If you’re involved in any kind of social media, chances are you’ve read about the statement made by the CEO of Abercrombie & Fitch, Michael Jeffries. If not, I don’t want to be the only one who’s holding a torch and pitchfork, so take a look at this….
When I first read about this, I was offended on so many levels: as a curvy woman whose left boob probably wouldn’t fit into an Abercrombie & Fitch’s size L t-shirt; as a parent who is trying like hell to raise kids who are accepting, kind, and respectful of others; and as a decent human being who doesn’t like it when someone acts like an asshole – especially when that asshole is marketing to kids.
When I brought this up with my 14-year old daughter and decisively told her that we would never buy another piece of Abercrombie & Fitch clothing, she got angry…. which in turn made me angry. I wanted her to join in the fight and be as outraged as I was about this man’s prejudicial opinions, but she wasn’t. After a few minutes of bickering back and forth, it was clear that neither one of us wanted to budge. So, we left the subject lying on the ground like a hot coal we didn’t know how to extinguish. She stormed off to school and my head erupted like Krakatoa.
Once I simmered down, I thought about our conversation. In hindsight, I probably should have waited to talk about this when I could approach it logically rather than emotionally. Although, given the fact that this subject is a bit of a hot button for me, I might’ve had to wait until she was collecting social security before I could’ve talked about it logically.
But I should have at least told her what I read and then asked her opinion on the subject, rather than acting like the parent Nazi. Because once you tell a teenager they can’t do something, it becomes irresistible. Even if you pick something they wouldn’t normally have done – like telling them that they’re never allowed to inject puppies with heroin…. you’d better believe some puppies will be tripping before bedtime.
I think my daughter saw not being allowed to wear Abercrombie & Fitch as the social status stock market crash of 2013. Kids like to fit in because it means more friends and less bullying. But often times, fitting in comes with a big price tag – in this case, it’s $58 for a pair of sweatpants…. and your immortal soul.
The message I wanted to send to my daughter, and to Michael Jeffries for that matter, is that it’s wrong to discriminate against someone based solely on his or her appearance. And when we bear witness to that atrocity, we need to rally against it and prove that we care more about justice than we do about the label on our shirt.
I think the only reason Michael Jeffries still has a job, is because he chose overweight people as his target. If he had blatantly stated that he didn’t want any minorities wearing Abercrombie & Fitch, he probably would’ve been fired and then burned over a pyre of his own overpriced clothing (or at least made to pay $50 million dollars in racial discrimination lawsuits like he did back in 2004). But it seems a person’s weight is still fair game in the world of discrimination – whereas discrimination based on race, religion and sex (while still undeniably present) are a bit more taboo, more camouflaged behind bureaucratic bullshit.
It is still socially acceptable to crack a few fat jokes, and portray overweight people in the media as lazy, unattractive and gluttonous. These movie/TV characters are often seen as punchlines, not people – sadly, I think the same holds true off the big screen as well…. especially where Michael Jeffries and his stupid moose boxer shorts are concerned.
By saying that he only markets to “cool and good-looking” kids is the equivalent of saying that he doesn’t want ugly, fat kids wearing his brand (or working in his stores). This guy has balls the size of cantaloupes not only for making such a brazen statement, but also for saying it while looking like this….
But there is one thing I love about Michael Jeffries’ statement – that he shot himself in the foot with it. The world now knows him for the shallow, elitist prick he is, and it’s my fervent wish that his company will be deemed just as pathetic as his attempts to hold onto his youth.