American Apparel seems mainly to be recognized for it’s best and worst qualities, and not a whole lot in between. It is sweatshop free and provides plenty of employment opportunities with fair pay. Aside from their decent motives and sleek style, vast amounts of people are strictly opposed to their provocative and controversial advertisements.
This image is particularly striking because of the sexual connotation of the model’s position in conjunction with the ad’s slogan, “Now Open”. One could view this picture as clever and an interesting use of the play on words—it most definitely attracts your attention from the get go.
What you actually see (the signified) is quite different from the message received (the signifier). A girl whose legs are spread wide open in an attempt to get your attention is striking, but many would find it offensive and degrading to women. I, a woman, am not an overly avid feminist. Of course, I believe that we deserve our equal rights and we’re not objects to be sexualised (etc. etc.), however in a creative attempt to grab your attention and force you to take note of what the advertisement is actually trying to say, American Apparel was quite successful.
So, while the “leg spread” takes up majority of the image and does more talking than the words themselves, nothing too physically confronting is on display. It is rather the connotations and the message implied with the title that might label this ad as “controversial”.
Since American Apparel has been blamed for posting too sexually confronting advertisements for a while now, the effect of this image isn’t as strong. If a company that constantly produces slogans and ads within society’s comfort zones were to break out and shock us with something particularly sexual, it could have a whole new meaning and effect.
What are the media being blamed for today and is this justified?
“The Media” has been a growing development for decades now and its bad wrap has only increased over the years. While television programs, films, magazines and other various forms of mediums are buzzing and still creating some form of influence, it’s the new concept of “social media” that has really stolen the limelight. There’s no longer merely a media that places us in the position of an audience or viewer, but now we have become the artists. We have taken the digital paintbrush and used it as a tool to tell all of our fellow friends the minute details of our lives. The big question that looms over all of us is; Why? Why do we tell people what we’re doing and when we’re doing it, when they probably don’t care?
In an age where things like depression, eating disorders and other mental issues are glamourized, it’s safe to place the bet on labelling social media as a type of confidant. People are able to tell their friends on Facebook, sometimes people from high school or university whom they haven’t seen in over a decade, that they just went skydiving, ran late for work, that they’re engaged, pregnant or that there was a death in the family.
As social media users, we have found not only a way of communicating with our peers, but a vast world in which we can share our thoughts and fears. Sounds like a good idea? Well it certainly has its positive notes, but when mistreated and corrupted, social media introduces us to a world of cyber bullying. People have the freedom to leave nasty comments on your statuses, tag you in unflattering photos or send harassing messages. What started out as a form of artistic expression, a virtual therapist, a way of communicating with long-last pals, social media has practically refurbished what it sought out to destroy. In the last five years, the suicide stories we hear about on the news are largely blamed as an effect from severe cyber bullying. Is this something we should be blaming all the new and various forms of social media for? As I stated before, social media is a medium that is in our hands, it is within the public domain and control of the people in our society. The media cannot be blamed for the mistakes and corrupt behaviour of the people in our world; that is a much larger issue—the downfall of our societal manners.
Hey all! My name is Annika Tague and I’m currently enrolled to study a Bachelor of Journalism teamed with a Bachelor of International Studies starting this year at the University of Wollongong. I’m extremely passionate about plenty of silly things like, “Pulp Fiction”, mermaids and the order in which my books are placed on their shelf. One day, I would love to work for a magazine, newspaper or publishing house doing any possible type of writing or editing- that would have to be the dream, I’d say. Stay tuned for more.