It's like Jezebel, minus all the totally obnoxious parts
June 16, 2009 11:16 PM   Subscribe

Zelda Lily: Feminism in a Bra A new blog from that same people who brought you Evil Beet Gossip. Featuring an exclusive with Riam Dean, "the beautiful British law student with a prosthetic limb who was removed from her job at a London Abercrombie & Fitch shop floor because she violated their 'look policy'."
posted by ThePinkSuperhero (94 comments total) 22 users marked this as a favorite
 
Not really kidding about the post title. I've been reading since they launched and have found that Zelda Lily is basically a better Jezebel (more serious content, better written content, less fluff, less writer personality cult).
posted by ThePinkSuperhero at 11:20 PM on June 16, 2009 [2 favorites]



Here's an article from more than five years ago, about Abercrombie & Fitch's "policies."
posted by Dee Xtrovert at 11:36 PM on June 16, 2009 [1 favorite]


more serious content, better written content, less fluff, less writer personality cult

Maybe, no way*, definitely, and we'll see.

But I'm no potent critic, I've been distracted by the InStyle Makeover Macheeeeen! Aggh!

*I can’t imagine why anyone wouldn’t want children — crying, screaming, disobedient mouths to feed and cart around. When you think about it rationally, it’s like, “Why would anyone want children?” But instead, my first reaction is to wonder why anyone would not want them.

huh what now with the rational hoosis?
posted by Ambrosia Voyeur at 11:56 PM on June 16, 2009


This bespells doom.
posted by breezeway at 12:03 AM on June 17, 2009 [4 favorites]


I used to manage at Abercrombie a few years ago (first aimless job out of college for the sake of finding work). I'm already blacklisted, so here's a plate of beans...

When I first began, one of the first things they indoctrinated in me was their "off the record" hiring practices...

1. Looks - no real surprise here; go for the hot kids.
2. Style - must wear A&F; also, no facial hair, tattoos, or facial piercings.
3. Outgoing personality - basically, do you like to go out every night drinking to excess? (In group interviews, you'd ask what people did over the weekend or the night before and look for tales of blacking out.)
4. Athleticism - are they not fat?
.....
and that was it.

Nothing about work ethic or character.

I once got into a huge fight with the other managers because they refused to hire this one guy because he wasn't good-looking enough. He also happened to do stand-up on the side and had everyone in the group interview in stitches. I threatened to quit until they gave in.

And so we had two classes of hires: Brand Representatives and Impact. The really pretty ones (Brand Reps) got to stand in the store, mostly gossiping with one another and forcing hellos to the younger kids who'd come in and gawk. The decent looking ones (Impact) got to hang out in the storeroom folding clothes all day.

Try telling self-entitled kids what to do. Some responses ranged from "You only earn $3 an hour more than me" to straight up walking away from me. But no action be taken, god forbid I expect anything out of my best-looking employees.

The whole culture is a farce.

And the worst part has to be the Eurotrashy volumes of music they blast on loop day in, day out. I worked up to 15-hour days and would hear the same shitty remixes up to 6 times a day, for as long as 2 months. One of the reasons I got canned was because I'd routinely let people bring in their own mixtapes for me to play. I'd blast Godspeed You! Black Emperor during peak hours.

I worked at one of the more progressive, mixed stores in the country, so I can only imagine how much worse it was in less diverse communities.

That said, of course I'm using a wide brush to paint an entire culture, and there definitely were a lot of genuine kids with strong character, but there was something repulsive in the air.

One of the benefits of our tanking economy is places like this are the first to fall.

Best of luck to you, Riam Dean.
posted by Christ, what an asshole at 12:37 AM on June 17, 2009 [174 favorites]


there was something repulsive in the air.

I've never set foot in an A&F, but just toddling by to get a Julius I could tell you THAT. PeeeeYew! Christ, what an asshole, have you had a respiratory checkup since your tenure there? That cologne shit smells noxious. Maybe it's roooofies! That'd make sense.
posted by Ambrosia Voyeur at 12:44 AM on June 17, 2009 [2 favorites]


Ahh yes, Fierce cologne. We'd spray it over all the apparel every morning. The saddest thing is some kids would spray it on themselves generously like they were applying self-bronzer.

Actually, the saddest thing I had to go through was telling this one girl "no." She played all her cards right; this was her fourth group interview, and she had learned the rules: she had a whole new makeover, was dressed to the nines with A&F, and talked a big drinking game. Extremely sweet and personable, too...but she wasn't cute "enough."

