Friday, September 9, 2011

"Not Our Demographic"

American Apparel has never been one of my favorite stores. the clothes are cheaply made, almost 100% polyester and way over-priced. They also seem to have forgotten that the '80's have been over for 20 years. For these reasons alone, I wouldn't shop there. But when you add to this their sleazy ads and the fact that they don't cater to girls my size . . . well, there'd be more chance of my getting struck by lightning than my shopping there.

Then, they decided to launch a new XL line (which, by the way, means size 12/14, which is still considered a straight size by most other retailers), and announced this launch with a model search. An extremely demeaning model search. Here is the text for the contest, pulled from their website:

Think you are the Next BIG Thing?

Calling curvy ladies everywhere! Our best-selling Disco Pant (and around 10 other sexy styles) are now available in size XL, for those of us who need a little extra wiggle room where it counts. We're looking for fresh faces (and curvaceous bods) to fill these babies out. If you think you've got what it takes to be the next XLent model, send us photos of you and your junk to back it up.
Just send us two recent photographs of yourself, one that clearly shows your face and one of your body. We'll select a winner to be flown out to our Los Angeles headquarters to star in your own bootylicious photoshoot. Runners up will win an enviable assortment of our favorite new styles in XL!
Show us what you're workin' with!
Oh my God.

There are so many embarrassing, insulting puns and statements in the above, I don't even know where to begin. "Extra wiggle room"? "Send of photos of your JUNK"??? And, elsewhere they mention phrases like "full-size fannies", and "booty-ful". REALLY??? Is it possible to make a girl feel more like a slab of meat?

I guess this shouldn't be surprising, given how demeaning their ads usually are towards women in general:
They regularly show skeletal girls spreading their legs and contorting themselves in pseudo-sexual poses, all in the name of selling a pair of shiny spandex tights for $40.
Enter Nancy Upton.

Nancy is a size 12 (once again, smaller than the average woman in America, who is a 14/16), and she decided to give American Apparel a bit of a "fuck you". She partnered with a photographer friend and took a series of hilarious and provocative pictures, stating that:
1. I am a curvy woman.
2. I like food.
3. Clearly, you think these are the only things that define me.

Nancy looks pretty hot eating chicken wings, bathing in ranch dressing, and drizzling chocolate sauce all over herself. But, more importantly, she looks silly, highlighting the utter ridiculousness of the entire competition and the way it was framed.

Fuck you, American Apparel, with your "wink-wink" fat-shaming puns. And, thank you Nancy Upton, for holding up a mirror to their utter ass-hattery.

FYI: It looks like Nancy won the contest; as of today, she had the most number of votes and was at number 1. This was probably helped by the fact that she was mentioned in Jezebel, Huffington Post, Daily Mail, Bloginity, The Frisky, Feministe, and many others. It remains to be seen whether American Apparel will swallow their pride and declare her the new plus-size model, and whether or not she would truly want the job. You can see more images and read more from Nancy over at her Tumblr: Extra Wiggle Room.
Extra note: it looks like Nancy went to Tulane! I guess we have more than our dress size in common:)

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