Think American Apparel Isn't Sexist? Maybe This Will Convince You

Still on the fence about whether American Apparel's advertisement is misogynist or not? Maybe this sideshow will convince you. They say a picture is worth a million words. In this case it's worth a million feminist male gaze theory-gasms.

After discovering some vast differences between the way the company was advertising its unisex clothing to women and men, a Swedish fashion blogger, Michaela Forni, decided to take matters in her own hands.


Source: Emanuel Hanglund via Business Insider

To illustrate the small difference between the way the male and female models are represented on the website, she decided to do a satirical photo-shoot showcasing the same types of poses but by reversing the models' gender. Forni, who works for a Swedish clothes company called PM.se, got her coworkers together to plan the project.  

"We wanted to do the exact same thing they did, but with the opposite gender," Forni told the Local. She wonders why many people react to a man with his bare butt in the air, but no one is outraged when they see a woman doing the exact same thing.  "People say, 'Ew, you can't have those images.' But when women are portrayed similarly, no one reacts," she said. Why? 


American Apparel views the roles of women and men in its advertisements very differently. It portrays men as active and full human-beings while it shows women as passive sex toys. One is consistently dehumanized while the other is not. One gets to be showcased as a subject and the other purely as object.


Same shirt, very different position. 

The worst part is that everyone is able to recognize that American Apparel has a woman problem, except for American Apparel. The company told the Huffington Post that they have zero regrets.

"As a company, American Apparel is very sensitive to gender and sexual issues, just as we have been to issues like immigration and gay marriage."

"We don't think there is anything in these photos out of synch with our standards and we think they portray the garments and the models in an attractive way and are not even the slightest bit discriminatory. Clearly we'd never seek to upset anyone and we're sorry to anyone who is upset."

It's depressing that a company that prides itself on its progressive stance on gay marriage and immigration, can have such a backwards approach when it comes to the representation of women. Just because the naked women are wearing flannel shirts, it doesn't make it any less misogynist. It's hipster sexism, and it's gotta end.

Tweet your outrage to American Apparel and don't forget to use the hashtag #NotBuyingIt.

Here's a sample tweet: @Americanapparel stop turning women into sex objects. Until you change your advertisement, I'm #NotBuyingIt.

For more updates on this story, follow me on Twitter: @feministabulous

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Elizabeth Plank

Elizabeth is a Senior Correspondent at Mic and the host of Flip the Script.

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