I remember walking through the mall as a teenager and staring in the windows of Abercrombie & Fitch. I longed to shop where the cool kids bought their clothes.
Cue Macklemore’s “Thrift Shop” song: “$50 for a t-shirt?”
Instead, I dreamed of a day where I could walk back in there with cash in hand. Of course, that never happened and now I simply reminisce about the day my pre-babies body fit into clothes like that.
But after the snooty comments Mike Jeffries, Abercrombie & Fitch’s CEO, said this week about who’s good enough to wear the brand, he made certain that my children will never long to wear the company’s clothes. And with any hope, by the time my kids are old enough to wear named-brand clothes, the store won’t even exist anymore. Why am I so hostile?
Here’s what Jeffries said: “In every school there are the cool and popular kids, and then there are the not-so-cool kids. 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.”
Yes, he really did say that.
What an awesome message to be sending to our young people. Let’s just tell them that in life it only matters if you are pretty and popular. No need for an education, no need to actually have goals and ambition – just be pretty and popular.
But the part that gets me enraged – teens believe this crap.
Teens so badly want these clothes because they so badly want to be popular. Then, when a teen who might not be a size 0 or 2 tries on a size large, sees that it is entirely too small for a human body to ever fit in, they then think something is wrong with them. They think THEY are the problem, not the company making ridiculously small and offensive clothing. The last thing we need is to add another body image challenge at our teenagers.
I have a theory.
I’m guessing that Mr. Mike Jeffries, who is now in his 60’s, was the dorky kid growing up. Heck, maybe he was overweight. And now he is thinking that because he is rich and famous that he is popular. What he doesn’t realize is that he will never truly be liked. Yes, folks will kiss his butt, but at the end of the day, he will be that creepy old guy who sells teenage clothing and wishes he could fit into it himself.
Danielle Herzog is married and a mother to two children. Read her every Wednesday on momaha.
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