Normally, I look up to Canada as an example — I even talk about moving there if the next election goes sour. I find their publicly-funded health care system and their official position of non-involvement in the war on Iraq both refreshing and laudable. I tend to think of Canadians as peaceful, level-headed, practical Midwesterners. After reading about Canadian-based Plain Jane Couture, I fear I’ve been brushing with too broad a stroke.

The Plain Jane Couture line features a large logo of a woman’s silhouette. Now, before you envision the reclining silhouette typically gracing the mud flaps of an 18-wheeler, think again. This silhouette is of a woman standing with a pair of underwear around her ankles. The logo is about the size of a hand, so there is no missing this degrading detail.

The Canadian designers, Hardip (hard-up?) and Zoum state that they make clothes for the kind of women they like. (I would tend to believe that this logo represents the kind of woman they never get, but that is just my speculation.) They define their kind of woman as “cute, fun, witty and wild.” I challenge you to find a single model on the website that fits that description. On the contrary, I would suggest spineless, malnourished, pale and angry. Additionally, I know a lot of witty women — and none of them would consider wearing such a demeaning image of women on their clothes.


But it gets worse; these two go on to say that their patrons “hold the new voice of feminism.” Shortly thereafter, they state, “Jane permanently has her panties around her ankles.” And quite frankly, that’s where they want them to stay. Sure makes getting around difficult for poor Jane, especially if she plays hockey up there in Montreal. C’mon boys, no one is buying your attempt to sell feminism with permanent sexual availability.

Again, and I’m quoting: Their line is nonchalant, fun, cheeky and likes to “take the piss.” I’d like to offer my editing services again in order to make this sentence more accurate: Their line is adolescent, degrading, pedestrian and likely to never get off the ground.

I’d like to remind Hardip and Zoum that there are a lot of young girls who are inundated with hundreds of humiliating images of women on a daily basis. It’s time to man up, boys. Do either of you have sisters, nieces, daughters, or girlfriends? If you answered yes, why not be true to them, honor them even, and be a different kind of company? Be the clothing company whose advertising doesn’t disgrace, offend, or confuse girls and women. Be the company that refuses to have a size zero. Be the company that cares about what women think. Be the company that actively demonstrates that how and what a woman thinks is far more important that how she looks. Be the company that acknowledges the intellectual contributions of women. You could even use a brain as your logo – now that’s sexy. –Amy Scott