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American Apparel—Objectification of Women made in the U.S.A.

By May 18, 2009 7 Comments

For a company that prides itself on making all its attire in the United States, American Apparel deserves no congratulations when it comes to its ads. American Apparel already has one ad posted in our Gallery of Offenders and the obviously have done nothing to improve there act–they seem to have gotten worse!

Just take a look at these four recent advertisements from American Apparel:

American Apparel Ad for Socks

American Apparel Ad for Socks

American Apparel Ad for Underwear?

American Apparel Ad for Underwear?

American Apparel Ad for ???

American Apparel Ad for ???

American Apparel Ad for Opening in Japan

American Apparel Ad for Opening in Japan

What is the first thing you see in these pictures? Certainly not the apparel. What kind of position are the women in? What are their faces saying? What does it mean when you can’t see her face? Where are the men? What does their absence mean?

What kind of language is used in the advertisements? How do these words reflect the photos in the ads, and how do they connect to the ads’ messages?

Socks and underwear aside, what are the ads really selling?

After rubbing my eyes a couple times and staring at the computer screen with my mouth agape and my face flushing with anger — incidents that are probably happening to you right now — one of the first things I noticed was the candid-photo style of these photographs. The odd lighting, the grainy-ness — doesn’t the style of these photos give you the feeling that the women were unsuspecting subjects in the photos? There’s a sense in the ads that a man is snapping photos of the woman — helplessly left to be the object –and we are lucky enough to voyeuristically view the results. Gee, that makes me want to go buy socks!

So what are the ads actually getting at? American Apparel advertisements — advertisements that are plastered all over magazines and weekly newspapers nationwide — aren’t selling clothes. They’re selling the notion that scantily clad girls in compromising positions are hip. American Apparel caters to a hipster clientele, and the company is equating coolness with sexualized positions, and the idea that it’s okay to treat women as things that should be stared at.

The women have become the products, not the clothing. We’ve all seen the countless advertisements in fashion magazines and on billboards — women in shopping bags, women without faces, women’s body parts taking up the entire photo. American Apparel wants to be trendy, but they need to step away from this current advertising trend. They need to stop objectifying women to sell socks.

Congratulations, American Apparel. You make clothing in a socially sound manner. For that we thank you. Now please stop using half-naked models in inferior positions to convince us all to buy your company’s underwear.

If you’re as furious as me, please send your thoughts to

American Apparel Inc.
747 Warehouse St.
Los Angeles, CA 90021
United States

Or contact them directly on their website by clicking here.

-Kate