This is older news, but back in March, a third grader wrote a letter to Dov Charney, the founder of American Apparel, who has also been sued several times by female employees for sexual harassment, saying that she wanted to work there when she grew up. This is the letter she sent:
American Apparel is famous for its commitment to immigrant rights like its Legalize LA campaign. Clothing is made by employees who are paid well above the minimum wage, work in comfortable, air conditioned factories in Los Angeles, have reasonable health benefits and access to English language classes. These are pretty decent and equitable working conditions considering that clothing from many other stores are produced in sweatshops overseas.
However, it is pretty easy to see that based on their advertisements and store displays, American Apparel sells sex and uses women to do so.
Women’s bodies are objectified and hyper-sexualized to market clothing and other accessories, which is not a new advertising technique, but it’s disgusting that American Apparel is exploiting women, their bodies and their sexuality to sell sex while masking behind “immigration reform”, “fair pay” and “sweatshop free” rhetoric. All of those sound good and are good, but why must we utilize, objectify and hyper-sexualize women’s bodies in order to promote immigrant rights and decent working conditions? Must we constantly sacrifice women so? Women deserve better than that. Women are not just mere instruments or machinery to further good or just causes.
Besides, Charney is so unabashed about the sexual harassment cases against him and where he stands on his company’s hyper-sexualization. He’s disclosed to the press before information about his sexual relationships with female employees. When asked if he calls women sluts at work, he said, “In private conversations, where such language was generally welcome.” When asked if he thought slut was a derogatory term, he responded, “You know, there are some of us that love sluts. You know, it’s not necessarily – it could also be an endearing term…something you call your lover.”
O RLY? Calling a woman a slut is endearing?