Dov Charney thinks you’re stupid.

The American Apparel ad I posted about yesterday was so outrageous that I almost thought it was a joke, but Dov Charney is such a morally repugnant tool that I was 97% sure it was legit. Now, I’m not saying that I don’t think Dov Charney actually believes that most instances of domestic violence are women’s fault (fuck, I’m sure he thinks global warming, the demise of Crystal Pepsi, and his own impotence are women’s fault), but I’m not sure anymore that I believe that there was no self-awareness involved in the absurdity of the ad (UPDATE: it’s phony, though the quote was a real one from a Dov Charnety interview. Whoever made it is a satirical genius). Wanna know why? Look at this shit:

efficienciesThe text: “By relentlessly pursuing efficiencies in management and production, we aim to make use of exploitative labor tactics not only unnecessary but actually counterproductive.”

Get the fuck out of here. 

That, as you might have been able to pick up from the horrible diction and lack of sense and substance, was a quote from American Apparel’s head hipster sexual harasser, Dov Charney. You see, he (claims that he) hates exploitation when it comes to the manufacture of t-shirts, but he’s got no problem with exploitation in the form of using women’s body parts in quasi-pornography to sell his products. Riiight. 

This ad is so absurd and displays such a lack of internal coherence that I have no option but to assume that the logical contradiction was intentional, that Charney (and/or his ad team; I’m not sure he’s smart enough to have come up with this on his own), knowing what a broo-ha-ha his ruthless exploitation of women has caused in the media (feminist and otherwise), has decided to create even more obscene and glaringly hypocritical ads in the hopes that it’ll cause an even greater furor and garner him even more publicity. Dov mistakenly thinks that any publicity, as it were, is good publicity. 

He’s relying on the fact that the entirety of his target market is made up of stupid, cretinous hipsters. This kind of shit is hipsterism deluxe: empty, nihilistic, unironic irony with absolutely no point. Only a hipster could look at this ad and react with anything but a retch. Hipsters, you see, don’t actually give a shit about anything but whether they look like Urban Outfitters mannequins, whether their CD collections contain enough albums by obscure bands that are obscure because they suck (not because the world is lacking in people with good taste), and whether they’re making a big enough show of how “ironical” their taste is. As such, hipsterism, as the only visible “counter-cultural” movement in existence today, isn’t actually counter-cultural at all, but is rather founded upon nothing but  snarkery and a faux-burlesque embracing of the worst elements of mainstream culture. Hipsters, idiots that they are, still think being into midget porn and talking about shitting in public gives them iconoclastic street cred, which every other dumbass figured out isn’t funny/hip/cool/rebellious/whatever about a decade ago. 

So, Charney thinks he’s going to use bloggers and other media types to sell his ugly clothes to people who are too stupid to realize they’re being duped. He figures we’re all so dumb that we’ll react with outrage to the self-aware (though likely still sincere) hypocrisy in his ads and make a big to-do out of the whole thing, and that there are still enough fedora-wearing fools out there who will come running to his fluorescent-lit dork emporiums to buy hot pink leg warmers (in 2009) as a result of that to-do. 

The problem is, hipsterism is about dead, is it not? It’s all but over in New York, and I’ve even noticed a drop in the numbers of people I want to slap in Atlanta lately. The other problem is, Charney is banking on the fact that no one will take what feminists have to say about his company’s practices to heart. My posts about American Apparel have been getting more hits lately than anything else on my blog, and that’s from Stumbleupon more so than it is from other feminist blogs. That means that people are paying attention to what’s going on with American Apparel; and the comments I get from them tell me that they’re not stoked about what they’re seeing.  My (and others’ — word up to Womanist Musings and  Uncensored Feminista for taking up the cause) suggestion that readers boycott American Apparel isn’t falling on deaf ears. If we’re urging boycotts and people are listening to us, is that really “good publicity” for Charney?

We can all tell from the text in this and yesterday’s ad that he’s a fucking dunce, but Charney has really lost the plot. He’s made a serious miscalculation that shows just how out of touch and desperate he really is. His company’s in trouble because vapid, nihilistic hipsterism is over. As misogynistic as our culture may be, he’s still found a way to scandalize a large majority of his target market, and he’s too stupid to realize that more of the same isn’t going to save him.  This gynophobic, turgid asshole thinks he’s outsmarted us dumb broads, but it looks as if he just might have pissed in the chilli. 