She was quick to pick up that I had any amount of empathy on the issue, and she called in a few times to talk to me and ask if we were going to ask her to come in for work. Then one day she came in to speak to me directly. So heartbreaking... Pushing so hard to be in a culture that rejects you. I felt like crap.

That was the turning point for me when I stopped giving a shit.
posted by Christ, what an asshole at 1:05 AM on June 17, 2009 [16 favorites]




Dude, I'm not an old dude who wears his jeans up at his shoulders.
posted by PeterMcDermott at 1:44 AM on June 17, 2009 [1 favorite]


Ugh! That should have been:

Metafilter: Dude, I'm not an old dude who wears his jeans up at his shoulders.
posted by PeterMcDermott at 1:46 AM on June 17, 2009


Dude, I'm not an old fart who wears his jeans up at his shoulders.
posted by item at 1:50 AM on June 17, 2009


The embarrassing part about A&F is um, everything. The whole aesthetic is tailored to repressed/ closeted gay tweens and those without the sense to know any better. The whole thing is very Jorge Haider to me.
posted by ryaninoakland at 3:27 AM on June 17, 2009


I thought being shallow was part of the whole Abercrombie & Fitch package.

Looking at Christ, what an asshole's list, I think I'm going to go out and get that Schroedinger Wave Equation tribal tattoo I've been considering this very weekend.
posted by Kid Charlemagne at 3:46 AM on June 17, 2009 [1 favorite]


If you combine A & F's "look" policy with a the military's don't ask, don't tell you have all the monkeys covered.
posted by srboisvert at 4:15 AM on June 17, 2009


This is better then Jezebel, but it's still pretty shallow stuff. "I want a big fluffy dress!" "I was shocked when a woman said she didn't want kids!" Those are both fine reactions to have, but the context demands that they be written about in more nuanced ways.

But still, better than Jezebel.
posted by Forktine at 5:47 AM on June 17, 2009


I've read three articles and I like Jezebel better - the writing is better and the analysis is less superficial. Also with the celebrity gossip.
posted by muddgirl at 6:00 AM on June 17, 2009


Improv Everywhere needs to do a stunt where they get a whole bunch of fat, hairy, ugly people (and yes, I count myself among that number) and send them into Abercrombie & Fitch stores where they'll pretend to be employees.
posted by Faint of Butt at 6:14 AM on June 17, 2009 [29 favorites]


Something is very wrong in society, journalism, and law when blogs start writing "Zelda Lily has the exclusive first look at some of the statements that will be presented next week when Riam’s case goes to court." Legal arguments presented as celebrity baby photos.

But that's the sideshow, the best part of this blog is this article:
Riam sucked it up and commenced her stockroom duties, normally reserved for the “underlings” (i.e., ethnic minorities) of Abercrombie & Fitch “society” and received a telephone call at home a few days later, asking if she would continue on board with the company’s stockroom until their winter uniforms came in, which consisted of long-sleeved tops. She quit on the spot.
This is the worst written blog I have ever encountered. I am supposed to feel sympathy for this girl Riam because she was relegated to the stockroom where the ethnic minorities work, instead of being able to work in the front where the clearly beautiful people are, because as this blog tells us repeatedly, she's clearly beautiful? How about Riam and this blogger get a job in a machine shop and learn what real work is.

I understand it's wrong for AF to treat her like this because she has a prosthetic arm, but the proper response to that is not to work there at all, not to quit because they make you work with the different and therefore ugly people instead of with the beautiful people. The implication is that the beautiful people of course deserve to be treated better, but that Riams' dispute here is simply that store failed to properly identify her as one of the beautiful people.

This isn't Feminism in a Bra, it's stupidity in a bra. After reading these blog posts, it's obvious to me that AF is absolutely justified in having "visual teams" inspect their workforce - their customers are clearly so superficial, overprivileged, and narcissistic that anything less than bland homogenous perfection among the employees would have the bratty customers turning up their noses and walking out.
posted by Pastabagel at 6:22 AM on June 17, 2009 [51 favorites]


Improv Everywhere needs to do a stunt where they get a whole bunch of fat, hairy, ugly people (and yes, I count myself among that number) and send them into Abercrombie & Fitch stores where they'll pretend to be employees.

Uh, not sure if you're joking or serious, but they already kind of completely one-upped that idea.
posted by allkindsoftime at 6:24 AM on June 17, 2009 [9 favorites]




Bro Dude King will lead an army of Bro Dudes surgically enhanced for maximum awesomeness into battle against the ugly fatties who are destroying the world with their bummer cynical whining. I welcome this eventuality.
posted by The Straightener at 6:40 AM on June 17, 2009 [8 favorites]


Please note the picture.

