American Apparel Advertisements


Group Media Analysis
Diablog 4 Section 003

American Apparel advertisements have been a hot topic of conversation as their models' lack of clothing and suggestive positions send controversial messages to the public about women's gender role and sexuality.

These ads are controversial because the models simply wear one clothing piece American Apparel sells, and nothing else. Therefore the girl's body becomes the main objective, rather than the article of clothing she is wearing. Consequently, this promotes the idea that in order to be beautiful, women must look like these models and be stick-thin, tan, and wanton in order to be deemed desirable. This is obviously a disturbing message for an influential clothing industry to be sending. It would seem more appropriate for them to focus on clothes rather than sex.
These ads are also notorious because they present women as inferior, sexual beings. American Apparel presses the envelope on the societal taboo of public nudity and promiscuity in their posting of public advertisements that show girls lying in positions insinuating they are ready (or in the midst of) sexual acts. This concurs with the Goffman video we watched that talks about "commercial realism" and advertisements "ritual of subordination" that places women touching themselves in endless ways, while lying laterally to suggest they are vulnerable and open to sex. Many of the models seem to be masturbating while wearing American Apparel clothes--thus proposing those specific clothes give her pleasure. The ads also test society's limits on who should be exemplified as sex symbols because many of the models are actually teenage workers at the retail store. This can be a toxic message because people do not typically look the way these models do (who have probably actually have bodies that have been enhanced by Photoshop editing), yet young, influential girls see these ads suggesting this is how they show look and use drastic measures to try and obtain it. It is a conflicting message because society discourages female masturbation and underage sexual practices yet these ads seem to encourage it.

amerian apparel ad.jpg

The Slim Shack
By Kelsey Sievers

Ironically enough, this is a clothing ad for American Apparel. My question is why sex has the power to advertise clothing through a model hardly even wearing any? And how does the position the woman is in help to promote American Apparel?

This ad shows that the media commonly uses sex as a selling tactic. It reinforces the idea that the female gender should be sexed and fragile bodies, employing the common gender role that white women's sexual agency should be coy but inviting and stick-thin. This ad relates to Goffman's concept of "commercial realism" that says women must present themselves this way to be sexually appealing, even though woman typically do not position themselves this way in real life. It supports Goffman's claim that there is no limit to how women touch themselves to emphasize their sexuality. The picture refers to "the ritualization of subordination" in the model's lateral position that presents her as inferior, helpless and sexual. These ads set women up for failure as they try to achieve ideals that are next to impossible to achieve (probably even for model who has most likely been helped with Photoshop editing). This sends the message that to be sex appealing; you should buy American Apparel clothing. However, their claim is invalid as they infer clothing is not what makes a woman beautiful, but the body behind it.


The Tights Ad
By Alyssa Bluhm

The woman in this ad is a porn star named Paola Rey from South America, says this website. It is clearly indicated by her facial expression and bodily position in the photo on the left that she is simulating masturbation.

Having a porn star advertise clothing associates the clothes she wears with the porn industry. The message she sends across in this ad is that American Apparel tights are so comfortable that they make the wearer especially comfortable with herself.

But this message could have been conveyed differently. Those who look at this ad are cursed with the knowledge that they've been involuntarily exposed to pornography, which makes the woman in the ad appear tainted (even without knowledge of her profession). This ad, and nearly every other one in AA's campaigns, objectifies women in their ads, and subsequently the non-models who wear their clothes.

Are ads that sell sex more than clothes considered productive advertising? What does this advertisement accomplish, and who benefits from it? Who is hurt by this ad?


The Socks Ad
By Alyssa Anderson

1. What audience is this ad directed to?
2. What makes this ad sexual?


This ad displays the stereotypical female role of submission. In one class period, we discussed how women naturally sit in more scrunched, tighter positions that take up less room than male's spread out relaxed body position. The model in this picture is sitting in a tight body position, she's hiding her body and the fact she's practically naked behind her legs. Next to this large, demure photo, three little pictures are juxtaposed. They're shots of the same model, from mid-chest up, where her facial expressions are clearly mimicking pleasure, and because we can't see her hands, it's logical to believe she's touching herself. These are in complete opposition to the demure photo, because masturbation is still fairly taboo in society. These images speak straight to young women, telling us we should be shy and innocent, but then be sexual bodies in the bedroom. This ad is fit for either men or women, whether they're 'straight' or 'gay.' This ad is not fit for people who don't fit the gender categories of male or female.

The item being sold is socks. Why is it necessary to have the model half-naked?


The Birthday Suit
By Zhifan Wang

Q1:what's the position of this woman? And what this position mean?
Q2:why American apparel use fitting dress to show women's sexy, and what it mean?

As the advertising picture shows, this woman definitely use a protect position, because her right hand touch her head, and her head slants to the right. Her left hand touches her body slightly. And American apparel use fitting dress to show women's sexy is because it can help to show women's curve more directly. When we think about curve we always think about a word -"soft". When compare to men's advertising picture which show strong image, This picture gives people a message that women are playing a role as 'dependents' in our society. Why? I think because there are some differences between sexes, such as physically and personality differences, etc. These differences require each sex to play a separate role in a social life, also including their jobs. Cause woman maybe much weaker than man in body strong and emotion, they are more suited much more to the roles as care-taker, such as wife and mother and homemaker. On the other hand, man maybe more suit for the performance of duties and protective environment of the home. So they maybe do better in job like policeman and politics where serious responsibilities must be taken on. Maybe in some level we can say that 'Men are to be providers, but women and children are 'dependents'.

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