2013 10/05

Abercrombie & Fitch likes skinny chicks. Who cares?

As long as I can remember, the world has never been void of pressures for people to look a certain way. From beautiful baby contests to competitions that tell you if you are model-material. From magazines that feature air-brushed actors to stores that sell “skimpy & sexy” and market them as “trendy and cool”. And this week has gone by with no exception.

Unless you’ve been avoiding all forms of media this week, you’ve already heard the uproar around Abercrombie & Fitch, a clothing store that has been known for the racy ads, seductive store images, and obscene amounts of cologne & music oozing from their store fronts. If not, let me give you the quick & dirty version — In 2006 (that’s 7 years ago, mind you), the CEO of Abercrombie & Fitch was quoted as saying stuff like A&F targets the “cool kids” and not everyone should be wearing their clothes (i.e. “fat chicks”). {I paraphrased. But you can read the 2006 Saloon.com article for yourself.}

A lot of people have had reactions about this article and you can read them all over Facebook and the blog world. But here’s mine. Who gives a shit! Who gives a shit about what one clothing company says or the audience they are targeting? Honestly, there is SO much wrong with that clothing store and their CEO. A grown man who thinks it’s “cute” to put a 12 year old in a thong that says “Eye Candy” obviously has some issues.

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But all this press is doing exactly what the company & CEO wants — they are getting pushed to the forefront of the press and people’s thoughts. I have to wonder…why is it that an article that was published 7 years ago is being talked about now?

I’m not excusing A&F’s actions or the CEO’s words and I’m not trying to push aside the ever-important discussion of body-image. I’m just trying to figure out why this is causing such an uproar now. A&F has never marketed to to the average size person. Just look at their ads. They store images. The half-dressed (and sometimes not-at-all-dressed) models are size 2 or below. It sucks but that is totally their right. They have a right to create the clothes the way they do and market the way they do.

This is true with any store. My husband can’t shop stores like Express Men. Despite that he’s a pretty average size guy (a bit tall), the clothes just don’t fit him. So he chooses to move on and find other stores that do cater to his size and style. I can’t regularly join my friends in enjoying a big dish of ice cream from that delicious ice cream shop downtown because of my lactose-intollerance. Does that mean that the ice cream shop should change their menu and offer lactose-free options? No. It’s their right to serve the food options they want.

A&F has the right to offer the clothing styles and sizes they do. But we have the right to not support them. Don’t go into their stores. Explain to your kids why you don’t shop there (besides the fact that are grotesquely over priced). Stop giving them press. Because, guess what, even negative press can be good for a company.

Instead of spending the energy and efforts complaining about this one company and this bat-shit crazy CEO, use that energy to spread positive campaigns that teach young girls and guys to be healthy. Love their bodies. Embrace their flaws. Love themselves. This is why I love companies like Dove! They are doing great things to support natural beauty and encourage girls!

Let’s search out the companies that are making an effort to support young (and old) men and women. Who are making an effort to teach kids it’s about being healthy, not skinny. About loving yourself, not idolizing an image in a magazine. That a beautiful character and attitude is so much more valuable than a sexy body.

And then let’s all hope that Disney joins this movement and does not move forward with their rumored make-over of the lovable, unruly, wild-haired Merida.

Left: rumored Merida make-over. Right: original Merida.

Left: rumored Merida make-over. Right: original Merida.

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