Abercrombie & Fitch has been feeling the heat from consumers after a 2006 statement made by the company’s CEO Mike Jeffries resurfaced in a viral protest.
“In every school there are the cool and popular kids, and then there are the not-so-cool kids,” Jeffries said to Salon.com. “Candidly, 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.”
Well, Jes Baker, the woman behind ‘The Militant Baker’ blog, is challenging the company’s brand statement with a series of black & white spoof ads. By changing the logo to “Attractive and Fat’, the size-22 Baker photographs alongside a male model to prove that “cool kids” do come in all shapes and sizes.
“The only thing you’ve done through your comments is reinforce the unoriginal concept that fat women are social failures, valueless, and undesirable. Your apology doesn’t change this,” Baker writes in an open letter to Abercrombie & Fitch’s CEO on her blog.
The letter continues:
“Never in our culture do we see sexy photo shoots that pair short, fat, unconventional models with not short, not fat, professional models. To put it in your words: ‘unpopular kids’ with ‘cool kids’. It’s socially acceptable for same to be paired with same, but never are contrasting bodies positively mixed in the world of advertisement. The juxtaposition of uncommonly paired bodies is visually jarring, and, even though I wish it didn’t, it causes viewers to feel uncomfortable. This is largely attributed to companies like yours that perpetuate the thought that fat women are not beautiful. This is inaccurate, but if someone were to look through your infamous catalog, they wouldn’t believe me.”
Baker’s viral opposition to the company’s size-ism issue is one in a sea of many. Another protest that garnered some attention was a Change.org petition created by a teenage-eating disorder survivor. With the support of 70,000 signatures, Benjamin O’ Keefe called for the company to embrace plus-size beauty and to produce clothing with larger sizes. Although Abercrombie & Fitch offered a public apology in response to the petition, they have done little else to solve consumers’ issue with the brand.