In and of itself, this advertisement for Gildan’s 64000 line of t-shirts does not seem problematic or offensive in any way. There is gender representation with there being both a woman and man in the advertisement with the women being a person of colour, so there is minority representation as well. The advertisement itself is completely asexual, as there are no sexual connotations whatsoever. The models are simply standing there (possibly walking), looking forward with benign and non-provocative facial expressions. There are no design techniques used that attempt to draw the eyesight of the viewer to the woman’s breasts, for instance. In fact, it can be argued that Gildan has purposefully created the most inoffensive and banal advertisement that it possibly could. One could even argue that the choice of models was a part of this attempt as the woman has relatively small breasts, an the man is not muscular.
The obvious question is why I would choose this advertisement if there is absolutely nothing offensive about its content? The reason for my choice is I feel the political correctness and banality of this advertisement is a purposeful attempt by Gildan to promote a socially responsible image and distract people from the company’s support for horrendous human rights abuses in Latin America, particularly Honduras and Haiti. In both these countries, Gildan has been involved in union busting by firing workers who joined unions and by supporting the government in Honduras, even though its paramilitaries are engaged in a murderous campaign agains labour and environmental activists (Industriall, 2018). In GRSJ 300, we have read about the problems with universal feminism and have seen the need for better recognition of domestic feminisms. I feel that Gildan is exploiting universal feminism by creating non-sexist advertisements, which protects the company from the ire of universal feminism, while at the same time suppressing domestic labour and feminist movements, which hegemonic feminism does not pay that much attention to.
My culture jam is hard hitting and takes direct aim at Gildan for not only its documented union breaking activities, but also for conducting business with a corrupt government that is responsible for numerous human rights abuses, including murders, against environmental, land cooperative, indigenous, and labour activists. My cultural jam also takes direct aim at universal feminism, as the original non-sexist advertisement more or less represents successful feminism for universal feminists, even though Gildan is embroiled in economic and human rights abuses against women in Honduras and Haiti. However, universal feminism lacks a critique of capitalism and does not align itself with union and worker movements, which makes Gildan’s non-sexually exploitive advertisements good enough.
My culture jam has blood dripping from the top to represent the murders and state violence that Gildan is connected to by cooperating and working with the governments of Haiti and Honduras. The “including blood red” text I added serves the same purpose. My entire culture jam has a heavy focus on the violence that Gildan has partially responsibility for with this responsibility being augmented by the company’s union busting. I added the text ‘hard union busting’ beside the original ‘soft style’ text to provide a contrast and to make it clear exactly how Gildan operates in poor countries. However, Gildan is responsible for more than just union busting, as its anti-labour approach in Honduras empowers the Honduran government in its violent paramilitary campaign against union activists. The pictures of the five Hondurans in my culture jammed piece are all union and labour activists and leaders who have been assassinated by paramilitaries in Honduras. As the pictures show, two of the five are women. I placed two images showing the deceased bodies of activists on the shirts in order to properly rebrand Gildan as the murderous company that it really is. The picture of Hilary Clinton is there for two reasons. First, when she was Secretary of State, she supported the military coup that ousted the socialist-leaning president of Honduras, Zelyaa, in 2009. The country has been unstable since this time with murders of leftists being common. The second reason Clinton image is there is as a symbol of universal feminism. In this case, the shallow analysis of universal feminism celebrates Hilary Clinton as a some kind of feminist role model despite her being a hawk and supporting regimes that impoverish poor women and murder female activists.
Industriall (2018). Gildan Activewear continues to violate workers’ rights in Haiti and Honduras. Retrieved from http://www.industriall-union.org/gildan-activewear-continues-to-violate- workers-rights-in-haiti-and-honduras