Gary Busey owns A&F?
posted by minifigs at 6:50 AM on June 17, 2009 [12 favorites]


Please note the picture.

How this creepy self-made circus freak and his army of stay!positive! perky nubiles/Stepford brats hasn't yet become a Chuck Palahniuk book...wait, has it become a Chuck Palahniuk book? I got bored somewhere back around Lullaby.
posted by kittens for breakfast at 6:57 AM on June 17, 2009 [7 favorites]


Please note the picture.

Ye gods.
posted by jquinby at 7:00 AM on June 17, 2009


> Please note the picture.

Human incarnation of the uncanny valley.
posted by bjrn at 7:03 AM on June 17, 2009 [12 favorites]


I opened the tab with the picture of the CEO instead of the tab with the picture of Riam Dean and just about spit out my coffee while my mind was trying to make sense of what I was looking at.

Dude must have toenail implants
posted by Hammond Rye at 7:09 AM on June 17, 2009 [3 favorites]


Nice find TPS.
posted by caddis at 7:09 AM on June 17, 2009


Seeing a picture of the CEO and reading an article about him many years ago is what stopped me from ever entering an AF store again.

The guy is disturbingly douchey vain.
posted by gnash at 7:16 AM on June 17, 2009


I'm with Pastabagel. Why do the authors need to point out that Dean is a "beautiful British law student"? Do we need reminding that she's conventionally attractive? How innnnteresting that in an article about beauty-based discrimination, we still apparently need reminders that looks come first and foremost.

I'll stick with Jezebel, thanks.
posted by Madamina at 7:19 AM on June 17, 2009


This is eerily timed... I just got back from a small, highly focused scientific conference in Ohio which was in all ways delightful. Getting in to the hotel on the first night however, there was this huge swarm of creepily identical pretty people that had entirely taken over the bar and was seeping into the lobby. They were loud, drunk and blond. Taking the elevator up to my room with about 10 of them, I looked around and realized that, male and female alike, I was the only person that was not wearing the uniform: Flipflop sandals, semi-tight jeans, boot cut, some jersey material shirt + t-shirt, and a fake tan.
I found out the next day that they'd put us bunch of raggedy scientists into the same hotel with the annual meeting of all Abercrombie and Fitch managers.
After seeing those two groups side by side for 4 days, I'm pretty sure that there are at least two distinct sub-species in humans, with the reproductive barrier (repulsion in my case) accelerating full speciation.
posted by Cold Lurkey at 7:20 AM on June 17, 2009 [59 favorites]


Why do the authors need to point out that Dean is a "beautiful British law student"?

perhaps because this is all about disability. Without her disability she is more than what they could ever hope for appearance wise for their haughty stores.
posted by caddis at 7:26 AM on June 17, 2009


Do we need reminding that she's conventionally attractive?

Well, she might have one arm but at least she's not FAT, amirite?
posted by JoanArkham at 7:27 AM on June 17, 2009 [4 favorites]


pastabagel translation: "The proper response to discrimination against you because of disability is to quit, not sue."
posted by caddis at 7:29 AM on June 17, 2009 [7 favorites]


To me, Abercrombie represents quite uniquely the first time in a young American's life that they really begin to actualize, albeit subconsciously, that they need to be saved from something. In this occurrence, it is the need to be saved from not being in the cool, popular group of kids. The truly sad thing, however, is that the Abercrombie occurrence is not a once-off, but the beginning of a life-long trend that we're only now beginning to see and understand the dreadful implications of.

Once you get past that initial stage of needing to be cool and fitting in with your fellow high schoolers, you hit college and (Bam!) its be-cool re-dux, this time with more alcohol and drugs. The intoxicants serve to further the evidence that we're still searching for something to save us from ourselves, and, perhaps at this point, from the fact that we've tried buying the right clothes to fit in, and it didn't work, and we're still doing it, and it still doesn't work. And we're going to keep doing it.

Then you're out of college and you keep doing what everyone else keeps doing - you find a job and you use that money to go out and keep buying the cool clothes and the booze that keeps you in your sedated state, but at this point, all of that isn't enough. Now, in a sort of weird revert to childhood, toys come into play. Cars, home theater systems, ipods, computers, the latest cell phone, hell - getting your kindle signed by the author. You're still trying to save yourself, from the same things you were in college, as well as the ones in high school. The fitting in, the fact that you can't and you keep trying, the fact that "more" still might be the answer and the golden ring might just be in reach now. Its adding up at this point, there's a pretty high cultural expectation that you need to have this pre-packaged life everyone else has or else you are clearly not going to be happy. The price tag just keeps growing. You stock up your beery life with Best Buy and United Colors of Benetton and BMW and long weekends in the Bahamas somehow its still not working.

