American Apparel: Back to School Controversy

American Apparel as featured previously on my blog is yet again using shock tactics and sexualised images to promote their company and products. Dov Charney the founder who was dismissed previously for sexual allegations and misconduct has been re-hired as a ‘consultant’, surely the man who has various sexual harassment cases against him shouldn’t be re-associated with the company if they want to get away from the negative image which he has portrayed onto them.

American Apparel Back to School

The latest campaign which has caused outrage comes from the ‘back to school’ range and promotes a ‘School girl’ fantasy which can be linked to pornography, the image has reportedly been removed from the site now (I found it on Google) which leads you to think if it is just an innocent campaign then why remove it?

It can be assumed that the model is of the consensual age but it’s hard to tell when you cant see her face… Back to School is often aimed at under 16’s so it could be argues that this is promoting the sexualisation of children which cannot be justified. “Peter Bradley, from Kidscape, said: ‘It’s something we find abhorrent. It’s about using underage pornography to sell products and the sexualisation of children, which cannot ever be justified.”

We’ve all heard the expression ‘sex sells’ but that should never be used to promote anything to do with children or schools.

American Apparel- Schools Out
April 2014

Another advertisement taken directly from the American Apparel website was used to show that the school term had ended, the young girl in the advertisement can clearly be shown on a bed which again sexualises the image, I’m not sure what age the girl is but she looks too young to be objectified by a company trying to use sex as a promotion. If you look at the many other campaigns from the company or even of the products then you will see that the company like to use young models often wearing very little.

American Apparel- Vinyl Mini Skirt
July 2014

This image isn’t linked to the back to school campaign but again expresses the need the company feels to use young models whilst sexualising them, the product in question is of a ‘vinyl mini skirt’ which in itself could be linked to fetishism and pornography, again the girl is quite young and posing in very little. Considering the company are trying to sell a skirt why should the model be topless and have her legs spread apart?

American- Apparel Bon Appetit
April 2014

Another recent campaign from April 2014 shows a girl with her legs spread, the actual product she is supposed to be advertising is a ‘Fisherman’s jumper’ which I guess some people may not be able to tell as the large letters of ‘Bon Appetit’ and the fact she’s eating a large sandwich are quite distracting… 

The site actually sells clothes aimed at babies and young children so is it appropriate for them to sexualise clothing aimed at women? I hardly think so. If you take a look at their ad campains (link below) you will see that the male models aren’t sexualised so why should it just be women that ‘sell sex’, it just promotes objectification and misogyny and I think the company should stop listening to Dov Charney and turn their selves around before the company is run into the ground.  


Read more: http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-2718720/American-Apparel-resorting-porn-sell-Back-School-range.html#ixzz3AAcgOT7J

Previous Ad Campaigns: http://www.americanapparel.net/advertising/?search=1&type=0&year=0&keyword=&page=1

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Sexualisation Of Females In The Music Industry

“In sociological terms, sexiness can be articulated on the basis of cultural values that are relatively dominant in a community at a given time and place”(2012) At present sexy in terms of cultural value is determined by the patriarchal society which sexualises women through the male
gaze.

Women, it seems, are queuing up to pander to male sexual fantasies, Levy and Walter argue, as can be seen in the case of the Girls Go Wild phenomenon, the mainstreaming of pornography as in pole-dancing classes for fitness, and the transformation of the ‘Playboy’ brand from pornography to consumer goods.  Take Britney Spears for example in her song ‘Hit me baby one more time’ she is dressed as a school girl made to look innocent with plaited hair, is this not playing directly to the male stereotype fantasy of school girls? would she have not achieved fame without playing to this fantasy?

Britney Spears“It’s the women who are driving this. It’s all changed. Once glamour modelling might have been about some fat sinister guy with a cigar tricking young girls into taking their clothes off, but now women are queuing up to do it.” (Phil Hilton, former editor of NUTS, cited in Walter, 2010: 20) Again this suggests women are empowering their selves but is glamour modelling not just playing into the hands of patriarchal society, males are clearly the audience for this.It is stated by Lady Gaga that “Every artist plays on sex. It’s just the context….I’m a free woman, so I play on sex freely” (Lester 88). It is in quite a few videos by Lady Gaga that she plays on sex, for instance in Poker Face she frequently references bisexual urges, as she states as an artist she can freely use sexually references if needed as it isn’t taboo in this culture to do so but is their need to play on sex for almost all her videos? In Bad Romance she dresses provocatively and is sexualised in a manner in front of a male audience, in Love Game she references ‘disco stick’ as a phallic symbol.

More female artists are sexualising their selves for the purpose of the male gaze, in California Girls by Katy Perry she is shown to be naked with only clouds covering her modesty, in the image below she is clearly pulling a suggestive face for the male audience, but with young teenagers that could be fans isn’t this setting a bad example as a role model? Her first hit ‘I kissed a girl and I liked it’ is again another male fantasy so why are female artists subjecting their selves too this?

katy-perry-california-gurls-03It seems that the media is subjective to sexualising females be it in films, television or music videos, is their need for so much of it to be exposed to us daily, young people could come across inappropriate music videos by accident and feel that its okay to expose yourself as it’ll either make boys like you or make you popular. young people don’t understand yet the pressures which are being thrust from the media to look good and have the perfect body image. Do we really want children to only be subjected to role models that represent sex and nudity.

In the video P.I.M.P by 50 Cent women are shown to wear next to nothing (depending on which version you see) with what appears to be dog collars around their necks which shows how much lower they are than men, this is degrading to women and gives a representation of them being just objects to men so why are so many stars playing out to the male fantasy?  

*images sourced from Google

Thigh Gap: Psychological Trap

thinspoA new dangerous trend amongst teenagers is starting to occur, it’s called the thigh gap and has been inspired by catwalk models and celebrities such as Amanda Bynes (She’s the man, Easy A) this new trend involves losing so much weight that your thighs don’t touch leaving this desired gap. I state teenagers as the audience as teenagers are highly influenced by the media and they are at the age most likely to develop an eating disorder.

What’s most worrying about this trend is that it is glamorising eating disorders and weight obsession. Individuals wanting this desired look are spreading the trend through Tumblr and Instagram, they share images of their progress and images of thinspiration and what they strive to achieve. What seems to be shown less often is the negative effects of an eating disorder, due to the celebrity culture thin is the only way in. If there were less pressures in the media to be so slim then individuals may start to accept their selves no matter what their shape or size may be. Instead they truly believe that in order to be ‘perfect’ or beautiful they must suffer until they have tiny waists and a thigh gap, this will just lead to health problems until they begin to recover.

I believe that the pressure to be perfect will continue and more and more people will suffer from an eating disorder whether they suffer from one naturally or choose to do so to follow these mad trends. A lot of people will call their selves fat and others around them when they aren’t at all, besides what is wrong with being curvy? It shouldn’t be frowned upon or even alienated.

Body pressure isn’t likely to die down until the media changes it’s approach to it, social media makes is so accessible to spread the word of thinspiration and inspire others to not give up until they achieve the fragile state. It also allows others to potentially bully those that are considered to be fat when they most likely aren’t.

What should be approached more is the negative affects of anorexia, bulimia and eating disorders, it should be educated more in schools, colleges and university. Magazines and television adverts should promote charities and support outlets to help individuals beat their problems, otherwise it could lead eating disorders being developed at a faster pace and at younger ages.

thigh gap

*images from Google