Just in case anyone missed my point, here it is: if you continue to buy clothing from American Apparel, you’re a fool and most likely a complete dick.

If you feel like contacting them and letting them know where to stick their ads, click here or write/call the following:

747 Warehouse St.
Los Angeles, CA 90021
United States

Tel. +1 (213) 488-0226
Fax. +1 (213) 488-0334

** UPDATE: Now that I know that the other ad is fake, I suspect this one is too. That may invalidate my argument that American Apparel is trying to use media outrage for publicity (or maybe not — their ads are outrageous as fuck, and there might be some self-awareness involved in that), but it doesn’t change the fact that the company’s marketing strategy is inherently hypocritical; their purported appeal is that they don’t condone the exploitation of workers, but their ads are based on nothing but the exploitation of women. And Dov Charney is still a fucking miscreant.  If these do turn out to all be fakes, please, PLEASE, help me find the genius who made them.

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Dov Charney is an MRA. Pardon me if I don’t faint with surprise.

Would you LOOK at this fucking American Apparel ad:

custom_1233073010441_dovIn case you can’t read that text, it says, “Women initiate most domestic violence, yet out of a thousand cases of domestic violence, maybe one is involving a man. And this has made a victim culture out of women.” That’s right, the world’s premier sexual harasser has, like, some really serious opinions about social issues. 

First of all, that statement doesn’t even make any sense. Is he saying that 999 of a thousand domestic violence charges are brought by women against women? If not, then more than one in a thousand cases “is involving a man.” How does “this” (whatever “this” is referring to) create a victim culture “out of” women. Wouldn’t it be a victim culture among women (if it weren’t total bullshit)? I’m pretty sure I’m not taking advice on serious social matters from a guy who can’t even form a coherent thought and doesn’t know that a Salvador Dali moustache isn’t attractive. 

 Horrible diction aside, there are some problems with Dov’s claims. How does he know that “women initiate most domestic violence”? Has there been a study I’m not aware of? Or is Dov just speaking from personal experience, letting us know that any time he’s been involved in violence against women, it’s been for a real good reason? And speaking of that, what, exactly, qualifies as “initiating” domestic violence? Striking first? Or simply being to mouthy? That kind of wording reeks of MRA reasoning, in which men can be excused for physically abusing partners who “push them to it” with their nagging. Dov, apparently, has forgotten that there is no excuse to hit another person, whether you are male or female, and that the idea of one partner “initiating” domestic violence is therefore a joke. “Initiation” does not require retaliation. 

He’s also brought out another MRA favorite, bemoaning the “culture of victimization” among women. MRAs love to claim that feminism, for rightly pointing out and resisting the abuses men commit against women, has turned otherwise “good women” into whiners. Nothing illustrates their unexamined sense of entitlement more than MRAs’ claims that women ought to be happy with what they’ve got and quit complaining. It’s often these types that will remind women how “lucky” we are that men have granted us the rights and privileges that we have now and that we ought to have a look at Afghanistan before we do any more complaining. Dov Charney, by making the absurd claim that a culture of victimization has arisen among women because they perceive domestic violence to be a problem, is proudly joining his MRA brothers in telling women we’ve gotten all we’re going to get, we have nothing to complain about, and we ought to shut the fuck up and get back to celebrating our “right” to huff dong for cash. 

I mean, look at the woman in the ad. I suppose Charney thought if he had a woman lying next to him, it’d prove just how right he is about what weenies us feminists are. The message: now here’s a real liberated woman, one who doesn’t go around complaining about domestic violence. She doesn’t invite domestic violence on herself because she’s docile and agreeable. She sees just how awesome it is to be a woman, what a sweet deal it is for her and for womankind that guys like me exist that will pay her to lay in a bed with me with almost no clothes on in support of my “women are unhappy because they won’t stay in their place, not because men abuse them” message.

Honestly, that woman looks drugged to me.

Here’s the last thing that struck me about this ad: what the fuck are we selling here? Stupid MRA libertarianism or ugly hipster clothing? This asshole, the CEO of the company, has come out of his gang bang emporium of an office to appear in one of his company’s ads and make a social and political statement, and this is what he chooses to say? This is the biggest social issue weighing on this guy’s mind? He’s so concerned with this MRA bullshit that it’s more important to him than selling us metallic leggings? Unbelievable. Whatever you may have thought of him before, there’s no longer any denying where this guy’s mind is at.