Then you hit your 30's. You maybe come out of it all briefly enough to have the realization that its all not really working - that you need saving and the stuff's not doing it. And you have a pretty human experience - you get the desire to pair off with a mate. Hell, all your friends are doing it at this point, if you aren't then you're probably hopping on AskMe to figure out what's wrong with you. Instead of the stuff, we tacitly admit that we need someone else to save us from ourselves. The other person must be the elusive answer we've been looking for all these many years. Hence Jerry McGuire's "You complete me." We are incomplete, and mistakenly think that two incompletes will make one complete.

The delusion can last a while, maybe even a decade, which leads us right to our collective mid-life crises. Age 40 serves as a subtly horrifying bastion in the culture - the realization of the fact that you are now on the tail end, you are headed down the hill, never to return to the top. And you've come all this way, tried all these things and people, and none of it has saved you. You're going to grow old and die and there's nothing you can do about it. At this point the things we start to grab out for salvation from start to vary. Some have the atypical mid-life crisis and start the toy-collecting all over again, except this time in bigger, brighter, costlier models - Harleys and Mastercrafts and Porsches. Some think that they must have gotten the wrong incomplete to complete them, and they try a new person, or two, or three. Some need new drugs to keep them safe from the fact that there's no saving themselves. And some have a second very human experience, and have children. And then they start looking to the children for salvation. We might not get to stay around, but we are going to leave our mark, in this beautiful young thing we've created, just like we used to be, once upon a time.

It goes on. The same cycles of more stuff, more medication, more stuff, more people, more children, then grandchildren, and then the ever-impending final chapter, in all its myriad forms. All along the way, none of it saving us from ourselves, and none of it stopping what happens when we reach the end of us.

Hell, if you disagree with me, look at that Mike Jeffries picture. He's in his 60's and dying his hair, trying to pretend he's not what he really is. Still thinking he'll find his salvation in his looks, his figure, his fashion. Pushing 50 years of blindly believing that sex appeal is going to save him from his self. Wildly committed to it.

Abercrombie is the perfect portrait of a launch-pad for this phenomenon. Its the first time you're old enough to know, at your core - even if you can't articulate it - the need to be saved from something horrible. From not fitting in, from not being accepted. And we'll do anything, pay any price. Abercrombie's more than happy to offer the first faux-salvation - for a price. Their annual revenues are around $2 billion a year. The proof is in the pudding.

And its a flipping brilliant business model, because, in the end - its just like the drugs. You need more and more is never enough.

We can blame Abercrombie and be mad at them for discriminatory hiring practices and so on and so forth, but at the end of the day, we're all the ones who are lining their coffers and wearing their wares. We want them to be what they are. No, we need them to be that way. It might save us.
posted by allkindsoftime at 7:42 AM on June 17, 2009 [158 favorites]


Uh, not sure if you're joking or serious, but they already kind of completely one-upped that idea.

Huh. I actually recalled that stunt, but forgot that it took place at an Abercrombie & Fitch. Mea culpa. I still like the idea of ugly but clothed people pretending to work there.
posted by Faint of Butt at 7:42 AM on June 17, 2009


...and who can forget the cyborg behind the whole operation?

Previous MeFi thread regarding the Salon article on Mike Jeffries.

$40 Million Paid to Class Members in December 2005 in Abercrombie & Fitch Discrimination Lawsuit Settlement.
posted by ericb at 7:47 AM on June 17, 2009


The proper response to discrimination against you because of disability is to quit disable your oppressor, not sue.

FTFY
posted by Kid Charlemagne at 7:57 AM on June 17, 2009


It seems like what Pastabagel was actually trying to say was that it's difficult to feel sympathy for someone who feels she was being discriminated for being treated like a "lowly average looking person" who had to work in the stock room rather then the "beautiful person" she actually was due to her prosthetic arm. (beautiful person who would get to work up front, that is)

I don't know if that's an accurate characterization.
posted by delmoi at 8:09 AM on June 17, 2009 [3 favorites]


"Feminism in a bra"? As opposed to all those bra-burning feminists who never existed, or what? What do bras have to do with feminism?
posted by The corpse in the library at 8:40 AM on June 17, 2009 [3 favorites]


allkindsoftime: I know what can save us. But I'm not telling.
posted by rusty at 8:44 AM on June 17, 2009 [1 favorite]


and the proper way to disable this oppressor, other than taking its money of course, is to somehow convince the kids that AF is not cool, is actually kind of dorky, that it tries so hard to be hip that it has become the opposite.
posted by caddis at 8:56 AM on June 17, 2009 [1 favorite]


allkindsoftime, what a pitiful portrayal of A&F customer-base. I have no idea if it's accurate, but it is tragic.


