

Hi everyone, I posted this page to a group I made today on facebook called "American Apparel is TERRIBLE" so I could try and get the word out about the exploitation this company does to women. I would like it if anyone who is interested would join, I am very passionate about sexism and the pornographic nature of these adds and the messages they send to todays youth and young adults.