Please, I beg of you, don’t buy this guy’s clothes. If you won’t boycott American Apparel for the sake of shutting a bullshit hipster company down out of respect for aesthetics and genuine counterculturalism, then do it because he thinks women have no reason to feel put upon in a society in which people like him use their bodies as decorations, as means to sell products, and as fuck toys.

** UPDATE: It turns out this ad is a phony. But who cares? It’s a real quote from Charney, which proves that he is in fact an MRA, and it’s superimposed on a real AA ad.  I do, however, want to offer a serious reward to the person who find the creator of this ad for me. S/he’s a fucking genius. 

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Happy birthday to me.

My blog is a year old today. I don’t particularly know what that means, but it is nonetheless a fact and I’m going to reflect on it.

This blog has turned out to be quite different than I thought it would, and vastly more successful. I originally thought I’d be posting once or twice a week with my take on this or that sexist commercial or television show, but it has turned out to be something a lot more involved and complicated, and much more interesting and enlightening (for me). I also thought I’d be lucky if five people wanted to hear what I have to say. 

I would like to thank everyone who reads and comments  (and isn’t an MRA or a 4Chan member) for helping me to develop as a feminist and as a writer over the last year and for helping me create enough controversy to amass 180,000 hits in just twelve months. I always figured that being a provocateur would serve my purposes well on this blog, that if I made a bunch of outrageous statements I’d get people to read what I had to say and that maybe I could sneak something in between the stupid jokes and feigned absolutism that would start to change their minds. I think the comments and links that people have favored me with have been a big help in that endeavor.  I also think, however, that I can get blinded by my own arguments and forget that not everyone has followed the same train of thought I have to get where I am at any given moment. As such, I’m grateful to the commenters who carry on such thoughtful and diplomatic discussions on hugely controversial topics in my comment sections, and especially those who try to find ways to sensitively address the objections of other commenters. And thanks also go to those who tell me I’m full of shit for helping me to see the holes in my arguments or helping strengthen my conviction that I’m right. 

I’d also like to thank all of the radical feminist bloggers who have helped me get involved in the world of radical feminist blogging and who have made me feel welcome in their community.  Having the kinds of opinions I have has been pretty lonely at times, so making my way into this community has been a really rewarding experience. I’m still in the process of figuring out how to approach all of the audiences I want to write to, and I know that my attempts at converting others to the cause sometimes irritate the women who already identify as radical feminists, but I think I’m making progress on that front. I’ve still not come up with a perfect comment policy that will allow radical feminists to use my blog as a place to discuss issues and will still allow me to engage with people who don’t identify with radical feminism, but I’m also working on that. Suggestions are always appreciated. 

I know I’ve been something of a slacker lately, but I plan to get back to writing posts more often (as school and life allow). 

Anyway, thanks everyone!

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Tennessee: Home of Ralphie May and the Honky Tonk Badonkadonk

I know I have readers in Tennessee, and that Tennessee is a lovely place. I drove through Tennessee when I moved across country, I visited many small towns along the way, and I stayed in Nashville for three days. I like Tennessee for the most part. Beer’s cheap, the country is beautiful, and the fireworks laws are lax. Tennessee, were it not for the problems I’m about to discuss, would be a right swell state.

When I visited Nashville last summer I felt like I’d unravelled a huge mystery. Until last July, I had no idea who was paying money to see the Blue Collar Comedy Tour, where Country Music Television was finding people under 50 to make country records and star in its shows, or who still thought the Rockabilly scene was anything but hilarious. Tennessee is the place that all of these phenomena rely on for their existence. And if you’re looking for the locus of the mysterious connection between cowboy boots and booty shorts, it lies somewhere in Tennessee, I assure you. 

Had I not been watching television one unfortunate night last week, I would have carried on for the rest of my life thinking of Tennessee as nothing more than an odd place full of relatively unsophisticated people who are into shit I think is funny. But Davetavius and I turned on the TV in our hotel room in Kaua’i to find a Ralphie May special on Comedy Central. We’re both fans of terrible stand-up comedy and wiggerism, so we decided to watch the show. (I know what “wigger” is a contraction of, but I think it’s taken on a meaning of its own and I certainly don’t use it in the way racist old white dudes who think they’re clever for being into Chris Rock do. Until someone can come up with a word I can use in its place, I’m not sure what else to do. Suggestions are welcome.)  