Also, this feminism in a bra is not my feminism in a bra.
posted by notashroom at 9:12 AM on June 17, 2009


What's with this generation of blogs that position themselves as feminist primarily by making strawfeminists of everyone who came before them? Eeeg.
posted by KirkJobSluder at 9:13 AM on June 17, 2009 [6 favorites]


This is the worst written blog I have ever encountered. I am supposed to feel sympathy for this girl Riam because she was relegated to the stockroom where the ethnic minorities work, instead of being able to work in the front where the clearly beautiful people are, because as this blog tells us repeatedly, she's clearly beautiful?

While I agree with you for the most part, I thought their point with the ethnic minorities remark is that A&F discriminates against race, too. Not that the stockroom is where ethnic minorities belong and woe is the beautiful white princess for being imprisoned there.
posted by katillathehun at 9:21 AM on June 17, 2009 [1 favorite]


we're all the ones who are lining their coffers and wearing their wares

Speak for yourself, please.
posted by ixohoxi at 9:22 AM on June 17, 2009 [3 favorites]


This is a crappy and non-feminist blog.

How about 'some of us don't want children because we think they're snot-nosed pieces of crap and we don't have room for them in our lives'?
posted by kldickson at 9:22 AM on June 17, 2009 [2 favorites]


So heartbreaking... Pushing so hard to be in a culture that rejects you. I felt like crap.

Ah, but isn't that the entire lure all together? It is the homoerotic image of a clean cut boy throwing hay into the back of a pick up truck, the same boy we get a scent of as he passes us in the hallways, scented in a horrible cologne that doesn't need to smell good, only distinctive and dominant. You can never really be a part of the culture, you can emulate it and you might even represent the quintessential A&F model, but you can never be a part of it. A&F exists solely on the experience of one looking in on something they can never be a part of. You do not buy A&F to become part of it, but to recapture the experience of knowing that something out there is better than you, that really exists a place where such perfection can be obtained, where Platonic forms live, where we can get a hint of what we could be if our flaws where chipped way leaving us all with what we could possibly be.

Pity us all and our poor embrace of the human form!
posted by geoff. at 9:22 AM on June 17, 2009 [3 favorites]


It is the homoerotic image of a clean cut boy throwing hay into the back of a pick up truck

Well, that and the big photos of naked dudes outside of their stores.
posted by naju at 9:30 AM on June 17, 2009 [3 favorites]


we're all the ones who are lining their coffers and wearing their wares.

Seriously, buddy? speak for yourself. I have not played those games, mostly because I realized pretty early on that barring a lot more money, plastic surgery, and an eating disorder, it was a setup.

I mean, yes, I participate in consumer culture because it's my only option for dressing myself and buying things I need. But the kind of desperate clinging to coolness you describe has not defined my life since high school. I would guess this is true for a lot of Mefites.
posted by emjaybee at 9:35 AM on June 17, 2009 [8 favorites]


I'll put on my Knitted Cap of Optimism and Charity (it never has looked quite right on me) and think: If I were minus an arm (especially at that age, working there), it might not be so much that I would feel entitled to be with the beautiful people so much as feel that I was banished yet again because of the prosthetic situation. She's not saying "I'm beautiful, so you lowly uggoids in the backroom, boo hoo, let me wipe away the tears with my plastic hand" as "yeah, I'm back in the back like a deformed cousin in 1930's Oklahoma, and whoever is there with me isn't as relevant as the fact that I'm consigned here."

Maybe the flip side of not joining a club that would have you as a member is being angry that you're automatically rejected from anything, even if it not something you particularly desire.
posted by adipocere at 10:06 AM on June 17, 2009 [2 favorites]


Seriously, buddy? speak for yourself.

OK, I will, since you (don't) ask.

I don't own a single article from A&F, and I never will. No interest. I'm like a lot of Mefites that way. We still remain a pretty small sub-set of American society, however, and my examples are pulled primarily from the larger sample, as you'll kindly note. When I say its "we" lining their coffers - I mean both that there's a large consumer base that supports A&F, and that I too engage in this consumerism in my own ways, with different brands (although I'm working to reduce that). I'm sorry that didn't read so obviously.

