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Girls Group Takes On Abercrombie & Fitch

Old 11-05-05, 11:39 AM
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Girls Group Takes On Abercrombie & Fitch

This has been all over the news in Pittsburgh since a local high school group was behind this.

http://www.pittsburghpostgazette.com...309/601210.stm

Abercrombie & Fitch to pull line of T-shirts
Saturday, November 05, 2005

By Monica Haynes and Moustafa Ayad, Pittsburgh Post-Gazette



Retail giant Abercrombie & Fitch, bowing to increasing national pressure started by a local girls group, has agreed to stop selling several controversial T-shirts.

In a statement released yesterday the company said: "We recognize that the shirts in question, while meant to be humorous, might be troubling to some."

Members of the Allegheny County Girls as Grantmakers program said the T-shirts with slogans like "Who Needs Brains When You Have These" were demeaning to young women and launched a "girlcott" Sunday against the controversial retailer. The protest garnered national media attention, including a segment on the "Today" show and huge public response.

"I think it's really amazing that a group of 20 girls between the ages of 13 and 16 can start and end this kind of movement in less than a week," said Emma Blackman-Mathis, co-chair of the grantmakers program, which is overseen by the Women's & Girls Foundation of Southwest Pennsylvania.

"We're actually very happy with how things have turned out," said Heather Arnet, the foundation's executive director. "This all started with a discussion with the girls about social change and how a small group can make a difference."

She said Abercrombie & Fitch was very responsive to the girlcott because it came from the company's customer base. "We're very proud with how they've handled it and how the girls have handled it," Ms. Arnet said.

Amitte Rosenfield, a sophomore at Allderdice High School in Squirrel Hill and a member of the grantmakers group, said the girlcott was important because young women must not think "it's OK to see them for their bodies, not their minds."

The next step for both sides is scheduling a time for members of the grantmakers program to visit the company's headquarters in New Albany, Ohio, to discuss developing apparel that can empower young women.

"One of our underlining goals for this movement was to actually show girls that they have a voice and that their voice and their dollars have significant value," Ms. Blackman-Mathis said.

The controversy surrounding the shirts is nothing new for Abercrombie & Fitch. The company continually walks a tightrope on the edge of fashion, fending off its retail competitors while thriving on media attention and controversy to remain in its coveted No. 1 position, retail merchandisers, industry analysts and advertisers say."This is really a tough competitive market and it is often difficult to stand out," said Alan Andreasen, a marketing professor at Georgetown University who specializes in consumer behavior and social marketing. "The problem is that it only works for a while and there tends to be a wear out in the long-term."

When the company released a line of shirts following the United States' unsuccessful attempt to garner a gold medal at the U.S. Olympics that read "L is for Loser" alongside a picture of a gymnast, U.S. gymnasts called for a boycott and the shirts were eventually pulled from stores.

In 2003, a catalog bearing pictures of scantily clad men and women caused an uproar that eventually led to the company's retraction of the catalog.

Yet while these instances drew media attention and galvanized groups of people against the company, registers still rang across the country. Last month, Abercrombie reported sales were up 41 percent from last year during the month of October.

Andrea Fitting, president and CEO of the Pittsburgh advertising agency Fitting Group, says Abercrombie's desperate grasp for market share and attention will eventually lead to a serious public backlash -- the key is when.

"It's hard to stay No. 1 when competition is always nipping at your heels," said Ms. Fitting. "So, for them it's this sexual stuff and the hope is this really is going to get people talking about you. But there is going to come a point when this is detrimental to sales because in the end people vote with their wallets and it's not just a few girls and women."
And the original article:

Bawdy T-shirts set off 'girlcott' by teens
Say slogans are demeaning to young women
Thursday, November 03, 2005

By Monica Haynes, Pittsburgh Poslt-Gazette





Perhaps the T-shirt could read: "Who needs demeaning apparel when you have the brains to turn a local protest into a national cause celebre?"

That's just a suggestion to a group of Allegheny County girls who have created a news media maelstrom with their campaign against Abercrombie & Fitch's "attitude T-shirts," which the girls say are demeaning to young women.

One of the offending shirts reads: "Who needs brains when you have these?"

Another states: "Blondes Are Adored, Brunettes Are Ignored."

