it’s thinking of yourself less.
My Problem With Abercrombie (And How It Might Differ From Yours)
When walking down the mall corridor, The Abercrombie & Fitch logo always stands out on huge banners featuring men’s abs in black and white. Since I already have homemade abs of my own (slightly less toned, but at least mine are in color), I assume that A&F has nothing good to offer me as I walk on by.
I’m sure most of you have seen some of the quotes resurfacing from a 2006 interview with Mike Jeffries, CEO of Abercrombie & Fitch where he reportedly said, “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.”
It’s important for a person who lives under the Lord’s conviction to know how to deal with A&F and the many companies like them. Don’t just want to do the right thing; want to do the right thing for the right reasons. That said, I will continue to not endorse Abercrombie & Fitch, but not because of their explicitly narrow demographic. I withhold my business from A&F because of their marketing morals, not because of their marketing ethics. As a Christian, this distinction very important to me.
Every business has a target demographic; a group of people that they want to sell stuff to. Big & Tall markets big clothes to big guys, Curves markets a comfortable workout experience to women who want to shed some pounds, and Abercrombie markets to “attractive kids.” Personally, I don’t see how targeting any particular size, shape, age, race, or gender is inherently shallow, but there’s much more to a marketing campaign than who its aimed toward.
Ephesians 4:19: Having lost all sensitivity, they have given themselves over to sensuality so as to indulge in every kind of impurity, with a continual lust for more.
A&F pursues young, “cool kids” in very shallow and sexually insulting ways. It is absolutely wrong for Abercrombie (and any other company) to use sexually charged imagery to draw attention to their brand. This is the part about Abercrombie’s marketing that we should be offended by. Here are some other brands that do the same thing: AXE, Hardee’s (a.k.a Carl’s Jr.), American Apparel, PETA, etc. When I don’t support these kinds of companies, I’m doing so to avoid and discourage sexual sin, not because I’m offended that their business model isn’t begging for my patronage. Let’s deal with these companies for the right reasons (their sexual sins) not the wrong ones (whether or not they carry your jean size).
1 Thessalonians 4:3–5: God’s will is for you to be holy, so stay away from all sexual sin. Then each of you will control his own body and live in holiness and honor—not in lustful passion like the pagans who do not know God and his ways.
That Glorious Theft
The wrath and the nerve
When wrath’s justified
By shameful offense
Repent or be left
To this blaze alone
To what I deserve
Was what made no sense
That glorious theft
Of death from my bones
Now I’m the crier
Announcing I serve
A new kingdom since
My soul was bereft,
Then freed. Who’d have known?
Human beings were wired for social interaction long before the internet was around. In our culture where everyone is expulsively shouting their own views, listening can easily be viewed as only necessary to argue one’s position more potently. I’d like to encourage you to be a little more ‘old school’ than that. You see, in my experience, posting a sassy, combative status on your social media of choice will not enlighten or sway anyone’s point of view (I learned this the hard way).
Social media helps us to feel more connected with our friends and acquaintances by posting cute little photos, pictures, and statuses. Now take a deeper issue such as how you define words like marriage and equality. Can you sum up all the angles of your frame of thinking on this issue in 140 characters or less? Of course you can. Now for the tricky part; can you do it in a way that promotes understanding, truth, and love? Let’s be real here, Facebook, Twitter, and Tumblr are not where complex ethical, moral, or civil issues are going to be settled.
So check your news feed. You’ll find it very apparent who needs a good, old fashioned conversation. Try coffee. Try a phone call. Tear down the walls of hostility with good questions and listening ears. When they’re done talking, you’ll get your chance to share. This is how people were made to understand each other.
Walls That Don’t Protect
They stack their stones on levees dry
To try to laugh again.
Their blushing, nervous smiles try,
But fail to hide the sin.
They wove their blindfolds out of shame
Because their eyes were scarred.
Their walls were built to hide the pain;
To hide when life got hard.
Lay down your stoic mask and see
To live is pain, but death can’t heal.
Have grace in grief, let glory be
The joy of life that hurt can’t steal.