American Apparel Ads: Sexy Or Sexist?

The giant billboard ad for American Apparel on Houston Street in NYC—of a woman wearing only tights, bent over, legs spread—was defaced this week when someone spray painted "Gee, I wonder why women get raped?" Initially we were all, "Misogyny!" But after further consideration, and noticing that this graffiti actually has correct punctuation and everything, we were wondering if this wasn't a social commentary. American Apparel immediately replaced the ad with a different one, featuring a model who is actually wearing a top. But no matter what A.A. puts in that space, it's always attention grabbing, and pushes the envelope. Alex Goldberg and I hung out in front of it and asked passersby what they thought of the campaign, and why they think women get raped.

Illustration for article titled American Apparel Ads: Sexy Or Sexist?

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Rooo sez BISH PLZ

@tstrizz: Privately versus publicly visible in a city of - what are we up to now, 10 million? 11? - and controllably small (in a magazine, for example), versus HUGE AND IN YOUR FACE. It's much more confrontational that way, and isn't there something in the Grand Advertising Bible about "always pushing the edge"?

That's all I can come up with; I'm still wrestling with whether the graffitist was gender-conscious or a violent misogynist asshole lurking and waiting to act.

I think it's pretty disconcerting that the image is sufficiently "blank" that the graffiti can be read either way. The model is a person. Damn.