03 February 2010

i was recruited in american apparel by a girl who wasn't wearing any pants.

this is what happens when i go to the dentist.


Soren Lorensen said...

oh dear


I'm sure the clothing is okay (if disgustingly overpriced)but I can never get past the ads; it's porn, excpet the girls have clothes on.

wrenna said...

but the clothing is purportedly not made by someone working for pennies a day, the shirts flatter me and the socks are wacky and long-wearing.

sometimes the porn makes me uncomfortable. one problem around porn is the sort of exploitation of vulnerable people that is potential in making it. i'm not sure how american apparel stacks up. i think that question of what people are comfortable doing and showing is an issue that is part of our wider, highly mediatized visual culture today. i think it is a topic that is easier to talk about when it's aa putting it out there, as opposed to someone's grandfather's seventies porn or whatever young men are or aren't looking at, and what tight mini skirts my young teenaged girl cousins are buying in cheap clothing stores.

when i was a teenager the punk stores had s&m mirroring collars and studded belts and references to burlesque. i don't think i read those things as explicitly sexual in the more expanded and narrativized way i might, or might not, now. a plain oversized t-shirt is not immediately sexy seeming to me in the way that the clothing in women's boutiques is, shaped to flatter necklines, hips and breasts.

i think there is a sense of silliness and forthrightness in what aa does and that appeals to me. so do bright colours. it is deadpan and puts irony out there, problematizing authenticity and encouraging expression. it is a store full of t-shirts and often they will not have the size or colour i want and the employees look bored but busy with something that is not me.

i find more confusing the sort of sensual semi-nude photos that sometimes show up in "thinspo" posts. there women and sometimes teenage girls are explicitly comparing themselves to the models, identifying with some parts of the image and aspiring to others. those are images that create a desire - like porn, like advertising, like fashion shows.

i'm not sure i want the job, but thanks for your input.

thesundaygap said...

A friend of mine weighed in on the American Apparel ad campaign issue, claiming she liked how the models looked "real" - from the odd case of razor burn to "not ideal" (i'm assuming she means not tanned) bodies.

Their campaigns weird me out for a couple of reasons, the silliest of which is that I don't often like the photography.

The more serious reason is that the "realness" that my friend was attracted by is actually kind of a scary advertising tactic. If I code these models as Real, I have difficulty feeling okay about the fact that I don't look like them.

I don't think about these things all the time - I love fashion photography and some ridiculously thin models, and I like many aspects of American Apparel. just thought I'd chime in.

wrenna said...

chime away.

i don't like the harsh florescent light that makes me look like a corpse.

what is it about the photography that you don't like?

it would feel awful to be comparing myself to other people's bodies. it's confidence, a sense of "this is the way things are done," and in-person beauty that intimidate me. pictures are just something to look at, or not, for me.

wrenna said...

i feel like i should say that i consider sexuality another valid aspect of a person and a form of exploring, but one i wouldn't claim to have made sense of.