Two teenagers take a photograph with an Abercrombie & Fitch employee inside Westfield San Francisco Centre during Black Friday in San Francisco, California November 29, 2013. REUTERS/Stephen Lam



As a mom to a teenage boy, I’ve yet to step inside any Abercrombie & Fitch. (Let’s leave aside whether I meet the standards for the type of customers the jackassy CEO envisioned wearing his company’s clothes) I find the idea disconcerting to shop at a store that showcases relentlessly half-nekkid virile young men. “Hey, look at me! Do I make you randy? Now come in and bathe in the glory of my bare chest. And while you are at it, remember to pick up some clothes from here so your son can look like me.”

Eh. NO.

The same way I found it disturbing when I overheard a mom say to her preteen/teenage daughter, “Ooo. You look sexy. Do you want to get it?” Really? I understand the concept of treating sex and sex talk as a natural/neutral subject. But we’ve got to draw the line somewhere. Somehow in our eagerness to promote girl empowerment, we’ve found girl empowerment in places where there was none. [Advertisers surely have taken great advantage of our wishful thinking. The branding efforts by many products surrounding Hunger Games – Catching Fire are some of the most brilliant yet infuriating, ok, at least annoying, marketing campaigns. Nerf guns for girls – sized for smaller hands. About time! And they’re pink! Of course…] We’ve pushed the line way way way back. It is so easy to equate sexy = empowered, and call it a day.

Sex does not equal power. Sex became a means to power for women because we were left with few options and recourse.


{ 8 comments… read them below or add one }

Ameena December 25, 2013 at 1:01 pm

There are about 100 reasons why A & F annoys me. Their “hosts” are one of them. Also their sizing, music volume, fragrance…I won’t bore you. Especially on Christmas. But I totally agree with your last line. I could never write, so eloquently, what you wrote.

Have a great holiday my friend.
Ameena´s last blog post…the frying pan


Absence Alternatives December 25, 2013 at 10:22 pm

Please come back and “bore” me more!!!!!! Have a wonderful Winter Break. Is Maya off from school? Ari off from work too? You will survive my friend! 😉 LOL. Have a happy new year!


Shefali December 3, 2013 at 3:45 pm

We spend most of black Friday, watching people shove and push each other over “stuff”. It was scary and exciting to watch.
It is weird how women used to be objectified and now men are objectified- all that matters is that in the end someone buys something- anything.
Shefali´s last blog post…Why me?


Absence Alternatives December 3, 2013 at 9:28 pm

Agreed. All this is marketing at work really. Capitalism FTW!


Kimberly December 2, 2013 at 10:23 pm

That may be the best tagged blog post ever!


Absence Alternatives December 3, 2013 at 9:16 pm

Lol. Thanks! So grateful that somebody got it. 🙂


Naptimewriting November 30, 2013 at 11:44 pm

Did you just say that we can’t objectify teenage boys because you have teenage boys?

Didn’t think so.

The sexualization of marketing is creepy. Abercrombie is creepy. Mostly because the smell of cologne is so strong therein that it wafts into dreadfully depressing malls all over the country.

On one (dominant) hand, the marketing of bodies as sex objects horrifies me. On the other, weaker hand, I appreciate that at least marketers are now objectifying male bodies, too.

But continuing to sell the idea of buying by selling the idea of ludicrously impossible bodies that set an entire culture up for a cycle of self-loathing that begets increasing buying that begets more self-loathing disturbs me beyond belief. So Black Friday or not, selling based on impossible bodies is bound to be what historians mark as one of the major downfalls of the American empire.

I just want to shake those poor girls and their dreadful phone-photographer and explain to them what is what. And then I want to donate a sweater to that poor, chilly young man.
Not buy one, mind you.
Naptimewriting´s last blog post…Full of thanks


Absence Alternatives December 3, 2013 at 9:27 pm

What you said. I wasn’t against objectifying male bodies. And thank goodness the models tend to be older than teenage boys i believe. I guess here’s another way gender inequality works: older men. Men are not as impacted by aging as women in many fields.

Hey, I like to look too. Just not at the store where I’m supposed to buy clothes for my kids. But that’s just me.


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