You might not associate with some of what I wrote, or maybe even most of it. You may be right about that. But you identify with at least something in there. I bet that's a pretty cool computer you're typing on right now.

The real irony is that "cool" in MetaFilter is essentially "Not me man, I'm not like them!" Hell I just demonstrated it myself. Post-consumerism is so in right now.
posted by allkindsoftime at 10:30 AM on June 17, 2009 [2 favorites]


We still remain a pretty small sub-set of American society, however, and my examples are pulled primarily from the larger sample

I still don't think this is true. I think the subset of American teenagers who could afford to shop at A&F was and still is pretty small. For 75% of the people at my (rather average American) high school, the yearly clothing budget was less than $500 for the family, much less for one child. Sure, sometimes you'd find an Abercrombie and Fitch logo t-shirt at the Salvation Army, but that didn't mean you had any dreams of going to Martha's Vineyard over the summer.

I suspect the reason you assume that subset is rather large is due to the prominence those sorts or kids had both at their high school and in the general American discourse. The high school experience of upper-middle-class families is considered to be the predominant narrative.
posted by muddgirl at 10:42 AM on June 17, 2009 [9 favorites]


(Forgot to add that I didn't realize stores like Abercrombie and Fitch and Banana Republic were real stores until I got a scholarship and moved away. We certainly didn't have them at my local mall and I assumed they were manufacturers)
posted by muddgirl at 10:44 AM on June 17, 2009


Pastabagel: I understand it's wrong for AF to treat her like this because she has a prosthetic arm, but the proper response to that is not to work there at all, not to quit because they make you work with the different and therefore ugly people instead of with the beautiful people. The implication is that the beautiful people of course deserve to be treated better, but that Riams' dispute here is simply that store failed to properly identify her as one of the beautiful people.

That's interesting because I didn't get this at all, much less felt that it was reasonable to leap to conclusions about Riams' motivations on the basis of a not-very-well written blog post. Looking at other sources, it's a reference to the 2004 settlement in which AF paid out $40 million dollars for ethnic bias in their employment assignments. Certainly an assignment to the stockroom is less than desirable for other reasons. It's a dead-end position and without customer contact, significantly less valuable as resume filler.

The bottom line, as I see it, is that AF didn't make what in U.S. law would be termed "reasonable accommodations." If wearing a short-sleeved shirt was a bona fide qualification for the position, it needed to be spelled out as such in the job description and in the hiring process. Demoting a person you have hired because you reinterpret the dress code after the fact to exclude persons with disabilities isn't legal under U.S. law. I have no idea how employment law in the U.K. works however.
posted by KirkJobSluder at 11:08 AM on June 17, 2009


Well, she might have one arm but at least she's not FAT, amirite?

dude

she is so lucky because

do you know how much that arm would add to her bmi
posted by kittens for breakfast at 11:14 AM on June 17, 2009 [10 favorites]


So, while it's hard for me to muster up any sympathy for A&F in regards to anything whatsoever, let me get this straight: Riam Dean was happy to work at a place where someone born with crooked teeth, or a big nose, or a disposition towards fat, or tenacious acne, or whatever, was discriminated against. That's just fine with her, to be a part of that. And, only when it's the accident of her birth that A&F decides to dislike, does she give a thought to justice?

A plague on both your houses.
posted by tyllwin at 11:15 AM on June 17, 2009 [4 favorites]


That's pretty harsh. Maybe, like 95% of people, she didn't know about their history of discrimination or questionable hiring practices, and just thought it would be an acceptable summer job. Then she got discriminated against. Sorry you feel the need to curse her.
posted by naju at 11:26 AM on June 17, 2009


Maybe, like 95% of people, she didn't know about their history of discrimination or questionable hiring practices, and just thought it would be an acceptable summer job. Then she got discriminated against.

Riiiight. She was naive. In law school.
posted by Ambrosia Voyeur at 11:30 AM on June 17, 2009 [1 favorite]


95% of people don't know that they hire only the thin and the pretty? She thought it was coincidence? She discussed experiences with no one, and didn't look into her employers at all? If so, I've wronged her. But I sure wouldn't hire her as a barrister.
posted by tyllwin at 11:39 AM on June 17, 2009


allkindsoftime, you said "we"--- and your description of "typical" experience doesn't speak for all of "we."

It has nothing to do with "I'm better than that/too cool for it" as much as "my economic circumstances precluded me from even getting caught up in that particular set of activities." I'm sure that had I been more affluent, the temptation to play along with the sick popularity games you describe would probably have been hard to resist.

