- What is American Apparel selling in this image?
- How is the media maker using the model’s body to sell the product?
- Who is this woman?
- Could American Apparel be any creepier?
Questions To Consider
What We Think
We talk about how ads objectify women a lot. And what’s the easiest way to do so? Cutting out a person’s face is a start. Here, the model is literally just a body part. She is an object for looking at, particularly her butt. Without the context of this image being from American Apparel’s Instagram or that American Apparel sells clothing, you can’t really tell what it’s selling here. You could guess it’s the bathing suit, but you couldn’t be certain. Admittedly, this isn’t the worst American Apparel has done, and it is very much their brand to be provocative, but that doesn’t make it justified.
Also, while the company has made an effort to use more “realistic” looking models and to lighten up on the Photoshop, the majority of the bodies seen on their website and in their ads are thin and white. This is not to say that thin, white bodies are unrealistic, but they are not representative of the vast diversity of body types and skin tones that exist. When we only see a particular body type over and over, it reinforces the idea that only certain characteristics are beautiful, when that is simply not true! We had hoped for better after American Apparel’s founder, Dov Charney, was ousted recently and the company got new leadership.
— Colleen Sparks
Where We Saw It
American Apparel. Instagram. July 2016.