Abercrombie & Fitch CEO attempts to corrupt younger generations

Personally, I’ve never been a fan of the monotonous prep-school styles of Abercrombie & Fitch, nor have I ever felt the need to venture through the mall in search of the pumped-up music and over-priced merchandise that fills their overwhelmingly perfumed and dimly-lit stores.

Adding to my ever-growing distaste of the company, in a recently released article, Business Insider reported that Abercrombie & Fitch CEO Mike Jeffries refuses to make large-sized clothing because he only wants thin and beautiful people shopping in his stores. Whatever small, curiosity-driven part of me that may have liked to discover what all the hype was about before has now become nonexistent.

Jeffries isn’t exactly a person you wouldexpect to be talking about “attractive all-American [kids] with a great attitude.” Because of his outspoken personality and  never-ending judgment, Jeffries is anything but his targeted customers and is certainly not one to talk. This, and what seems to be the result of one too many Botox injections and brow lifts, make Jeffries ugly, inside and out.

This is not the first time Jeffries and his clothing company has been under fire for being openly offensive: their ads and photos are too suggestive, their sale of padded bikinis to 8-year-olds and thongs to pre-teens has been criticized, and they have been notoriously known, and sued, for “[forcing] less attractive and/or minority employees to work behind the scenes rather than on the floor,” according to LA Times reporter Robin Abcarian. These reports are an outrage and are a representation of Jeffries’s determination to sell his idea of the ideal American teenager at any cost.

If there isone thing Jeffries and much of the media has been successful in it is making people feel insecure about their bodies and the way they look. Every day, teens are bombarded by the images of the overly-sexualized Abercrombie & Fitch ads featuring half-naked teens and their slender-bodied, beach-waved, tan-skinned, “all-American” looks. Their online ads, in-store portraits, magazine ads, and shopping bags all have these faces of air-brushed, beach-bodied girls and guys. These images strongly support the twisted idea that if you don’t look like these models, you’re not one of the “cool kids.” Although Abercrombie & Fitch isn’t the only company to use these marketing techniques, their CEO seems to be the only one that purposely brought it to the public’s attention, a very bad decision for the image of his company in particular.

Despite this fact, Americans have recently begun to train younger generations with the lesson that neither the media nor Abercrombie & Fitch should be the standard for the way they should look. Organizations like SPARK movement, Miss Representation, and the Healthy MEdia Commission advocate positive images of women and teach girls to love their bodies and stop the negative influence that much of the media has on young women in America. Hopefully, these lessons will stick and teenage girls — and even boys, — won’t be sucked into the sick marketing schemes of people like Jeffries.

Jeffries’s definition of the “all-American” teenager is inaccurate; in the real world, the true all-American teenager is one who does not submit to the expectations and stereotypes of the world and knows that she has the freedom to be who she is and that people like Jeffries do not determine the standard for who she should be.

Teens should remember this philosophy and realize that they don’t need to starve themselves just to obsess about squeezing into just another overrated, over-priced pair of Abercrombie & Fitch jeans.