If only American Apparel were MORE cutting edge

Just when you thought I had fulfilled my vag quota of the month with The Great Wall of Vagina, American Apparel went and pulled this stunt.


Mannequins with pubes – thick, uncontained, woolly pubes. Well I can’t stay silent, can I? You’d want to know what my thoughts are on the subject, wouldn’t you?

Everyone has a special interest, after all. There are those who could spend all day talking about sports, for example. Why, we’re coming up on that big American football game that has everyone all a flutter. There has been quite a din surrounding it. There hasn’t been quite as much conversation about CTE, chronic traumatic encephalophathy, suffered by professional football players as well as hockey players and wrestlers as discussed in Frontline’s documentary A League of Denial, but there is plenty of conversation about who is going to win this big game. And when we add the rumors about who may be appearing in the big halftime show, well I say,  “Brain injuries, shmain shminjuries!” But sports aren’t my bag.

Me? Well, I’d rather talk about something that I know more about, something that’s below the belt, and I don’t mean untoward. Salacious, occasionally but not uncomely. I’d hope often comely actually.

Back to American Apparel and bushy muffs.

A reporter from The Huffington Post spoke to an associate at the store, who said that the mannequins went up at 3am on Thursday morning and were meant to convey the “rawness and realness of sexuality.” They’re aimed at drumming up sales around Valentine’s Day.

Clearly, the campaign succeeded in meeting its goal – to attract attention in the streets and in the media. Well done, American Apparel. Will that attention lead to more sales? I suppose if the store is top of mind, more shoppers will consider a visit. And if an afro bursting out of the sides of granny pants is supposed to make us think about buying something special for our valentines, then revenue will surely increase.  Still, I wonder why they associated the rawness and realness of sexuality with 1970s grooming and underwear that reminds me of those disposable, mesh panties I wore after giving birth.


In 2011, American Apparel ran this Peek-a-Pube ad. Aside from the fact that the model is uncomfortably young, for a middle-aged mom like me to be ogling, at least she is an attractive girl wearing fashionable panties striking a pose that suggests she might be interested in some intimate  attention.

As a potential buyer, of the lingerie that is, I’d much rather associate my raw sexuality with this live model and her groomed bits and lacy panties than the synthetic version with unfashionable thigh high hosiery, granny pants and recycled spectacles meant to be shipped to poor, developing nations.

When I used to work at a hip, young, irreverent media company, we handled complaints from parents about crossed lines with, “Well, you are not our intended demographic. If you don’t understand or if you are offended by our message, we have clearly done our job.” It’s highly possible that I am too old to understand American Apparel’s take on raw sexuality, and therefore, they may be the winners. But did they really appeal to a younger demographic that may consider this approach to be cutting edge? I personally wish they had been more cutting edge – as in cut the edge around those muffs! But that’s just one older lady’s view of lady bits.

If you’re planning to gift lingerie on Valentine’s Day, where will you be shopping?

5 thoughts on “If only American Apparel were MORE cutting edge

  1. You can kind of hear the marketing department sitting around the table talking about how “out of the box” (pun intended) this campaign will be. It will appeal to our feminist instinct to be bushy, they’re thinking, women will appreciate it because if it weren’t for the men in our lives, we’d be less groomed. It’s so provocative! Edgy! Pushing the envelope! At the very least, one junior woman at the table (who prefers to be groomed herself) thought, it will get attention, which of course it did.

    Great column!!

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