A&F: Bad Press Over Bikinis for Grade Schoolers
Abercrombie & Fitch is no stranger to controversy. The
chain has taken plenty of heat over the years for its photo depiction of partially
clad models. A story on "group sex" led the company to end publication,
albeit temporarily, of its A&F Quarterly in 2003.
The latest issue
may prove to be even more serious after the chain came under fire for marketing
push-up bikini tops to girls between seven and 14 years of age.
"These bras are an egregious example of a broader culture that is saturated
with sexualizing messages aimed at young girls," Dr. Eileen Zurbriggen,
leader of an American Psychological Association task force on the sexualization
of girls, told CBS News. "There’s nothing wrong with wanting to
be attractive, but girls are getting the message that being sexy is the only
thing that is important."
In response to the backlash that followed the
story making headlines, A&F
recategorized the swimsuits as padded not push-up. A posting on the company’s
Facebook page, said, "We agree with those who say it is best ‘suited’
for girls age 12 and older."
Many people seem unswayed by A&F’s move.
A segment on HLN yesterday
saw host Mike Galanos engage in on-air discussions with viewers about the inappropriateness
of push-up bikini tops being marketed to second graders.
Joe Marconi, an expert
in communication, marketing and crisis management, told The
Columbus Dispatch that the retailer "had to know that this would
be throwing red meat in the cage of some of the moral majority type folks…
It’s a thinly veiled attempt to get attention, to work a news cycle over
something. It’s not being edgy. Even coming out with padded bikini tops for
12 year olds is gratuitously cheap and publicity seeking."
bikini tops: Threat to girls’ mental health? – CBS News
- Abercrombie bows to pressure on padded bikini issue – The Columbus Dispatch
Discussion Questions: Do you think Abercrombie & Fitch, as suggested in The Columbus Dispatch article, intentionally brought this controversy onto itself? What do you think of the company’s response to the controversy?