Feminism | Posted by Nellie B on 07/25/2009
In my nominally liberal suburb of Washington, D.C., the sight of two mommies or daddies and their adorable offspring is not uncommon. In fact, the suburb adjacent to mine, renowned as a bastion of hippies, boasts one of the highest numbers of lesbian households in the nation. While pride parades don’t exactly march down the street, HRC Equality bumper stickers are plastered on every other car. So, my community was fairly shocked when the local American Apparel’s “Legalize Gay” window display was destroyed on Wednesday.
The unknown vandal smashed a window, though nothing was stolen, according to the Washington City Paper. The Georgetown location of American Apparel also received a threatening phone call.
Now, I have my issues with American Apparel. Their sexist ad campaigns with half-clothed barely-legal women are blatantly offensive and have come under siege before. Owner Dov Charney was taken to court on charges of sexual harassment. And though the $30 t-shirts are nominally made without sweatshops, I wonder how much of that money goes to the women who sew them in downtown LA.
If anything in the local American Apparel is worthy of destruction, it’s the mannequins with chopped-off torsos, which bend over and thrust out their legging-clad rears toward the street in a come-hither position. Don’t even get me started on the naked butt poster in the store window. Even the store’s supposedly progressive “Legalize Gay” t-shirts have the unfortunate effect of turning a civil rights issue into little more than a fashion statement.
For several months, the outside of American Apparel sported unobtrusive, spot-on (and radical, if it wasn’t added by the store to look more ‘edgy’) graffiti that stated “Welcome to the Gender Box.” Indeed.
Misguided protesters have smashed local shop windows before, ostensibly to make an anti-consumerist statement. This incident, however, was good, old-fashioned American homophobia rearing its head. It goes to show that in this era, at least in Silver Spring, that hating gays is enough to inspire destructive protest against a corporation. Good old sexist advertising is not.
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