Thursday, May 9, 2013

Thank you, Mr. Abercrombie

I pretty much don't ever use my blog to address whatever story is swirling about in the news or on social media.  But there is one that has caught my attention as the parent of  teenager daughter, heck as a parent and as a human being, that I believe deserves a moment.

In case you missed it, the CEO of Abercrombie & Fitch, Mike Jeffries, had some, shall we say, "interesting" things to say about who his stores do and do not cater to.  His comments are as follows:

"In every school there are the cool and popular kids, and then there are the not-so-cool kids," he says. "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." 

I am pretty sure I am not the only person or parent whose reaction to these comments were outright anger, indignation, and disgust.  Who does he think he is anyway? 

Well, for starters, you only have to look back to the 2002 Asian-insulting tee shirt controversy to see that Mr. Jeffries is a racist.  There is really no other explanation for printing and selling any item that is intended to be insulting toward an entire human race and culture.

But by his own comments (and there are many other equally inflammatory ones out there, none of which I will publish here because quite frankly, they are garbage), Mr. Jeffries is a mean girl.

We've all encountered them.  The girls who build their self-image and position off the backs of others, who consider themselves to be beautiful solely because someone else, in their opinion, is not.  Who make fun of others to build themselves up, and exclude anyone that they do not deem to be as pretty, fun, popular, or cool as themselves.  Their whole worth lies exclusively in demeaning other people, and like Mr. Jeffries, they think that is "cool".   Even if you've never personally encountered one, you've likely seen the movie "Mean Girls" and know exactly what I'm talking about. 

Mr. Jeffries is the Regina George of clothing CEO's.  He has built an entire clothing brand based on the same model....building up himself, his store, and sadly his clientele up solely by belittling others.

But what they really are, are bullies.  Sad bullies at that, because take all the "uncool" people away and their self-worth becomes completely baseless, and that is sad. 

Instead of being angry, however, I'd like to thank Mr. Jeffries.  Yup, I said it.  Why?  Because he just handed me a fantastic reason for my teenager to never shop there. 

I've never particularly cared for stores like his (or Hollister), that use sex as a selling point and that cost way to much for way too little material.  But my daughter wants to fit in, and other people wear them. 

However, my daughter, while definitely not a saint, DOES understand the concept of mean girls.  She has been on the receiving end, and we have frequent discussions about not becoming one.  She also understands the concept of being a bully.  She doesn't like them, and neither do I.  So now that I am done being a bit indignant and angry, I'd like to thank you, Mr. Jeffries, for making my job as a parent that much easier, and for exposing yourself for what you truly are, which is anything but cool.

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