Does everyone know who Ralphie May is? He’s the unbelievably obese white comic who has made a name for himself by trying to out-black every black comedian on the circuit, and he’s been pretty successful, if one can judge the success of a wigger comedian by how many black people he can get to come to his show. He’s never come up with an original bit of material, but has rather created a set out of a derivative melange of the kind of shit you’d hear on the average episode of Russell Simmons’s Def Comedy Jam. He’s always been incredibly unfunny and vulgar, but that was why I thought I’d watch his show, to see what he’d come up with to out-crass himself on his new special; I find nothing funnier than unfunny stand-up comedy. (I know I sound like a hipster, but I’m not just into shit that sucks for the sake of being into shit that sucks to show people how “ironic” I am. I actually analyze the shit I like that sucks and appreciate it for the understanding it can give me of the contexts from whence it comes. And my haircut isn’t asymmetrical.)

I was immediately disappointed to find out he’d dropped the wigger shtick to become a lewd Bill Engvall, an odd choice for Ralphie May to model himself on since Engvall might be the least funny comedian alive today. He’d knocked off all the wigger shit and become a “southern dude,” the kind of guy whose only goals in life are to grow the perfect manicured goatee, to own a $60,000 truck, to fish his ass off, and to get a Coors tap installed in his bathroom. You see, May is from Tennessee, and he’s figured out that there’s more money to be made off of stupid rednecks than there is to be made from being the world’s premier wigger (behind Eminem). And, being a native himself, he’s apparently so familiar with Tennessee that he knew something I didn’t: the white people of Tennessee have been hankering for someone to combine the vulgarity of Def Comedy Jam with the banality of the terrifically unfunny (and white) Blue Collar Comedy Tour. 

Ralphie May has always traded in loud, overt misogyny for most of his material because he thought that’s what black people wanted to hear (doesn’t that make him a racist?). Apparently he’s figured out now that loud, overt misogyny is what white people want to hear. He spent nearly every second of his set telling “jokes” about how much women like to shop, about how crazy women are, and about how women, if they really want to give their men birthday gifts that will be appreciated, will give them one of two things: blow jobs and silence. The message, basically, was “if your mouth is open, it should be sucking a dick.” And he went on about it for at least five minutes. Do you know how long five minutes is in a stand-up comedy set? It’s a fucking eternity. 

But the worst part of the set wasn’t listening to a guy who couldn’t get someone to touch his dick at a party full of people with dick-touching fetishes talk about how everyone should be blowing him. The worst part was watching the crowd footage. Men nudged the women they were with, pointed at them, made “I fucking told you!” faces at them, while the women acted shocked, covered their mouths, and pretended not to notice that they’d just been told that their purpose in life is to suck dick and shut the fuck up. A lot of the women were laughing, which blew my fucking mind (but not really). How does one laugh at being repeatedly dehumanized? I suppose it’s the only way to react, save storming out of the theater in a rage, which would just incur the ire of the room full of misogynists and appeasers who see nothing wrong with some good, clean “boys are dumb jizz machines, girls are annoying and crazy jizz receptacles” comedy.

The thing is, I’m sure there wasn’t a second of the routine that hadn’t been culled from some other unfunny comedian’s routine. It was as if I was watching a redux of the entirety of 1990s sports-coat-and-t-shirt stand-up performed by a twelve-year-old Tim McGraw fan with a wife. I don’t know how else to put that. It sounds stupid (and it is), but he’s actually a genius. He knows that what he’s saying isn’t funny or original, but he also knows that the huge fan base that keeps the Blue Collar Comedy Tour in business can make him rich. He knows that enough Americans are borderline brain-dead that telling them hackneyed jokes that are founded upon gross and stupid ideas about gender roles and the outright hatred of women will make them laugh until they squirt Long Island iced tea out of their noses. 

