American Apparel Ad (Original)
click the image for source link
“Sex Sells.” It’s a common phrase we hear a lot in our lives and through what we witness in the media whether in ads, movies and televisions. We live in a consumerist society where it evolved to a point of allowing white males to be shown as the dominant figure and women, people of colour and minorities to be shown as the lesser and as props.
American Apparel has a history of overly sexual ads that depict women in bare clothing to nude with socks. As well as they are shot in sexual poses to demeaning positions where you don’t even see their face. This particular ad I’ve chosen can be considered one of their more “tame” ads but in no way is it less ridiculous or problematic. We see a properly dressed man between a woman’s legs that he is holding open. We do not see the woman’s face or even the clothing she is wearing, all we know is she is positioned in a way that is similar to a sex act. It’s not even with her own agency that she is holding her legs open, it is the man who is placing her in this position.
As an ad for a clothing company there isn’t much of clothing being advertised. Instead, we have a woman being used as the prop or accessory to the man. Her sole purpose is to imply a sexual connotation and a message for men that wearing these clothes could help women open their legs for them. The ad itself borderlines on a pornographic tone. We are already in a society that perpetuates rape culture and this ad promotes it. Thankfully we are seeing more justice being done and more voices speaking out against perpetrators, we as a society still have a long way to go.
American Apparel Ad (Jammed Version)
This ad is obviously not properly advertising clothing by using sexual tones to entice their consumers, mainly men. In my jammed version I didn’t change much except the text in the image. Instead of it saying “American Apparel” I crossed out American and replaced it with new words, it now says “Women Are Our Apparel.” The ad portrays the woman as a sexual prop and accessory to the male model as if she is the clothing being advertised. I wanted to bring to light how problematic this ad really is. I wanted to show how the ad is sending a message that women are essentially clothing for men to use, like for sexual acts, and can be tossed away and they can seek out new prospects.
I also added an altered version of a typical sale slogan that reads “BUY ONE F*CK ONE FREE!” This highlights the ridiculous way sex is used to sell products, the use of women as a commodity and the way the ad promotes the promise of sex with their clothing brand. In the bottom right I also inserted a small text that says “*Consent May Vary.” to expose the rape culture this ad perpetuates where the woman’s agency is silenced. The text is also in a smaller capacity than the other text because I wanted to highlight the message that consent is overlooked by men and the society that protects them, therefore the text is smaller and hard to read. The gravity and horrifying meaning of those three words barely register because it’s hard to see and people don’t ever look closely and take the time to view it. By making these changes I hope to call attention to the major problems this ad contains and it’s absurd use of these issues to advertise clothing. This ad can no longer be seen as an advertisement for clothing, it’s an advertisement for male dominance, rape and objectification.