Bottom Feeders Like American Apparel Need Whacked in the Assets

Feb. 9, 2010 Update: Almost 1000 signatures already & expanding global on ipetitions now! Join in! Orig article 2-2-10:

“Confident about the junk in your trunk? Show us your assets! Post a photo of your booty’s best side for judgment,” invites American Apparel in their latest sexist slop.

Yep, they’ve launched their new ad campaign to “search for the best bottom in the world.” Could it be your daughter’s?

As Thalia, age 19, says, “You don’t need to exploit us to benefit your company. Someone that is a CEO should have more common sense, don’t you think?” Um, no. Sadly, it’s a sorry statement of our flash-n-trash sexist times where corporate profiteers figure “anything for a buck” regardless of the fallout.

Gee, AA, try empowering girls instead of consuming them. Listening to girls instead of objectifying them…Time for a gloves off, no-holds barred, “girlcott” (petition here).

If AA had the testicular fortitude to peel back the quantifiable damage and harm being done (full APA report here) they might learn something to further their brand, but instead, they’ve once again gone to the most unoriginal, base level, ‘nudie-cutie-sex sells’ pornification par usuale, while simultaneously putting these girls in legal jeopardy with new ‘sexting prosecution’ laws cropping up in some states.

Parents, teens, girls and those who love them, join Hardy Girls Healthy Women and Shaping Youth Advisory Board members of Packaging Girlhood to send a crystal clear message to American Apparel…

We’re not buying it.

Girlcott American Apparel.

Hardy Girls Healthy Women and allied orgs like ours are committed to sending a high frequency signal that enhancing a corporation’s bottom line with zero regard for the fallout on kids’ mental and ultimately physical well-being is NOT OK. (follow up post forthcoming on the quantifiable leap in violence to women when viewed as ‘parts’ rather than a whole human being, and part two, ‘an open letter to youth marketers’…stay tuned…we’re about to have a ‘tee’ party of a different sort! )

HGHW launched this grassroots girlcott just today and already it’s ignited a firestorm of social media mavens eager to help out and pay it forward to stop this crud…We are more than just “One Angry Girl” (though OAG is a favorite site of mine for girlcotts, girl tees and girl empowering products that speak for themselves!)

I heartily encourage all participating in this girlcott to take note of where your shirts are coming from…

I’ve already contacted LiveNation and Reverb about the girlcott to shift vendors for band tees; Threadless and Etsy DIY products are next…Please support sites that choose vendors on values to hit ’em in the pocketbook as an agent of change. (e.g. PigtailPals prints tees on shirts, etc.)

Here’s a round-up of resources for cool tee shirt companies with positive messaging for girls to wear instead)

I’ve personally invited all of our partner orgs into the mix and have been tweeting and posting to alert men’s groups, dads-n-daughters advocates,  SAHM bloggers, conscious men and gentlemen on a global scale to lend a hand. (already we’ve received some interesting stories about how this lack of marketing accountability and responsibility has impacted the daughters and women in their lives)

Rather than focus on the ‘show and tell’ media moments this round which will no doubt give American Apparel more press, let’s depants the fiscal thread that leads to the cause and effect of most of these sleaze and tease campaigns.

Here’s the full text from HGHW…

…And where to take action via iPetitions for GLOBAL access

Now spread the word, add your skill sets (any mobile app one-click cause marketing gurus want to lend a probono hand to garner some good will?) and fercripesakes let those bottom feeders at American Apparel know THIS IS NOT OKAY!

For those of you who would like to take action beyond the petition/girlcott and help Hardy Girls Healthy Women in other ways, by all means, go for it, and please send aligned orgs our way.

This is a collaborative effort and we’re proud to be a part of it.

Here’s the specific text from HGHW to send along to AA and add your own voice to the mix for extra umpf!

Joseph Teklits and Jean Fontana, Corporate Relations
Dov Charney, CEO, American Apparel
747 Warehouse St.
Los Angeles, CA 90021

Dear American Apparel:

The sexualization of women and porn-inspired media have infiltrated the everyday culture of the youngest girls.

According to the 2007 APA Task Force on the Sexualization of Girls in Media, the negative impact on girls and women is indisputable: the sexualization and objectification of girls and women in media wreak havoc on our psychological, emotional, cognitive and relational lives.

Your recent campaign is a perfect example of the insidious ways marketers and media promote sexualization and body obsession as “girl power.” American Apparel is directly and unconscionably undermining girls’ healthy development by equating confidence with looking sexy, winning with being judged on their appearance, and personal value with 15 seconds of fame.

The objectification of girls’ and women’s bodies is a real concern in a country where 1 in 4 women is a victim of violence, and sexual harassment is rampant. This ad campaign invites girls to self-objectify, inviting girls to post pictures of just one body part, and inviting others to comment and rate it is demeaning and dangerous.

By launching this campaign at a time when sexting is in the headline news, American Apparel is literally placing girls in jeopardy of prosecution by inviting them to post highly sexualized images of themselves online.

Don’t insult us with the usual defense: this is not real girl power; this is not just girls feeling good, making choices or feeling confident in their bodies. American Apparel is selling girls for parts, and we’re not buying. –HGHW”

Girlcott Pals: Anti-American Apparel

Add your name to the letter today! And…

Follow HGHW on Twitter

Follow HGHW on Facebook

And consider this: A 3-pack of underwear from American Apparel costs $24.

…”We’re willing to bet that not only will you probably find a better deal elsewhere, but you’ll sleep better having purchased your skivvies somewhere else, too.

If you want to sleep really well, here’s what Hardy Girls could do with that $24, if you’re so inclined:

-Support middle schoolers in developing critical thinking skills around media advertisements that fragment women;

-Enable adults to support girls in fighting back against sexist ideals propagated through the media;

-Encourage girls to see the world of options that exists for them without having to show their underwear.

