While I agree that Abercrombie & Fitch CEO, Mike Jeffries is a huge douche, I'm not entirely sure why there's this sudden outrage over statements he made six years ago to Salon magazine where he's quoted as saying:
“In every school there are the cool and popular kids, and then there are the not-so-cool kids,” he told the site. “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. Those companies that are in trouble are trying to target everybody: young, old, fat, skinny. But then you become totally vanilla. You don’t alienate anybody, but you don’t excite anybody, either,” he told Salon.
People, this isn't news. Almost everyone who shops at A&F, if they can get past the hideous stink of whatever that crap is they insist on spraying in their stores - which you can't wash out of your clothing without using copious amounts of vinegar (yes, I know this from experience, as I've bought both Meg and Gaby clothing from A&F in the past)knows that their line of clothing is marketed towards people who are, dare I say, at healthy to anorexic weights? And yes, their clothing for girls and women doesn't go past a large while they go up to an XXL for boys and men - which I can understand to a certain point because generally boys and men have larger frames, but on the other hand, as a nation, females are an average size 14 - but I guess that's unacceptable in A&F terms.
So, anyone with even only one functioning eye and basic comprehension skills can walk into an A&F store in any mall across America and see that in the last six years, their marketing strategies haven't changed, yet here we are, getting our collective panties in a bunch, just now?
"Fat chicks" get it. We aren't part of the in-crowd . . . but that's a crowd that we've all ALLOWED men like Jeffries to define for far too long. More and more of us are starting to care about ourselves and not let dicks like this define our self worth by the size of our clothes or the number on a scale. That doesn't mean we don't need to lose some of the flab, it just means we're getting better about pushing back when it comes to assholes like this who seek to undermine the slow progress we're making in teaching ourselves and our daughters (and sons) about being healthy, happy, and having self esteem.
Maybe Jeffries does have this singular vision of Nazi-like "All American youth" in which the girls are all beautiful with nary a hint of cellulite or pimple, have perfectly coiffed hair, and the boys all play football or are water polo Olympians, and are ruggedly good looking; the company has a long-standing and admitted reputation of being outrageously insensitive. However, it's our job as parents and mentors to our children and the young people around us, and to our fellow sisters and brothers in the global community, to push back against asinine volleys lobbed at us from the likes of Jeffries and his lowly toadies that obviously salivate in his presence. It's also our obligation to raise children who are capable of making the conscious choice of whether to value the physically pleasing aesthetics of those they surround themselves with, or to place a higher value on how those people treat them, their compassion, and their humanity.
That doesn't mean you raise your kids to be compassionate, caring, humane, but fat slobs. As much as you have an obligation to raise kids who are socially moral, you also need to make sure you are instilling in them a sense of health and wellness at the same time . . . not with the goal of making sure they and wedge themselves into a pair of size 0 Abercrombie & Fitch jeans, but that they can live a long, healthy, happy life. It's also our job, as a nation, to make sure we all have access to nutritious food - alas, that's a topic for an entirely other post.
The way I see it, you have a choice. You can sit there and continue to call out Mike Jeffries on his exclusive marketing practices, along with those of other fashion marketers who seem to have an eye towards only providing fashion for [their definition of] the beautiful people, and this includes all of the ways the media and society emphasize this notion - including social media, or you can get off of your collective asses and start being the role models our children need and stop abdicating that role to Jeffries and men and women like him.
Yes his statements are sexist, elitist, and size-ist, and you might not like it, but we have all helped push Mike Jeffries to where he is today. We've allowed his notion of what perfect children look like and whether they're worthy of society's acceptance or not, to permeate our lives. As long as we keep buying what he's selling, nothing will ever change, and we'll still live with this vicious cycle of righteous indignation and outrage every time someone like him makes these sort of comments.