American Apparel's miniskirt ad is less about selling a skirt and more about representing women in a way that many aren't comfortable with.
Photo credit: Scott Olson/Staff / Getty Images News

American Apparel isn't known for their conservative advertisements — in fact, they are known for the total opposite. And while their new "miniskirt ad" shouldn't be surprising and shocking, it still is, particularly since the clothing is marketed toward young people, like your teenaged child. Are they selling clothes, or are they selling a panty-clad crotch?

American Apparel mini-skirt website ad
Photo credit: American Apparel

Sex sells

Sex sells, and it sells well. Advertisers know this, and some degree of nudity is accepted and really, expected, by consumers. However, the line drawn between sexuality and an overt, controversial butt cheek display may be less obvious than it should be. Is American Apparel going to go down as a company that constantly pushed the line between good taste and soft porn, or are they true marketing geniuses?

Regardless, their methods work because we can't stop talking about them. From the see-through underwear worn by pubic-haired mannequins in their New York storefront to their unique T-shirt depicting a menstruating, masturbating pelvis, the company certainly is eager to hold nothing back (and they have a long history of pushing the envelope, as evidenced by this not-safe-for-work Buzzfeed roundup).

But while they may guarantee more press with their choices, is this really the advertisement we want to see? What we want our kids to see?

The ad isn't about the skirt, just what's under it,
and thus objectifies women.

The up-skirt shot

The ad in question is over-the-top ridiculous. You can see the entire crotch of the model as she bends over, frighteningly similar to what a clandestine, up-skirt shot might show. The ad isn't about the skirt, just what's under it, and thus objectifies women. I must wonder who they are peddling the skirt (or the crotch) to — women who might be skirt shopping, or dudes who don't really wear skirts?

The picture this paints, unfortunately, is that women are worthwhile based on their bodies, how sexy they are and what's in their drawers — essentially, what makes them desirable to the opposite sex. While I do admire American Apparel's American-made standards (there isn't enough of that), it's really too bad that the company also cannot have high standards when it comes to how they choose to portray women in their advertisements.

They don't only sell clothing meant for grownups, either. They sell kids' clothing, from infants on up. The same website you shop at for adorable, simple basics for your baby also features adult clothing that can fit teens. This ad is how the company has chosen to represent itself and how it chooses to feature women. As parents, we look at the world a little differently once we have little boys and girls of our own. And as a parent, to me, American Apparel isn't painted in a positive light.

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