Now, if you want to discuss the ways in which upperclass white hetero (male or female) teen experience is predicated as "normal" by the media/advertising, despite being distinctly not-normal for a large (majority) number of American teens, then there's a lot of rich material there.
posted by emjaybee at 11:49 AM on June 17, 2009


95% of people don't know that they hire only the thin and the pretty?

Well, I certainly had no clue until I read a specific article on this subject a few years back. Apparently this is all common knowledge, so nevermind.
posted by naju at 11:53 AM on June 17, 2009 [2 favorites]


I no longer have any idea what the term feminism even means. Or at least, I'm not sure what Maria-Mercedes, Sasha, Taryn, Liv, Ashley,and the other Zelda editors mean by it.

They can't be second or third generation feminists; the feminists I grew up with would never name their child Ashley.
posted by kanewai at 12:44 PM on June 17, 2009


They can't be second or third generation feminists; the feminists I grew up with would never name their child Ashley.

Whoa, whoa, whoa wait just a minute. Do you mean... there arre feminists who BREED?
posted by Ambrosia Voyeur at 12:56 PM on June 17, 2009


Friend of mine in high school used to get the crappiest, ugliest thrift store shirts he could find, and write "TOMMY HILFIGER" or "ABERCROMBIE & FITCH" across the front with black Sharpie. And he would play it completely straight, like this was nothing out of the ordinary. I always thought that was hilarious.
posted by DecemberBoy at 12:58 PM on June 17, 2009 [20 favorites]


95% of people don't know that they hire only the thin and the pretty?

In the UK, I would say that's more like 99.9%
posted by Summer at 3:36 PM on June 17, 2009


95% of people don't know that they hire only the thin and the pretty?

Don't know how it is elsewhere, but here they used to have jock boys stand outside the store with no shirts and their pants hanging really kind of low on the waist. Low enough that I'm sure most of 'em needed a Brazilian. And you could see every ab, and every vein, on their hair-free bodies. Anybody who walked by would've guessed that they only hire thin and pretty.
posted by kanewai at 6:06 PM on June 17, 2009


>: The whole aesthetic is tailored to repressed/ closeted gay tweens and those without the sense to know any better.

Or to fratboys who would KICK YOUR ASS MAN if you once suggested their frosted fauxhawk looks really, really gay.
posted by dunkadunc at 6:34 PM on June 17, 2009 [1 favorite]


>: The guy is disturbingly douchey vain.

All the guys I've met who wear the uniform (polo shirt, reeking of cologne, acid-wash jeans, frosted hair, flip-flops- especially flip-flops) have been heinously obnoxious drunken pricks.
I lived in an apartment complex full of them last year and strangely enough, they were the ones calling us punk kids fags.
posted by dunkadunc at 6:49 PM on June 17, 2009


I'm in the US. I think it's common knowledge here, but the point's well taken that I shouldn't speak for the UK. Maybe I'm projecting my own regionalism onto them. More than one person seems to think so, at least, so: My apologies to her, and I'll assume it was merely naivete.
posted by tyllwin at 7:23 PM on June 17, 2009


I thought the UK didn't even have Abercrombie and Fitch, except for one store on Savile Row?
posted by smackfu at 7:59 PM on June 17, 2009


Wait, people actually go into that store? Who knew?
posted by davejay at 12:44 AM on June 18, 2009


Hey, I went into the store because I was given a giftcard. Everything they sell has that "well-worn" look, along with the usual A&F branding prominently displayed everywhere. I ended up getting underwear and taking off the logos where I could.

And A&F gives techno a bad name. Hearing GSY!BE in there would be amazing. Confusing, but amazing.
posted by filthy light thief at 6:47 AM on June 18, 2009


(The underwear didn't have the "distressed" look, so I should revise my previous statement to say "most everything they sell has that 'well-worn' look)
posted by filthy light thief at 6:48 AM on June 18, 2009


Also: I am now tempted to put up posters around the A&Fs I come to, proclaiming Mike Jeffries as their golden god, or a grim look at their future selves.

Also also: Mike reminds me of the main mutant on No Mutants Allowed (Fallout mega-fan-site).
posted by filthy light thief at 6:53 AM on June 18, 2009


It's like Gary Busey and Rocky Dennis had a child who was a burn victim. And also a tool.
posted by Snyder at 7:55 PM on June 18, 2009 [2 favorites]


95% of people don't know that they hire only the thin and the pretty?

