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Cindy Brady, now there’s a hot chick

By Amanda Marcotte
Wednesday, July 30, 2008 20:55 EDT
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Why does American Apparel have to fuck up everything good with a thick coat of demoralizing sleaze? Even setting aside the complexity of their labor issues (they say they pay fair wages, their employees say they’ve been union-busted), there’s a lot that you would initially like about the company. I like cotton. I like bright colors. I like silly ad campaigns. I really like that nice, thin cotton that’s flattering while still being, you know, cotton. I don’t like leggings, but that’s a minor complaint in the grand scheme of things that AA sells. But everything is coated in this sexist sleaze that dares you to complain about it, lest you get accused of being anti-sex.

And now they’ve gone and fucked up Dr. Bronner’s. I’m taking this personally—Dr. Bronner’s peppermint soap is a summer tradition of mine, because it feels really cool and clean when outside feels hot and heavy. I’m not oblivious to some of the double entendres that can be spun out from feeling tingly all over or anything, but that’s the sort of thing that can be sexual without demeaning women. It’s certainly not in the four toxic categories of demoralizing ways to look at female sexuality that not only turn off your thinking individuals, but are repulsive.

You see, when I was a small town girl looking forward to the big city life, one thing I was eager to get away from was the four demeaning ways that female sexuality is portrayed in your more mediocre entertainments, social circles, and past times. Those are 1) women as cute but harmless animals 2) women as nothing but holes you stuff with stuff 3) women as servants and 4) women as children. Or, 1) Playboy 2) much hardcore porn and almost all bad dirty jokes 3) Hooters and French maid costumes and 4) well, as funny as she could be, Marilyn Monroe. Or really any variation of the “women are too dim to know what men are really thinking” viewpoint, which was also sold to me as the god’s honest truth as part of my sex education. Sophistication, to me, was a world where women as sexually desiring, assertive people was considered not only normal, but sexy.

And that’s what pisses me off about American Apparel’s stupid ads. They’re clearly trying to position themselves as a hip, 21st century version of the Gap, but they have very old-fashioned, middle American mediocre sexist views about female sexuality. Like that video, which posits that childish women are sexy to a degree that would have probably crossed Marilyn Monroe’s line. The woman in the video is acting like she just learned how to put soap on her body and needs to show it off for you like a 4-year-old who just learned how to do something, well, more sophisticated than soaping your body. Singing a song or reciting a riddle, I suppose. In case you don’t get the point, she talks like a child, right down to a Cindy Brady-like lisp. Adorable. I suppose you’re supposed to want to applaud her, give her a cookie and then fuck her. I always did get a “Look at these dumb broads getting naked for no real pay” vibe off other AA ads, and this just drives home that’s what this is all about.

Amanda Marcotte
Amanda Marcotte
Amanda Marcotte is a freelance journalist born and bred in Texas, but now living in the writer reserve of Brooklyn. She focuses on feminism, national politics, and pop culture, with the order shifting depending on her mood and the state of the nation.
 
 
 
 
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