Thursday, July 19, 2007

So, the other day as Annie, Maddy, Kirsten, the mentors and myself were looking on the web and discussing the new t-shirt style we would like to get for TVbyGIRLS, the group stumbled onto one of my favorite hot topics as of late-- American Apparel. This LA-based clothing company is sweat-shop free and has managed to make cotton t-shirts sexy and cool. Who wouldn't want guilt free trendy clothing like that?

There is one down side (or maybe it's a positive? i can't decide yet!) to American Apparel, though. Their advertising and website is quite honestly, some of the most blatantly sexualized out there. See, the issue at hand is that their clothing is basic, and they put it on regular people. okay, fairly regular people. and then these regular people are photographed being extremely sexy. Now, should we be applauding AA for using real people as models and not size zero stick figures, or should we be screaming our heads off for them over sexualizing and objectifying women (and men!)?

i am seriously torn.

all images (and my new shirts) from


rebecca said...

This is great Amalia! Thanks for expanding on this conversation.
Question is, how do you (meaning everyone who reads this) feel supporting a company that is being socially conscious in one way but exploiting others in another way?
How do we communicate to this company (and others) that this is a great start but we want more! Is it enough to stop one form of human trafficking while blatantly oppressing others? And though I do appreciate the idea of using "real" people - not models... I have to ask myself... what is "real" if in it's presentation I still do not see someone like myself. And in this case, American Apparel ads, I do not. And though I know they are not professional models, I also know they do not represent what I believe to be a majority of the population and in addition support the oppressing idea that woman physically need to look a certain way as well as be highly sexualized in a demeaning way.
Now a question for myself, how might I change these ads to portray and sell fun, funky and sexy? Hmm, something to ponder but that I believe can be done. Funky, sexy, artistic and tasteful.

Maddy said...

Everything both of you have said makes sense to me. It's as though advertisers don't trust that their product can make an impact unless it's in some sort of extreme. I think that in today's adverising culture when things (sexuality, body type and size) tend to be so exaggerated, companies are afraid to break the mold. In my opinion, they might get more business if they tried the "everyday people" concept with people acting like they do every day. I think that really would appeal to people.

Annie said...

I agree with Maddy here...I think seeing everyday people appeals to me more, because maybe I don't want to look sexy to that extreme. Like Rebecca said, when I see these images, "normal" doesn't come to mind right away. When I see a clothes ad, I'd like to be able to picture myself in the clothes... I want to see everyday people doing everyday laughing with friends, baking a cake, mowing the lawn (maybe not mowing the lawn, but you get the idea) know, something that people can relate to. I don't know, just more...NORMAL??

Casey said...

Okay... here's the thing. Whose idea is it that to be considered pretty you need to be sexy anyway? I think it is more media stuff that tells us we have to be sexy. WHen I asked the boys I know what they find attractive in girls they said things like someone's smile, their eyes, their laugh, being able to talk with them and stuff like that. I can't believe that the boys I know are that different from any others. So... if we settle for merely attractive, they will notice our smiles, our eyes and our laughs. If we dress sexy, that's what they will notice. I think that if we buy their clothes, it isn't the company that is exploiting women. By trying to be sexy, we are doing it to ourselves.

When I buy clothes I want to see how it looks with my other stuff and I want to see other people who have a style similar to mine. How does the absence of clothes sell clothes anyway? I want to look nice. I want to look interesting. I want to look exciting to hang out with. I want to look smart. I do not want to look half naked. I think sometimes it can be sexier or more attractive to be a little more covered up. Half-naked and revealing just looks cheap. Here's a story I heard from a girl I know that explains our question in a different format.

If I made the best brownies in the world and brought them to a meeting - Organic Eggs, hand shaved Godiva chocolate, hormone free milk, etc etc. would you eat them? What if I told you that I included 1 Tbsp of dog poop? Would you still eat it? It's only a spoonful and everything else is so good, why not?