So, I’ve put a few things together and come to the conclusion that there’s something amiss in Tennessee. I remember when I was in Nashville wondering why there were so many young women wearing hot pants and bra tops in a town known for its country music scene, and why there seemed to be so much raunch going on in what I’d heard was a fairly conservative state. Ralphie May knows something I didn’t at the time, but do now: Tennessee is a place where misogynistic blow-job “comedy” (redundant?) and conservative values come together. It’s a place where dudes who claim to be all about respect, family values, and church can get together in public and feel liberated and modern for agreeing, as did their forefathers, that women exist to be seen and used sexually, not heard. It’s a place where women think being told that the way to a man’s heart is through sucking his dick and not talking is simply hilarious. It’s a place where women laugh at their own oppression. It is, quite simply, one of the only places in America where there are enough people that are dumb enough to pay money to see Ralphie May — the ex-wigger — pretend to be Bill Engvall to fill up a theater. Tennessee is the place where country music meets the 2 Live Crew to give us Ralphie May and the “Honky Tonk Badonkadonk,” the kind of white-washed rap culture that even rednecks can get down with without feeling threatened. 

Not that there isn’t something amiss everywhere. Sigh.

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What the Fuck of the Week: Ashley Madison

Has anyone but me seen a commercial for this dating agency Ashley Madison? Here’s the ad, but I’m warning you, watching this might make you puke and/or go out and start training for UFC. I know it made me mad enough to want to yell about some shit while pointing at the ground, which is, like, the ultimate expression of anger (at least according to people who are into the NFL). 

Yeah, dude. Ashley Madison is a dating agency for married people who want to have affairs but can’t find someone at the office or a neighbor to bang. The slogan: “Life is short. Have an affair.” You see, Ashley Madison offers the asshole who wants to fuck around on his wife the opportunity to do so anonymously with other guilty cheaters so as to increase his chances of getting away with it and continuing to fool his wife into hanging around. No worrying about an affair partner getting too attached and expecting him to leave his wife (because, although she’s not good enough to be faithful to, he still wants to keep her around for, like, emotional support and shit), no rumors around the office about trysts with underlings, no need to frequent prostitutes who expect to get paid for allowing themselves to be treated disrespectfully.

The website, which features a blurry picture set in a hotel room of a man in dress pants standing over a woman in a black slip who is gripping his belt as if she’s begging him for something (lovely), guarantees the customer will find someone to have an affair with, “or your money back.” Apparently women can join for free and men can view profiles for free, but if men want to contact potential pork partners they have to pay a fee. The service is aimed at men. Surprise. 

I wasn’t sure what to slap my forehead about first when I saw this commercial. The fact that there’s a business out there making a profit by destroying relationships and causing people serious emotional damage? The message that a woman who doesn’t look like a porn worker deserves to be cheated on? The fact that this company is urging people to exercise their most selfish desires without any regard for the feelings of the people they purportedly care about? The idea that this company of shitbags is sending men the message that they somehow deserve hot wives even if they look like Vietnamese pot-belly pigs with sports talk radio hosts’ faces and have no redeeming character traits? Seriously, is it just me, or is the dude in this commercial a 2 out of 15? I don’t see a real discrepancy in attractiveness here.

But who gives a shit? Men shouldn’t be getting married, getting divorced, deciding to cheat, or making lunch plans based on how porkable Maxim says someone is. Women shouldn’t be laboring under the fear that their mates will cheat on them should they commit the sin of becoming less “hawt” with age. I know I’m not dropping a new complaint on anyone here, but this is a fairly stark reminder of the old “be fuckable or die” mandate women in this country (and, really, world) face on a daily basis. If we’re absolutely terrified and insecure every second of our lives, do advertisers get some kind of a prize or something? Oh, yeah, they get us to constantly buy shit to try to “improve” ourselves. Ashley Madison should get in on a partner deal with a ring of plastic surgeons, L’Oreal, Wonderbra, Frederick’s of Hollywood, and Slim Fast so they can sell Affair Prevention Plans to the women who see their ads. Why only advertise to half the possible market? I’ve got a slogan for them: “If it doesn’t work to keep your man at home, at least it’ll help you land a new one!” Fuuuuck.

Oh, and people shouldn’t be frequenting websites where they can find someone to cheat on their spouses with. I’m not a big fan of “Christian values,” and hence I’m not that concerned with adultery qua adultery, but I am concerned with the glaring immorality of a company that can only make a profit by convincing its customers that it is OK to break promises and cause people emotional pain. Seriously, what the fuck?

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