Ambercrombie & Dickhead

I was at our local mall on Saturday and wandered into Ambercrombie & Fitch as lately they have seemed like a signpost of the oversexualized teen zeitgeist. In the “boys” section of a large store, which the clerk said was sized for 14 year olds, I came upon this display of Tee Shirts. Now I’m sure that these shirts were designed with a great deal of irony and attitude–but do the girls these 14 year olds hang out with really think these messages are cool?

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0 Responses to Ambercrombie & Dickhead

  1. Jack says:

    Incidentally, I was talking on the phone with my 13-year-old brother while reading this, and I asked him what he thought of Abercrombie clothes. He said it’s “for people who try too hard.” Little bro’s wisdom ushered on a sigh of relief.

  2. zak says:

    Surely there was man candy on display as well. . . I get a kick out of the superiorly chiseled male models the store pays to standard shirtless at the front entrance. . . are they appealing to gay men, the insecurities of heterosexual men (owning A&F is as close as I’ll get to looking like that), or the women who enjoy the reverse sexual objectification for a change (who then enter the store and possibly by something on impulse).

    Not that I would ever stop to gawk for the sake of gawking, I merely pause with friends to have an academic discussion of this sort of marketing technique.

    Have you seen the MissBimbo site? 200,000 tween users in the first month, site hits sky rocketed once the media started covering it. Girls started out with a lingerie clad avatar. They can opt for cosmetic surgery and trampy attire to be the best bimbo of them all. After the uproar the founders removed the diet pills from the online game. . . their response to complaints about what sort of message this online community was sending to young girls. The founders too said they designed the site to be ironic (they were inspired by Paris Hilton and friends), but what 9 year old girl is picking up on it?

  3. zak says:

    In 2005, teen girls launched a national boycott of A&F for their tees for girls.

    With These, Who Needs Brains?
    Blondes Are Adored, Brunettes Are Ignored
    Do I Make You Look Fat
    No Money, No Car, No Chance

    I can only imagine the slogans they’re using now

    “Thomas D. Lennox, Abercrombie & Fitch’s vice president of corporate communications, said, “Our T-shirts are sometimes controversial, which we’re fine with.” He declined to elaborate.”

  4. Ashly Sells says:

    Surprisingly so, I do think that girls this age think these types of messages are “cool”. I believe that Abercrombie is trying to keep up with today’s advanced generation and what excites/interests them by placing these very advanced logos on their tshirts. Unfortunately, I think that this attitude and irony used is TOO advanced, and that the company should not encourage this young generation to grow up any faster than they really are. As for the more adult sizes, for adults, this type of language is ok to use, although it may be too immature. Abercrombie altogether has lost its innocence anyway, as they have half naked male models standing at their store entrances.

  5. P. Cross says:

    What do you expect, bones thru the nose and ears, piercings all over, tato’s all over, big boobs everywhere, big equipment, people of character all. Where did you say that Abercrombie store is located?

  6. Dan says:

    If I have any understanding of the attitudes of today’s youth, the ever stronger preoccupation with sex, especially with gorilla-like virility on the part of the males and vampy hooker appeal on the part of the females, is their form of rebellion. That’s the only thing they can come up with to rebel about. (“They” being the large majority of modern youth. There are always exceptions.) Believe me, I know from personal experience, that nothing can be more irritating than a 13-year-old telling you to your face that you don’t know anything, literally, not ANYthing, about sex, and you have no right to even try to tell her what is and isn’t appropriate or safe.

    So I’m not surprised that the messages on their clothes (or in the skimpiness of their clothes) is frequently, “I’m screwing everybody I meet.”

    Even so, I don’t understand how a 17-year-old boy can talk to his own mother while wearing a “Got MILF?” t-shirt. One of my favorite phrases for the last few years has been, “America is one big happy trailer park now.”

  7. John Hurt says:

    “America is one big happy trailer park now.”

    One of the surprising results of the Reagan Revolution.

  8. John Hurt says:

    Actually, more accurately named, the Reagan Counter Revolution.

  9. rhb says:

    How do we now define Victorianism let me count the ways. Was it Nancy who brought us “just say no”? Is it truly sex ed when the only message is don’t? Fear weighs in. That school teacher might endoctrinate my child somehow. Let the parents teach it at home where the real values are. In a free market society anything that sells is good. Howzatformorality? Too late we notice that the child is past our understanding. Youtube? MySpace? Youporn?

    Last month my sister-in-law caught her 12 year old daughter sending nude pictures of herself to friends on her phone. Her response was instant rage even though the daughter who had been witness to the mother’s secret affair that led to a divorce didn’t seem to care.

    Cause and effect. American Idol ized. Watch Dancing with the Stars, the young kids’ version. Whose hips are wiggling now?

    So back to the top, the school’s ban those tee shirts. Who but a brainless idiot wouldn’t guess that the kids might rebel and the businesses whose livelihood these kids are wouldn’t respond with some plastic, yes I use that word in the old sense of fake, way?

    As Lenny Bruce once said, or was it George Carlin, the only way to deal with this is to go towards it, embrace it, overwhelm it with acceptance until finally it can be seen to be the meaningless thing it is.

  10. P. Cross says:

    John Hurt, where did that come from, unless Bill learned how to get a BJ in the Oval office from Ronny, something I am unaware of. splan please.

  11. Dan says:

    rhb, when it’s your 12-year-old daughter sending the pictures, you might not think it’s meaningless.