The two dozen or so girls, participants in the Allegheny County Girls as Grantmakers program, are calling for a "girlcott" of Abercrombie & Fitch stores until the targeted shirts are no longer sold. Girls as Grantmakers is a two-year program in which girls discuss and explore ways to make a difference in the community by reviewing and funding grant proposals designed by peers.

Their protest landed the group's co-chairwoman, Emma Blackman-Mathis, on NBC's "Today" show with Katie Couric on Tuesday, on Fox's "Hannity & Colmes" Tuesday night and on CNN last night. CNN is coming to town this weekend to do a larger segment on the girls.

"We totally didn't expect it to be picked up a) this quickly and b) by the national media," said Ms. Blackman-Mathis, a 16-year-old junior at Schenley High School in Oakland.

The protest began Sunday with a news conference and rally at Chatham College. The girls in the grant-making program also began e-mailing their friends who in turn e-mailed more friends.

"What these girls are saying is we would be happy to shop at your store, but we want you to sell smarter clothing and clothing that doesn't demean your customer base," said Heather Arnet, executive director of the Women and Girls Foundation of Southwest Pennsylvania, one of the Grantmakers program's funders and overseers.

As of yesterday, Ms. Arnet said, her office had received about 400 e-mails and numerous phone calls in support of the girls' campaign.

"We've gotten a lot of responses from girls across the country asking how they can get involved starting things in their schools and in their cities," Ms. Blackman-Mathis said.

In addition to encouraging young women not to buy the controversial shirts, the Grantmakers girls are asking those who agree with their stance to contact Abercrombie & Fitch "to let them know that girls don't think the T-shirts are cool anymore," Ms. Arnet said.

The retailer, which did not return calls seeking comment, released a two-sentence statement yesterday:

"Our clothing appeals to a wide variety of customers. These particular T-shirts have been very popular among adult women to whom they are marketed."

Ms. Arnet said she and the company have been exchanging phone messages. "I feel like there's some movement and we're looking forward to having a conversation with them," she said.

This is not the first time Abercrombie & Fitch has been taken to task for edgy product lines. Earlier this year, parents and anti-drug and alcohol advocates pressured the retailer into removing shirts they said glorified drinking. Some of the shirts read: "Sotally Tober" and "Rum Forest Rum."

Three years ago, the company outraged parents by selling thongs for girls as young as 10, some of which had the words "eye candy" printed inside a tiny heart and "wink wink" inside a small green box. That same year, the company sparked protests over T-shirts that featured racial caricatures of Asians.

Abercrombie & Fitch also caught flak for its 2001 summer catalog, which featured provocatively posed, nearly nude teenage-looking models. Negative publicity forced the retailer to pull the catalogs.

After seeing the "Today" show, Illinois state Sen. Steve Rauschenberger praised the "courageous actions" of the girls in Allegheny County and said he plans to introduce a resolution this week asking Abercrombie & Fitch to stop selling the T-shirts in his state.

"A lot of people don't see it as a civil rights infringement, they don't see it as an issue," said Ms. Blackman-Mathis. "But that's what we're trying to do -- bring it to the forefront of people's attention."

This whole thing seemed like a big waste of time to me. Why chose for other girls what they should be able to wear?
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Old 11-05-05, 11:49 AM
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Is this person (from post above) a male or a female?
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Old 11-05-05, 11:53 AM
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Originally Posted by Sonicflood


Is this person (from post above) a male or a female?
It's a girl. If you saw the TV report, you'd see that alot of the girls who were protesting looked like that, or were dressed very "plainly."

Edit: The TV report is on this page:

http://kdka.com/local/local_story_308220138.html

Last edited by NitroJMS; 11-05-05 at 11:58 AM.
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Old 11-05-05, 12:35 PM
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A) These girls suck.

B) I should go out and buy up all their remaining stock of those shirts and sell them on ebay as the "Highly controversial, now-banned Ambercrombie shirts!"
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Old 11-05-05, 01:29 PM
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If it is okay to have a T-shirt that reads "Boys are stupid. Throw rocks at them."

Then these shirts are fine too.

God forbid any women are offended.
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Old 11-05-05, 01:46 PM
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They're just upset that they couldn't get one of the limited edition "cum dumpster" tank tops.
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Old 11-05-05, 01:48 PM
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I've led a one-person boycott against Abercrombie since they had child-porn catalogs and were selling thong-underwear with "sexy" sayings on them for pre-teen girls. They're not a company I wish to patron. The shirts in question here are things I would be embarrased to have my wife, future daughter, friends wear.

