Fitch Please! How A Blogger Took On Abercrombie & Fitch

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You know that saying “if you can’t beat them, join them”? We stumbled across something even better recently where it flipped the saying around to “if you can’t join them, beat them.”

There has definitely been a collective need of ‘beating them’ when it comes to that story about Abercrombie & Fitch’s CEO Mike Jeffries comments about his customers and clothing. You know, the comments where he said they only market exclusively to the cool kids and that’s why they don’t make large-sized clothing. Because apparently in his version of “real life” fat people aren’t cool.

Well not only did the entire world and human population turn against him, but some very clever ladies threw some even better comebacks his way and caused a huge stir in and of themselves.

Blogger Jes Baker, who writes at The Militant Baker, modeled a large t-shirt for Abercrombie $ Fitch in a mock photo shoot to prove that ‘cool kids’ actually come in all shapes and sizes. Last Sunday she posted the photos on her blog along with an open letter to Mike Jeffries and the internet went into sharing overtime!

She posed with male model John C. Shay and Arizona-based photographer Liora K documented the process. In her letter to Jefferies, Baker points out that it’s not that he is the first person to call someone fat or exclude fat people from something. But he seems to be out of touch with the world as it is today.

“…The world is progressing in inclusive ways whether you deem it cool or not. The only thing you’ve done through your comments (about thin being beautiful and only offering XL and XXL in your stores for men) is reinforce the¬†unoriginal¬†concept that fat women are social failures, valueless, and undesirable. Your apology doesn’t change this.”

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Instead of going on a full-blown rant about what a sexist, misogynistic fool this old guy is, she uses her grace, intelligence and strength to point the entire situation in a new direction.

“You have also created an incredible opportunity for social change. Never in our culture do we see sexy photo shoots that pair unconventional models with professional models. To put it in your words: “unpopular kids” with “cool kids”. It’s socially acceptable for same to be paired with same, but never are contrasting bodies positively mixed in the world of advertisement.”

Thus the idea for her photo shoot came about. The other great thing she does is try to educate people like Jeffries (and anyone else who may think like he does) that when consumers see images like the ones she posted, they feel uncomfortable as they are visually shocking. This is in large part due to companies like A&F who perpetuate the school of thought that fat women are not beautiful.

It’s as if her diplomatic and thoughtful words are from a therapist speaking to an out-of-control patient. Baker is the more mature person, able to rise above and offer the intelligent opposite way of thinking to his, while Jeffries’ words just seem brash,, immature and pathetic.

“I didn’t take these pictures to show that the male model found me attractive, or that the photographer found me photogenic, or to prove that you’re an ostentatious dick. Rather, I was inspired by the opportunity to show that I am secure in my skin and to flaunt this by using the controversial platform that you created.”

She goes on to call him “brilliant” and a “marketing genius” because it is all about bringing notoriety to a brand and he sure has successfully done that. But what Jes brought to the table in this controversy is even more important and longer lasting: she is showing him what real women are made of and that calling someone a “cool kid” is not great targeting. Is Rebel Wilson not cool? Is Zach Galafianakis not cool? Baker is offering Jeffries the chance to change his mind about social construct and body image and giving him an insight into what the real cool kids think about today. We are much more progressive when it comes to body image.

To read the full letter, including where she signs off saying “P.S. You should know your Large t-shirt comfortably fits a size 22. You might want to work on that” click HERE. It should be noted that Jeffries did make a public apology, but that is not the point. The point is that he thinks the wa he does and we as a collective social voice need to change that.

On that note, did you see Ellen Degeneres’ reaction to the controversy in a monologue dubbed ‘Fitch Please!”? It’s another hilarious comeback on the issue also with a serious message to the apparel company.

Essentially, what Ellen, Jes and many other men and women are saying to Mike Jeffries and his comments is…

AF11

 

11 Comments

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