American Apparel: A Controversial Advertising Campaign

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American Apparel is clothing company based in the United States with a controversial advertising campaign. The advertisements have often been criticized as being demeaning towards women, often showing models in overtly sexual positions acting submissive and weak. These advertisements are proof that sex sells, and this is in large part due to the capitalist nature of America. Capitalism, the mode of production in the western world, influences the nature of culture and production, which in turn influences how young people are able to interact with those they desire (Peiss, 1989). In fact, capitalism and sexuality are so intertwined that many people do not realize it. Take, for example, a girl buying a dress for her prom. Many girls are willing to spend a great sum of money to buy the perfect dress to wear for only one night in order to appeal to others. Her sexuality seduces her to buy the dress (Ingraham, 2002). American Apparel takes advantage of this through the depiction of being sexual to sell products.
Sexuality in this capitalist form is also political, as groups have protested against the overt objectification of women (Gilbert, 2010). Gayle Rubin (1993) created six
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While the model in the picture may seem like a woman of loose morals, she is also demonstrating that it is possible to show off sexuality. By being a symbol for others to follow, this image of being sexually deviant is in fact desirable for girls who struggle with the display of their own sexuality. The very nature of this image appearing in magazines, on the internet, and on billboards tells women that it is okay to be sexual. Thus, even though society creates a hierarchy telling women to suppress sexual urges so they may be viewed in a positive manner, this advertisement is reassuring the same women that they are not alone with their desires and that outwardly showing a bit of sexuality is in fact

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