I see nothing wrong with what these girls did. They exercised their freedom of speech to pressure a company to change. The company had every right to ignore them if they wanted to -- Im actually surprised they caved in, because this company thrives on controversy.
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Old 11-05-05, 04:23 PM
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Originally Posted by NitroJMS
It's a girl. If you saw the TV report, you'd see that alot of the girls who were protesting looked like that, or were <b>fugly</b>
fixed.

Last edited by nemein; 09-12-13 at 11:21 AM.
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Old 11-05-05, 04:27 PM
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Originally Posted by DodgingCars
I've led a one-person boycott against Abercrombie since they had child-porn catalogs and were selling thong-underwear with "sexy" sayings on them for pre-teen girls. They're not a company I wish to patron. The shirts in question here are things I would be embarrased to have my wife, future daughter, friends wear.

I see nothing wrong with what these girls did. They exercised their freedom of speech to pressure a company to change. The company had every right to ignore them if they wanted to -- Im actually surprised they caved in, because this company thrives on controversy.
Agreed.

I have serious problems with companies that push suggestive clothing to pre-teens and even young teens. Mid-drift shirts on little girls, two-piece bathing suits for 10 yr olds, etc.....it shouldn't happen. Nothing like starting young girls thinking about how they can objectify themselves for attention.

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Old 11-05-05, 04:33 PM
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Originally Posted by DodgingCars
I've led a one-person boycott against Abercrombie since they had child-porn catalogs and were selling thong-underwear with "sexy" sayings on them for pre-teen girls. They're not a company I wish to patron. The shirts in question here are things I would be embarrased to have my wife, future daughter, friends wear.

I see nothing wrong with what these girls did. They exercised their freedom of speech to pressure a company to change. The company had every right to ignore them if they wanted to -- Im actually surprised they caved in, because this company thrives on controversy.
<-- awaiting the obligatory statement defending this soulless corporation's right to sell whatever morally bankrupt product they want.
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Old 11-05-05, 05:07 PM
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are they also protesting the panties that say "whore" and "pornstar" on them?
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Old 11-05-05, 05:59 PM
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Originally Posted by Cygnet74
<-- awaiting the obligatory statement defending this soulless corporation's right to sell whatever morally bankrupt product they want.
OK, you've got it.

And the girls had an equal right to do as they did.
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Old 11-05-05, 06:01 PM
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Originally Posted by movielib
OK, you've got it.

And the girls had an equal right to do as they did.

Exactly what I was going to say.
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Old 11-05-05, 06:03 PM
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You should at least have tits in order to protest a retail establishment exploiting tits.

Anyone agree?
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Old 11-05-05, 06:20 PM
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See the itty bitty titty thread in the Adult Forum.
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Old 11-05-05, 06:21 PM
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Why? Are they wearing Ambercrombie shirts?
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Old 11-05-05, 06:24 PM
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No, I just wanted to point out that small breasted women are hot.
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Old 11-05-05, 06:24 PM
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I know, t'was a joke.
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Old 11-05-05, 06:26 PM
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Now you tell me.
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Old 11-05-05, 06:42 PM
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Originally Posted by movielib
OK, you've got it.
selling thong underwear to preteens? stereotyping asians? sexualizing children in their catalogs? you think its their right to do so?
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Old 11-05-05, 06:52 PM
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But it's fine if they were older than pre-teens but younger than 18?

I don't know anything about a & f but it seems that there are already so many other fashion lines that targets young girls into dressing slutty but a & f probably does it more blatantly than others - still, other fashion lines may do the same thing but in more subtle ways.
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Old 11-05-05, 06:57 PM
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Originally Posted by Bandoman
No, I just wanted to point out that small breasted women are hot.
they can be hot, if they have a decent face and hair cut, which the one in the pic does not
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Old 11-05-05, 07:18 PM
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Originally Posted by Cygnet74
you think its their right to do so?
Show us a law that says it isn't.
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Old 11-05-05, 07:35 PM
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While I'm not surprised by the responses in here bashing the 14 year old girl in that picture, come on... It's just not right.

Eitherway, Abercrombie & Fitch is an awful store. I feel dirty just walking past it in the mall.

On an unrelated note, I think we should start an otter-cot of something. Any ideas?
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Old 11-05-05, 07:56 PM
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Against Lite Syrup?
Or maybe against snapper cases?
The French? (in general)

-p
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