Friday, January 1, 2010
American Apparel: Sexism vs. Fair Wage
"Gee, I wonder why women get raped"
"Meet Dov Charney (founder of American Apparel). 'Women initiate most domestic violence, yet out of a thousand cases of domestic violence, maybe one is involving a man. And this has made a victim culture out of women.'"
Actual American Apparel Ad. (WTF?)
"Sexism is sooo hip right now!"
American Apparel is supposed to be hip for it's fair wage practices. Because it's clothes aren't made in sweat shops. Because it's clothes are made here in the U.S. American Apparel get's a lot of street cred for this. It's considered responsible to sport a $25 t-shirt from this company because you know the person who made it was paid fairly.
But what if the person who made the shirt was paid fairly, but was also subjected to quite a lot of sexual harassment while at the sewing machine? What if the person who made the shirt isn't allowed to unionize?
What if the people buying the shirts are exposed to soft porn advertising to entice them to buy?
American Apparel gets away with a lot because it isn't a typical company. It can charge more for a cotton tee because we like the idea that the person who made it wasn't being exploited. But the reality is that women are being exploited in the advertising and the production of these clothes.
I know most of the clothes I wear haven't been produced in ethical environments. I can't afford to buy clothes that can claim they were made ethically, just like I can't afford to eat entirely organic food, even though I would like to. But don't fool yourself into thinking you're doing something different by buying American Apparel. You'd just be trading one issue for another; giving up respect for women for your sweatshop-free relief.
It's something to think about.
Don't believe me? Read: