*It should be noted that this is the polite, blog-version of what I’m thinking. A night with girlfriends and a pitcher of sangria might yield rawer, not-as-nice wording, but the sentiment is the same.*
Mike Jeffries, the CEO of Abercrombie, had a little interview published last week explaining why his stores don’t carry anything above a size 10 (yes, a size TEN, and let’s be honest, it’s going to be a lean size 10) in women’s clothing: he doesn’t like fat girls.
If you’ve been paying attention to A+F for any of the past 10+ years, you know they’re not opposed to controversy. Overly- sexualized ads featuring teens, inappropriate styles in their children’s line…the list goes on. This is not a company out to promote family values, and this is not a CEO who has minced words about who he wants shopping at his store.
Let me give you a few excerpts from past and current interviews:
“He doesn’t want larger people shopping in his store, he wants thin and beautiful people,” Lewis (the interviewer, summing up his statements) said. “He doesn’t want his core customers to see people who aren’t as hot as them wearing his clothing. People who wear his clothing should feel like they’re one of the ‘cool kids.’”
“In every school there are the cool and popular kids, and then there are the not-so-cool kids,” he told the site. “Candidly, we go after the cool kids. We go after the attractive all-American kid with a great attitude and a lot of friends. A lot of people don’t belong [in our clothes], and they can’t belong. Are we exclusionary? Absolutely. Those companies that are in trouble are trying to target everybody: young, old, fat, skinny. But then you become totally vanilla. You don’t alienate anybody, but you don’t excite anybody, either,” he told Salon.
Mmmmkay. This is a 61-year-old man saying these things. Not a 14-year-old girl. And just for the sake of the rest of this post, I encourage you to click HERE and HERE so you know what the man who is saying all of these things looks like. I’m going to keep it as polite as I can by saying he was likely never a model, and leave it at that.
I get that I am nowhere near the target audience for Jeffries’ store: a 35-year-old mom. Teens and 20-somethings are his target, but guess what: your, and my, children are, too. Which means that because it’s my money, I AM his target. Of course, he’ll never see a dime of my money, not only because of who he is, but because his clothes are ridiculously overpriced. However, I have purchased a shirt from the resale shop for Luke that was Abercrombie, and here’s where it is now:
I don’t want my kids wearing the logo of a company that promotes hate and superiority.
Now, it’s foolish to argue that obesity isn’t a huge problem in America. But it’s a health problem…that’s why the issue deserves attention. Not because a pompous, aging CEO of a company doesn’t want imperfect bodies in his clothes. And let’s talk about that for a minute: when the target audience is teens, who are at an age when they are critical of their bodies already no matter what the size, what does this tell them? I cringe thinking of that beautiful teen girl, so incredibly self-aware, hearing this man’s cruel words.
My biggest issue, though, is that it’s no secret that being overweight is a primary reason kids are bullied by their peers. And here we have a grown man – a freaking GROWN MAN WHO KNOWS HE’S BEING INTERVIEWED – encouraging this exclusionary behavior, going so far as to call out “cool kids.”
So to those “Cool Kids” out there, let me have a word with you for a minute: there’s nothing cool about making other people feel like they’re less than you for any reason. Don’t let a guy who has shown you exactly how uncool he is have another dollar of your hard-earned money. And if you’re “cool” enough to work at an A+F store? Pound the pavement, kiddo, and find another company to work for. This guy isn’t worth it.
I’m disgusted by this sad excuse for a man, and I sincerely hope that you are, too.