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June 12, 2010 / missmarymax

Urban Outfitters Culture Jam.

I’m busy being squeeful at the moment, after a day brimming with advocates, activists, and accolades…  So, rather than a full critique, here’s a quick bit of culture-jamming, inspired by the rage of last week’s Urban Outfitters’ fail.  The image is altered from their online ad for the “Eat Less” t-shirt at the core of the controversy.  After feminists, activists, and other rad folk raged against the machine, the shirt was pulled from Urban’s online store.  It is reportedly still being sold in some stores, however. 

Personally, I’d be a lot quicker to buy the one on the far right.

UrbanOutfittersCultureJam

…But not from American Apparel, preferably.  Their recently-leaked hiring policies (which include mandates against “trashy” Black girls, in favor of ones with “good hair”) are starting to steal the spotlight from Urban’s disaster.  Personally, I think we have the energy and resources to pursue this nonsense on both fronts.  Call it the radical’s reinvention of Ye Olde Double Feature.

And if you need an activist’s pick-me-up after that look into the seedy underbelly of fashion merchandising, check out this relevant culture-jamming project, which remains one of my all-time faves:

American Able, via Holly Norris and Jes Sachse.

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6 Comments

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  1. Ily / Jun 12 2010 11:51 pm

    Not to over-comment (I tend to do that :-P), but the American Apparel thing just makes me so mad. They’re the only clothes I know of that aren’t made in sweatshops, so if it wasn’t for the rest of their inappropriate behaviors, I would probably shop there almost exclusively. (And they don’t even know how to spell “Doc Martens”.) Guess it’s thrift stores for me… :-/

    Also annoying was most of the comments to the Urban Outfitters story, which say that “Eat less” is something Americans desperately need to hear. Uh…maybe from your doctor, if they think your weight is impacting your health. From a shirt? No. Again, I would shop at UO, but none of their clothes fit me (apparently breasts are more than they bargained for), so screw that.

    If the shirt was a “commentary against consumption”, as some people are saying, it would be written on a shirt with a marker a la Kurt Cobain’s “Corporate magazines still suck”, not manufactured by a giant corporation (probably in sweatshops for that matter). That an overpriced, unnecessary product could critique consumption is a ridiculous concept.

  2. missmarymax / Jun 13 2010 1:06 am

    Ily: There’s seriously no such thing as over-commenting, as far as I’m concerned. I love comments. Without them, I start feeling like I’m writing into a void… which I could do with a notebook. Blogs are all about the discussion. 🙂

    I’ve heard a couple of people make the same point about American Apparel, and how disappointing it is since their clothes are ethically made. Unfortunately, far more of them are making the “omg, obesity epidemic!111!!” comments. I swear if I could lock the entire American society in a room for a few hours and complicate one ideology… (ok, we all know I couldn’t decide. But the “obesity epidemic” and the idea that weight is a health risk would be at the top of my list…) Also: your point about where a critique on consumption can logically originate from is so true. I’m really glad you pointed that out.

  3. Ily / Jun 13 2010 6:49 pm

    Ooh, yay 🙂

    It’s like now that there’s an “obesity epidemic”, it’s suddenly a field day for calling fat people lazy, lacking in discipline, a drain on our resources, the downfall of Western civilization, etc. This is all in the Huffington Post comments about the “Eat Less” shirt. Apparently this is okay because it’s “your fault” if you’re fat. Uh, not that simple, sorry. If it was easy to lose weight, there would be very few overweight people. (And let’s not even get started on social factors like availability of healthy food in poor neighborhoods or the fact that everything is built around cars, so people can’t be as physically active.) Then people say, “I worked hard to lose weight, so everyone else should do the same”. God forbid someone have other priorities than losing weight.

    The “health” thing is always turned around whenever a thin person says, “I want to eat healthier” and then everyone says, “Why? You’re already thin.” It’s not really about health, is it?

  4. Ily / Jun 14 2010 12:57 am

    Well, since you encouraged me, I loved this article and it reminded me of this post:

    http://www.washingtoncitypaper.com/blogs/sexist/2010/06/11/why-wedding-weight-loss-isnt-about-health/#more-10839

  5. missmarymax / Jun 14 2010 2:48 pm

    Yes, yes, yes, yes, yes. For the vast majority of people, (unfortunately including a lot of the “experts” who are educating us about health), healthy = thin. The entry I just posted relates to that thinking — and to the “obesity epidemic” (big air-quotes on that one)… and I was pretty devastated to read an interview with Michelle Obama in which she refers to heart disease, etc, as “weight-related illnesses.” The implication there is always that these issues are a) caused by weight (as opposed to poor nutrition, poor exercise, genetics, etc) and b) caused by being *over*weight. Sorry, but heart attacks are also a leading cause of death among people with anorexia. It is so frustrating to me that people (especially people in positions of power) continue to take for granted logic that is not logical.

    p.s. That article? IS FANTASTIC. Officially ganking it, to share with the world.

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