One Feminist's Take on American Apparel
When all of the media blew up about American Apparel's CEO this summer, I held my tongue. Don't get me wrong - I had A LOT of opinions on it. But I thought it'd be better if I just didn't share them. Fortunately, I have found my voice..... so here goes my first semi-controversial, outspoken blog.
Driving around Los Angeles, there is one thing explicitly clear about American Apparel - they have absolutely no respect for women. I would even go so far to say that they hate women. Block after block I drive by a multitude of billboards featuring scantily clad women in frankly embarrassing poses. The fashion industry has long been accused of objectifying women, but American Apparel takes it to an entirely new dimension.
Great Britain's Advertising Standard's Authority investigated complaints regarding their advertising and found, "a voyeuristic quality to the images which served to heighten the impression that the women were vulnerable and in sexually provocative poses." Their most recent scandalous ad featured inappropriate sexualization of school-age girls.
Jumping onto the internet to do some brief research easily reveals numerous sexual abuse allegations against (now former) CEO, Dov Charney, including forced oral sex and masturbating in front of a reporter, their model agreements which require the girl to essentially keep her mouth shut in the event of any complaints, firing employees based on their attractiveness, and more.
In June when the news broke of Charney's termination, I hoped that his replacement would turn around the company's representation of women and girls. Which is why I found it so interesting to learn that American Apparel has appointed a woman as their new CEO. As of January 5, 2015 Paula Schneider will take the reigns of American Apparel. The big question is - will she be able to change the company culture to one that gives women the respect we deserve?
I desperately hope this isn't just a publicity stunt to turn around their falling stock prices, but instead an opportunity to re-establish the brand's reputation in a positive light. Only time will tell..... but the world (this feminist in particular) is watching.