Do you shop in Abercrombie & Fitch? Yes? Then I guess you’re in “the club”.
A&F have a very clear philosophy about who is allowed to wear their clothes. In the US, they refuse to stock above a US10 which is UK size 12. CEO Mike Jeffries says he does not want fat people wearing his clothes. His clothes are only for those who are “thin and beautiful,” “people with washboard stomachs,” and “cool, good-looking, popular.” Everyone else can go elsewhere.
There aren’t many days when I want people to get fatter but today I am glad that 99% of the US population don’t fit into this demographic because maybe, one day, this idiot will realise he has no audience left.
Except, of course, that this ideal appeals to young men and women who are being brain-washed into believing the most important thing is life is be thin. Nothing else really matters. You don’t even need to be pretty, just thin, to join this club. Thin is the new beautiful.
This insidious belief is becoming so mainstream in US nowadays that girls of 7 are already in the “I must be thinner” club. A& F market their preppie styles to kids as well as adults and these kids know that to belong to this club, they need to stay size 0. “
And it’s not just being “sizeist” that gets A&F into trouble. They’re not exactly working towards a more equal society. To them, women are here for the amusement of men. There was uproar in 2002 over the company’s thongs for 10 year-old girls, with “Eye Candy” and “Wink Wink” printed on their fronts.
“Abercrombie has a history of insensitivity,” says Emma Blackman-Mathis, 16, a spokesperson for a high-school movement against A&F, “and there is no company with as big an impact on the standards of beauty. There are kids starving themselves so they can be the ‘Abercrombie girl,’ and there are guys who think they aren’t worthy if they don’t look exactly like the guys on the wall.”
The protest resulted in A&F pulling “Who Needs a Brain When You Have These?” and “Gentlemen Prefer Tig Ol’ Bitties” but retaining “Do I Make You Look Fat?”. Other slogans which have caused ofence include “It’s All Relative in West Virginia” (which West Virginia’s governor didn’t find funny), “Bad Girls Chug. Good Girls Drink Quickly” (which angered anti-addiction groups), and Wong Brothers Laundry Service — Two Wongs Can Make It White (which triggered protests from Asian groups).
I have boycotted this store for years since they were proudly found guilty of discriminating against minorities. Luckily, I don’t like the clothes they produce, but I dislike their attitude more. Their philosophy is to use their customers as clothes hangers. The clothes aren’t designed to make the wearer look good – the customer is chosen to make the clothes look good. They want all their customers to look them same and to be an advert for the clothes.
If you feel this brand is for you, fine. But be aware that you aren’t choosing A&F. They are choosing you.