August 15, 2014

‘Fuelling Lolita fantasies and rampant sexism’: American Apparel accused of ‘resorting to underage porn’ to sell its ‘Back to School’ range of miniskirts (The Daily Mail)

By Stephen Johns
7 August 2014
The Daily Mail

Fashion brand American Apparel was last night attacked for an ‘abhorrent’ advertising campaign featuring provocative images of models posing as schoolgirls.

One advert for a miniskirt from its Back to School range was labelled ‘underage pornography’.

In the photo a model is seen from behind, bending over with her legs and part of her buttocks and underwear on display.

The company also sells a range of crop tops called ‘Lolita’, a reference to the controversial novel by Vladimir Nabokov about an older man’s sexual infatuation with a 12-year-old girl.

The American Apparel website, which is aimed at young people, sells a collection of clothing and accessories under the heading School Days. It features the tagline: ‘Your first assignment is to dress accordingly.’

Pictures show models in thigh-skimming skirts and midriff-revealing tops standing beside school lockers.

Yesterday, a children’s charity called the advertising disgraceful and asked parents to stop their children from buying the items.

Peter Bradley, from Kidscape, said: ‘It’s something we find abhorrent. It’s about using underage pornography to sell products and the sexualisation of children, which cannot ever be justified.

‘A School Days campaign is aimed at children under the age of 16.

‘Would the company’s board members let their daughters wear these miniskirts?’

Mr Bradley added: ‘I would like to see parents not allow their daughters to buy such clothes.’

Of the image looking up a model’s skirt, he said: ‘It’s a provocative photograph, verging on soft porn. How can it in any way be connected with “School Days”?’

The Back to School photograph, which was posted on the brand’s UK Instagram account, has now been taken down.

Similar images that appeared on the company’s website also appear to have been removed.

As well as the tartan tennis skirt they advertised, the collection features a range of items that are inappropriate for school wear, including crop tops, nail polish, high heels and a leather miniskirt.

Conservative MP Caroline Nokes, who is chairman of the all-party parliamentary group on body image, said: ‘The images used by American Apparel are completely inappropriate, especially when used under the strap line of School Days.

‘The images serve only to objectify and sexualise women and I feel American Apparel are being extremely irresponsible with their desire to be “controversial”.’

Critics of the campaign were quick to express their disgust at the photograph on social media.

Many deemed it sexist and said it objectified women. One Twitter user wrote: ‘American Apparel – their “back to school” skirts fuelling Lolita fantasies and rampant sexism aplenty.’

Simon Revington said: ‘The @americanapparel Back to School campaign is in poor taste. It’s borderline softcore porn. Clumsy concept sends wrong msg.’

Another Twitter user tweeted: ‘American Apparel’s latest advert is horrendous.

‘I understand “sex sells” but not when it’s “back to school”. Who on earth came up with that?!’

One female Instagram user said: ‘Never thought @americanappareluk would need to resort to porn to sell. Underage porn nonetheless. Shameless.’

It is the latest upset to hit the fashionable clothing company after its founder Dov Charney was sacked in June amid a flurry of scandals.

And this is not the first time it has faced controversy over its unusual advertising.

In March, it met with a storm of criticism for an advert published in a magazine that featured a topless ex-Muslim model with the words ‘Made in Bangladesh’ printed across her chest.

Last year, the retailer was labelled ‘sexist’ and ‘sleazy’ for advertising a unisex shirt using half-naked women alongside a group of fully clothed male models.

The business now has 10,000 employees and 249 stores in 20 countries, including the US and the UK. American Apparel did not respond to requests for comment last night.

Original source

National Center on Sexual Exploitation

Founded in 1962, the National Center on Sexual Exploitation (NCOSE) is the leading national organization exposing the links between all forms of sexual exploitation such as child sexual abuse, prostitution, sex trafficking and the public health crisis of pornography.

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