“More Boyfriends Than T. Swift”

In response to recent outcry from a small group of fans, popular clothing company Abercrombie & Fitch has ceased sales of one of their shirts. The shirt in question read:

#more boyfriends than t.s.

The slogan was in reference to Taylor Swift (t.s.) bu also to popular media outlets such as Twitter, and now Facebook, who use hashtags as a search and organizational tool. Reportedly, a petition circulated beginning on June 18th, calling for the stores to pull the shirt from their floors. The petition was started via Change.org by Emma Worley of Pennsylvania, and was signed by die-hard Swift fans, of Swifties. The reported number was 130 (which seems extremely low to me, as the attendance list for my GYM class in high school had more names than that), but apparently that was convincing enough to the brand name, which has been under fire in recent weeks for being too exclusive.

On the petition page, those signing could leave comments. One read as follows:

“It’s just plain hurtful and insulting. Taylor’s private life should remain so. It’s unprofessional for such a huge company to insult and poke fun at a celebrity in one of their t-shirts. Besides, none of them knows exactly what goes on in Taylor’s private life. She herself said that she’s only dated two men in the past two years, which isn’t a lot. The media exaggerates Taylor’s past relationships A LOT. It’s a form of bullying, which should never be encouraged, ESPECIALLY by such a huge company. I’m disgusted and have lost all my respect for Abercrombie and Fitch.” — Anushree Jayan, Singapore

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Abercrombie & Fitch FINALLY Apologizes

The media has taken a sharp turn towards body image and how it is portrayed, specifically by the fashion industry, especially when it comes to models, mannequins, and clothing sizes. For some reason, fashion size expectations have been even more under fire than usual. There’s always some valid complaint regarding the unrealistic expectations of bodies (mostly female), but as of late, that voice has been louder than ever, and the headlines are smattered with size-related statements. One of the most popular headliners was Abercrombie & Fitch, for their (until now) unapologetic refusal to dress women over a US size 10. A 2006 interview with CEO Mike Jeffries said it all:

“We want to market to cool, good-looking people. In every school there are the cool and popular kids, and then there are the not-so-cool kids. 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.”

His statement was met with quite a bit of backlash, in the form of viral videos, photo campaigns, and a petition with over 68,000 signatures. On Wednesday, the company publicly responded to the petition:

“We look forward to continuing this dialogue and taking concrete steps to demonstrate our commitment to anti-bullying in addition to our ongoing support of diversity and inclusion. We want to reiterate that we sincerely regret and apologize for any offense caused by comments we have made in the past which are contrary to these values.”

Unfortunately, the company is still quietly under scrutiny for not providing wheelchair accessible entrances to all of their stores.

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