  12. John Hurt says:

    Hadn’t heard that one before, P Cross?
    I understand your perplexity, but why the bad language?

  13. Ian Wright says:

    The last time I went into the Abercrombie at The Grove I felt like I was walking into the Indiana Jones ride at Disneyland. Granted, the company was founded as a wilderness supply retailer, but it seems as thought the image has been transformed into that of an animalistic frat party. It doesn’t surprise me one bit to see these sorts of ideas plastered all over “boys” clothing. I feel this goes pretty hand in hand with the “cherry girl” thongs they were marketing towards 12-year-old girls.

  14. Another Jon says:

    Is Abercrombie the Anton Chigurh of the fashion world?

  15. zak says:

    MadTV used to do the best spoofs of A&F.

    The very popular compilation of skits:

  16. P. Cross says:

    John Hurt, Bill Cintons white house, he made it a subject at the worlds dinner table. Don’t blame me blame him for once.

  17. Pingback: abercrombie & fitch parodies from MadTV « SchizoFrenetic

  18. Brendan K says:

    Starts and ends with parents….dont buy the shirts, dont allow the shirts. I wasnt allowed to were “gang” shirts or shirts that were sexually suggestive. I went to public school in Los Angeles and was not allowed, by school standards, to were certain shirts. It is not that rare for adults to show at least a little savvy, control and restraint when allowing certain clothing to be worn. Lets get real and put blame on those who can choose. The children, the kids, the people wearing the shirts, they have no idea what they are doing. And, as it turns out, neither do the parents.

  19. rhb says:


    The confusion that exists in the mind of the adult who tries to live their child’s life as though it is their own is what is so meaningless. I might rage against the danger she is courting but still it is her life not mine. She has to make the choices and suffer and learn from the consequences. I can, and did with my own children, only help when asked. Otherwise my helping/protecting just becomes a postponement. When does a child become an adult in their own mind? It’s when he or she makes that first decision on their own, tells that first lie to protect their sovereignty, and stands up for the self that it needs to be. Our job as adult is to deal will the marketplace of the real world and effect the change there that will stabilize and keep the world moral and sane. Until we do that, we have no room to criticize the dilemma in which our children find themselves. Oh by the way, meaningless in this context is meant to mean rendered powerless as a symbol of protest.

  20. John Hurt says:

    Must you perpetuate this vulgarity?

  21. Alex Wright says:

    I am equally surprised with the shirts that are coming out for young girls. My little seven-year old sister wanted to buy a shirt, when she was six, that said Pussy-Cat Lounge with a very suggestive image on the front. Thank goodness my stepmother said no, but I was so shocked that shirts to sexually explicative existed for children as young as six. I think that perhaps children today are too bombarded with sexual images, so the clothing companies figure why not just them on their clothing as well? Sex does sell. Unfortunately.

  22. rhb says:

    It sells but that may not be the message here. It isn’t sex that is the message, I am open, I am aware, I am unafraid to speak is. The admen seem to have figured out that the subordinate goal is independence even if it is made up. We see sex in the message because of our cultural upbringing but a six year old may see that the message means he or she is older. I am trying to remember a film, I think it was called “Wild in the Streets” that took a satirical look at the idea of “not trusting anyone over 30”. I remember it ended with a group of young children changing the message to “anyone over 20”.

  23. melissaxmarie says:

    i think the majority of girls sadly don’t care either way about shirts like these.

    if anything, guys wear the shirts to impress other guys. their guy friends think the shirts are cool and compliment. it has very little to do with actual girls at all.

  24. I have been a big fa/user of irony and sarcasm since my teen years, and not once has it got me laid. Not even second base.

    Based on life experience, t-shirt slogans that would encourage carnal activity would include:

    “I can cook.”
    “Stable employment and socially responsible.”
    “Hey, let ME do the dishes.”

  25. P. Cross says:

    The problem with asking others to be responsible is that it requires us to be responsible too.

  26. Jon Taplin says:

    justanotherblogger- You should take that idea to Old Navy! A rival line of Tee Shirts for the new age.

  27. Aberzombie does serve a useful purpose for me. It tells me which people to avoid. Popped collars also achieve this.

  28. Dan says:

    One of my favorite T-shirts sports a silhouette of a crabby old lady stooped over a walker, and the legend “It’s Go Time.” Sums me up just about perfectly.

    I have plans to use my own mediocre cartooning skills to come up with other designs along the lines of “We’re Here, We’re Easily-Irritated Long-Winded Gasbags, Get Used To It”.

    Also maybe one that says, “Are Those Market Signals Or Are You Just Glad To See Me?”

  29. rhb says:

    Thanks for the laughs, Dan and JustAnother.

  30. Rick Turner says:

    Ahhh, I remember when Abercrombie & Fitch were somewhere between Brooks Brothers and L.L. Bean in their goods and marketing. Nice place to get a case for your Purdy side-by-side 16 ga. upland bird gun…if you couldn’t get a bespoke case made or make it to Harrod’s… It was very much for the Tanqueray and tonic set…or Bombay Sapphire…mosquito netting and nice leather luggage for the Jaguar boot.

  31. zak says:

    Just wanted to come back and share an article about A&F’s “Hierarchy of hotness”

    You must be deemed hot by management in order to work the floor — or else you are sent to the storage closet to fold clothes and unpack new items.

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