Please, consider reallocating the money you might have spent at AA and donating it to Hardy Girls. We promise we won’t sexualize, objectify, or otherwise demean your sisters, mothers, aunts, nieces, or friends.

In fact, we promise to work toward a better world for all them — one where women are valued more for their beliefs and brains than they are their butts. —Hardy Girls, Healthy Women”

Rock on, ladies…

We’re behind you 200% here at Shaping Youth and we’ll be pulling out the stops in social media to pay it forward to all ages and stages with our sister organizations and gal pal allies.

Men we love are letting out some serious rebel yells on this one too, so thanks, guys…this is a corporate wrist slap that applies to BOTH genders.

We’d be just as ticked if they were incentivizing the hawking of boys’ backsides in objectification…No need for corporate cash registers to go ‘ka-ching’ as kids’ psyches go ‘ka-boom.’ Enough already! Act now.

Related Posts/Resources

Anti-Porn Resource Center via

APA Task Force on Sexualization of Girls

Sentencing Law & Policy/Sexting (Law Prof. Blog Netwk 1-15-10)

The Girl Revolution: Empowering Girls Vs. Consuming Them

New Moon Girl Media Community Online

Girls Prescription for Self-Worth: Respect Rx

Media Literacy Resources for Empowering Girls (Besides Shaping Youth, AdProofing, So Sexy So Soon, Respect Rx, Rachel, Rosalind, The Girl Revolution, TrueChild, Reign of the GirlChild & other youth advocate blogs/resources on our sidebar e.g. aligned orgs like: About-Face,, Packaging Girlhood, Hardy Girls, Healthy Women etc.

T-shirt Alternatives/Worthy Positive Products:

Shaping Youth Post: Tee Party Kicks Off All Things Girl

Have more to add? Just ping me to take a peek: amy at shapingyouth dot org. Meanwhile, calling all “Women2Follow” on Twitter, dedicated to inspiring girls and women…HGHW (and all of us!) could use your girlpower. Tweet!

p.s. If you have more picks for girl-advocates on Twitter, we’re in ‘list building’ mode here at Shaping Youth, so send ’em my way…I’m adding “” right now! woohoo! Good one! Check ’em out!

Visual Credits: Lead photo/girlcott logo/shirts: One Angry



  1. Amy, I contacted my daughters’ school and they immediately agreed: No more printing school shirts on American Apparel! Schools and government types need to be aware, in case they have been buying AA because of the American-made label. Great post, mine’s up tomorrow.

  2. thanks, Lisa, looking forward to your post. Here’s Dr. Robyn’s too:

    I like her point about the Elmo branding in the same site as well…

    “Underwear from American Apparel…$24

    Elmo shirt from American Apparel…$14

    Saving your daughter from being sexualized by American Apparel? Priceless.

    “I want you to think about a tween or teen girl that you love. Your daughter. Your niece. Your best friend’s little girl. She’s a good person, isn’t she? She has a lot to offer. She’s probably pretty talented, and smart, and interesting. Maybe she’s generous, a good athlete, musical, or has a knack with animals or kids. She has assets. Oh yes, she does. And yet, there are corporations that are telling our teens that their assets are not in their brain, or their heart– but…in their pants.”

    “Yes, on the same website where you would find Sesame Street Clothes for your favorite girl, you can also find an ever changing array of bottoms flashed in your face. Stock photos? Nope..”

    The rest on the link above…I’m working on an ‘open letter to youth marketers” next…feel free to ping me with YOUR input on same! 🙂 Onward!

  3. LIsa Cohen says

    Thank you so much for doing something about the vile, lude billboards that disgrace our city. Everyday as I drive my children, we have to pass by these billboards by American Apparel, which look like porn shots of pathetic victimized girls. They push it in our faces. I can choose not to watch TV (which we do not have in our home) but I still have to drive. How can we start a petition on the California ballot to stop exploitative bilboards, which even young children are forced to see. It’s simply NOT fair. Can we put this on the ballot??

  4. Hi Lisa, that’s an interesting policy question, and one that will no doubt surface at the 10-22-10 SPARK summit on sexualization of girls in NYC at Hunter College! Join us?

    I know that I was stopped in my tracks walking to an ’empowerment/actionist network’ summit on raising confident girls passing a billboard with women’s legs sticking upside down out of a football helmet with the headline “Play Dirty” (I snapped it on my iPhone to use as ‘shock schlock’ examples of ambient exposure we’re constantly subjecting kids to…Here’s the ‘spread eagle’ one that I ranted about on the radio show too:

    Ambient objectification is like pollution….It hits everyone the same, whether you drive an electric car or a Hummer, ya know? bleh.

  5. I’m looking to purchase a used car from a dealership. I live in Ontario, Canada. I’m 21 years old and I have a great credit score, Last I checked it was 802 but my point is, the total price of the car after tax is 7400. I was given the option of putting 1200 down and not even bothering with a credit check, just drive off the lot and pay 244 a month for a 36 month period. My second option is to borrow the 7400 as a loan from the bank. The dealer said he guesses I’d get a 7% interest rate, bank said 8-10%. My final option is to finance through the dealership, but I don’t like that because I’m all about keeping my credit where it’s at. I’ve never missed a credit card payment, phone bill payment, etc. My point is, I’m thinking paying the 1200 down and just making the monthly payments would be best. Seems to have the lowest interest rate and making that kind of downpayment would make the term shorter. Anyway, what do you believe is the best course of action in terms of these three options. Thanks again.. One expansion would be that the bank is telling me they’d charge me 3% more interest than the dealership. if I put the 1200 down then it’s 7% interest and if I go through the bank and put nothing down it’s 10% interest, same amount if I put down 1200 with the bank..

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