June 29, 2010

Why American Apparel Sucks

Interview: Jennifer Berger on About Face and American Apparel

Originally posted at Feminist Frequency. Cross-posted with permission.

For full post, related articles and transcript, click here.

Aditional links provided by Feminist Fatale:


  1. I’m glad I stumbled upon this today. I was debating whether or not I should buy some infant hoodies from AA in bulk to start my little craft business. Although I was purchasing infant items, I’d hate to give into a company that makes women look like that. To tell you the truth, I have never seen any of these ads before. Maybe I should pick up a magazine or something one of these days to keep in the times. ;/

    Comment by Shary Lopez — July 1, 2010 @ 11:20 am

  2. American Apparel’s disgusting ads are everywhere, well in Los Angeles they are.
    What is more bothersome about AA is that the company stands in two conflicting camps. A few years ago, I listened to an interview on the Uprising radio show on KPFK of Dov Charney where he talks about his workers not working in sweat-shop conditions, getting paid a living wage, and playing a bigger role in the company. AA also has posted banners to “legalize LA” in the case of progressive, humane immigration reform. But on the other hand, they have ads exploiting the female body. I was not even aware that they displayed porn magazine covers in their dressing rooms. One or two years, I noticed that all the ads I came across featured young women of color who look like they could be under-aged. They had the “barely legal” appeal on top of exotification, on top of general exploitation of the female body is very common with AA’s ads. I found one ad in a magazine where the model, standing with her legs spread had a white fur-lined skirt hovering just covering her vagina, and her hand between her legs. This was the most exploitative ad I’ve seen. In the video I am seeing more young White female models. Exploitation is not blind to race. Exotification adds an additional dimension in which “the other” is believed to be more sexualized, therefore less human. Sexual exploitation should not happen to anyone of any race, but this additional dimension of exploitation had not been mentioned, so I wanted to bring it up. Their ads really make me sick. I am pleased to see a campaign against these ads.
    Also, a friend told me that Dov Charney started masturbating during an interview. This post just got me going with this guy. Here’s an article about another sexual harrassment lawsuit against him: http://motherjones.com/mojo/2008/06/dov-charney-doesnt-mean-c-word-pejoratively, and another reason why women, and people of color should really think about using derogatory words as terms of affection!

    Comment by Nayla — July 22, 2010 @ 6:23 pm

  3. Thanks for your comments. @Nayla, we actually have a new post on AA coming out in a few days that covers many of the issues and concerns you discussed in such a thorough and articulate manner. That new post does mention racial exploitation specifically and the piece is based on an AA employee’s personal experiences at the company. Thanks for bringing up these issues!

    Comment by Melanie — July 22, 2010 @ 6:45 pm

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