why american apparel ads gross me out


***Guys, I'm sorry for this rant, but these American Apparel ads REALLY annoy me, and well, I suppose it'd be interesting to write about.***

So we all know the national clothing brand American Apparel, right? And I'm pretty sure that most of you have seen their ads, too. The thing is, have you ever noticed how sexist, and for that, incredibly sexual, they are?

In media class a few weeks ago we were looking at banned adverts, and a few were from, yep you guessed it, American Apparel. What actually took me back a little wasn't the fact that the ads were incredibly, in-cred-ib-ly sexual and therefore banned, but because the models in the photos were under 16. Just, ugh ~shudders~. 

Later that evening, (when science GCSE revision should have been on the timetable), I looked up current American Apparel advertisements on the internet. Do you know what that means? These are active ads, meaning that they are currently being shown to a wide audience all across the globe, unbanned, seen fit for commercial use.

Oh, and you see the American Apparel advertisement above? It's pretty much the same jacket, but when worn on a female is used in a sexual way, instead of a formal, official way like the guy. Just... sexism at it's finest, everyone.

Most of the images that you are about to see are, of course, of women being sexualized, half naked. So if this is the sort of content that offends you then click the little 'x' box on the right hand side of your screen and BAM, you'll never have to set your eyes on these ads, and will stay forever protected in your little bubble called Fantasism Mc Anti-Realism. Another thing that I may point out is that some bloggers call these 'rape ads', which to be honest I can completely understand why. The majority of these images have been taken in a dark bedroom with a dull flash with the models looking upset or distressed. What does that suggest?

Stirrup socks. Mini skirt. Micromesh. Surely if they removed the male limbs from the dark bedroom scenes and had the models pose in ways that wouldn't offend, say, the Dalai Lama (although to be honest I'm not really sure about what he'd deem offensive), their clothes would still get bought and worn, just with less people getting irked about it. Does sex really sell?

I'm just wondering why these advertisements are deemed 'okay' to be used to promote a clothing brand, because I really wouldn't want to buy an outfit from American Apparel by looking at these ads. Honestly, if you were to see these in a magazine would you really go 'oh wow, I love those lone socks that she's wearing whilst looking terrified and doing some rather deflated actions, I think that now I might just buy them'?

If you were to read the caption about 'Sophie' in the above advert, what imagery springs to mind? Taking note of her body movement, clothing positioning, male foot in the background, and her face. Because for me, it sure isn't positive.

Sorry to rant to you guys about this, but even though we live in a patriarchal society I still imagined clothing companies to have some form of dignity. I mean really, what are they trying to get out of sexually explicit adverts that mothers wouldn't want their children to see? If a young girl were to see these I really don't think that it would be beneficial to state to her that it's normal for females to take part in these rape-scene-like images.

I suppose it's just strange, that's all.*

*And morally embarrassing. And sickening. And incredibly sexist and overly sexual.

Oh, and as a sidenote, I'm sorry if anyone finds this post offensive. I find the adverts offensive, and just sort of had to rant about them. Sorry.


  1. Ick. Ick. Ick. I've actually never seen adds like these (I try to avoid stores that sell clothes by these means), so I didn't really look at them. But, that first picture of the same shirt modeled by a man and a woman is extremely offensive to me because I hate the fact that women are portrayed as objects for men to play with! AHHHH! It's just not right.

  2. Ugh. You can guess where I'll never shop! How are they supposed to sell clothes when their models aren't even wearing any? And yep. I didn't think they'd be dumb enough to be so blatantly sexist. Why use sex as a means of selling clothes? It's nonsensical and the fact that their market seems to be teenagers is wrong. Thanks for highlighting this. Companies shouldn't do such things!

    1. You're so right, it really does make no sense - I couldn't help but rant ahaha.

  3. It does make me sad that this is "clothing advertising". Why does everything have to be sexual? They're clothes for goodness sakes.

  4. This post is brilliant! And I'm kind of surprised that AA releases SUCH terrifying ads! I've seen plenty of sexual ads from AA, but no rape-like ones like these! Maybe in France, which is where I live, they do not permit sexual ads to THAT extent??? The comparison you made of the shirt on the man and then the woman is shockingly true! :0

    1. Thank you! And seriously? It's good to see that France at least has some dignity.

  5. By the way, I awarded you for the Sunflower Award :)

  6. I was glad to find that other people find these ads sexist and offensive. There was a written protest and people were invited to sign their names. I would link it to you except: they don't need it any more! AA have heard people's complaints and dialed it down (for now).

    Did you grow up in Wales? I'm curious because I am an American raising my young children in north Wales.

    P.S. The quote on your About page is, as far as I know, G.K. Chesterton: "Even a dead thing goes with the stream, but only a living thing goes against it." If you've never heard of Chesterton, he's a prolific 20th century author, and I highly recommend him!

    All the best. x

    1. Ah sweet! I heard nothing about the protest, but I'm happy that they've decided to dial it down, it was well needed.

      And yes, I did grow up in Wales and I loved it - it was the best time of my life. I was down in Swansea c:

      Oh, I didn't realise that. Maybe I'll check G. K Chesterton out some time.