American Apparel is a clothing store with a reputation of having some raunchy, pornographic, suggestive ads. Great Britain has banned many of their ads because they felt the women looked too young to be posing the way they were. (1)

Being topless with tights in a seductive pose is a more tame advertisement.  enhanced-buzz-11490-1365611871-0(5)

The two ads above are selling tights. If you look at the ad portion of the poster/page you can see what they are trying to sell. For some of their ad’s we cannot figure out exactly what American Apparel is trying to sell us. For example, the following ad is for American Apparel jeans. When you look at this ad, does your mind go straight to ‘jeans’? Because mine doesn’t. Instead everyone is focusing on the naked women rather than the tiny portion of the ad that has the jeans in it. Screen Shot 2016-06-11 at 8.17.37 PM(5)

This next one leads to the same question, but there is nothing that the picture is trying to sell.This advertisement actually features the CEO of the company on the right. Dov Charney was actually fired as the CEO of his own company because there were many allegations of sexual harassment, including incidents involving naked pictures of women.(2) Charney was ultimately fired because he refused to attend any sexual harassment trainings after the many complaints and lawsuits filled against him.

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After reading about the CEO, Dov Charney, I realized that this company is purely based on sexualizing teenage girls to get customers to buy the products. Every advertisement that google brought up in their image base had some sort of sexual pose. I get that they want customers and the are in severe debt, but sexualizing young women like this is seriously wrong.

In the readings for this week about media representation I found it interesting that there were two articles based on skin color. The first one I read was “A look at how the media writes women of color” by Victoria Law. This article kept introducing more and more examples of how not only women, but also women of color are misrepresented in the media. I also wanted to write about the American Apparel Ads because it made me happy that a lot of different races were represented in their advertisements. Of course they were in provocative positions, but none the less it was not just white women. Women of color have been written off in the media in a different light and I do appreciate that American Apparel ads don’t. I am not happy about the following ads because of the sexualizing nature, but these are two ads that came up with women of different races and I wanted to put that in here because it is important.

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American Apparel Ads have shifted, like many things, over time. As I was reading through an article I found titled “The NSFW History of American Apparel Ads”(3) I started comparing what the article was saying to what the woman in the documentary “Killing Us Softly” (4) was saying. The company started printing more provocative ads in the 2000s. Jean Kilbourne wrote three different documentaries on the evolution of advertising and one was put out in 2000, the top of the slippery slope that American Apparel was on.(5)

In her documentary, Jean Kilbourne brings up that she has been talking about this for over 40 years. She has been lecturing, writing, producing many things to try and show the world how women are being portrayed by the media. She says nothing has really changed besides the fact that she is not alone in this anymore. There are so many organizations that are dedicated to rebranding women and men in the media so that they are not sexualized.(4)

Jean continues to talk about the educational force that advertising has on everyone, not just young minds.(4) No matter our age or gender, there will always be an ad for something that is directed towards you. Jeans that just “look so good on short people” or “if you put this cologne on you’ll have 50 girls surrounding you” or “age defying” makeup. Ads make us want to buy things, or look a certain way and they always will because that is what they are supposed to do. The women/men in the ads are so tan and toned and look like they have legs that go on for miles, but that is the beauty of photoshop and the perfect lighting and the makeup artists standing 5 ft away to fix any flaws there might be. We just need to remember that it isn’t real.

RESOURCES:

  1. https://www.asa.org.uk/
  2. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Dov_Charney#Dismissal
  3. https://bitchmedia.org/post/how-media-writes-woc-or-doesnt-twitter-conversation
  4. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=n-08qnL_Okw
  5. http://www.esquire.com/style/mens-fashion/g2442/american-apparel-ads/

 

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