They only have one store in the UK. When it opened, the media reported that they vetted who came through the door to shop too - I'd like to know if this is true. It's pretty much the opposite to my style, so I've never bothered - I bloody hate logos plastered on things.
posted by mippy at 5:17 AM on June 19, 2009


I'm reading that looks policy and thinking: I've had bright red hair since I was sixteen. I can't wear heels (much) or flip-flops, or many non-trainer shoes. I never wear 'natural' make-up, and having a bust means any summer clothing automatically looks more provocative than intended. Oh, and I'm not skinny either.

I'm reminded of my dad telling me that if I got dyed hair or tattoos, I'd never find a job when I got older. (He also told me that when I left university, I could start out as a secretary and if I worked really hard could make my way up to being a PA.) I've worked in the media since my degree, in casual offices (except when I worked in news) and with colleagues who have tattoos, or a piercing, or coloured hair. I'm aware that not everyone does work in this environment, but when between jobs I went to a temp agency and was shocked to hear that I would be expected to wear heels to a job in the City. Not 'look smart', not 'keep your shoes neat'.

I walked home then with the feeling that I never wanted to work in a job that would require me to achieve conformity with my appearance to the extent that it would leave me unable to make choices about what I wanted to do in my out-of-work life. I might be lucky enough to work in an industry that isn't uniformed, and I have the luxury of making this choice, but adults should not be required to wear what is essentially school uniform.
posted by mippy at 5:36 AM on June 19, 2009 [8 favorites]


Thanks for this blog, what a great site!
posted by agregoli at 6:47 AM on June 20, 2009


Abercrombie and Fitch CEO or Robert Downey's character in tropic thunder:

Face-altering surgery, affected persona, says 'dude' a lot.
posted by zippy at 12:30 PM on June 20, 2009


Thank god the author made sure to emphasize how pretty this girl is so I know I should sympathize. If she was truly ugly, I would assume she should know better.
posted by Foam Pants at 1:18 PM on June 20, 2009 [2 favorites]


Forget being pretty enough to work there "up front", I have to muster up courage just to walk into the place.

I really don't like their corporate culture, but their clothing is decent quality and very comfortable, the couple shirts I have from there are incredibly soft and have a taper that matches my body shape.

Every time I go in there I feel like all the boys that work there are judging me, reinforcing the whole "If you are young and not hot, you are not allowed to be gay." The last time I bought something there (because I love trolling the clearance section of the mall stores) I remember walking home with that A&F bag; beautiful, smooth, toned, blond boy printed across it.... The next day I felt so guilty. I wanted so bad to be acknowledged, talked to or flirted with that I'd spent money at a place that gives me a headache just being there.
posted by kzin602 at 7:37 PM on June 20, 2009 [1 favorite]


Does anyone else remember way back when AF was sort of an Eddie Bauer competitor? I know that's probably a shock to many, but it's true. You could walk in and get some very nice khakis, button-downs, etc. All very relaxed, vacation-up-at-the-family-lake-house, style. Matter-of-fact, you'd almost never see kids in there.

But then, the pretty bodies showed up...and the music (not that I mind the music, mind you)...and the 'tude.
posted by Thorzdad at 4:49 AM on June 21, 2009 [2 favorites]


Thorzdad, before that it was actually an outfitter of some note, apparently. My first awareness of A&F was in the late '70s, when they make a brief appearance in a light spy novel that I found on a shelf at the cottage.
posted by djfiander at 7:02 AM on June 21, 2009


I had a friend who worked at AF. Apparently employee theft was rampant - stuff would disappear from the stockroom all the time.
posted by Xere at 5:09 PM on June 21, 2009


I don't think they are unique there.
posted by caddis at 7:50 PM on June 21, 2009


stuff would disappear from the stockroom all the time.

If I worked for a place that was so horrible to its employees and forced them to listen to the same blaring mix all day, I would rob them blind too.
posted by dunkadunc at 1:59 AM on June 22, 2009 [2 favorites]


...before that it was actually an outfitter of some note, apparently.

'Tis true.

I have some of my grandfather's old fishing and outdoor gear and clothing from the original A&F. It was founded in 1892 and went bankrupt in 1977.
"In 1892 Abercrombie & Fitch began under the name David T. Abercrombie Co., a small waterfront shop and factory in downtown New York City owned by David Abercrombie....His clientele consisted mostly of professional hunters, explorers and trappers. And a man named Ezra Fitch. Ezra Fitch was a successful lawyer in Kingston, New York. Restless and thoroughly bored with his life of law, Fitch spent all of his free time trekking the slopes of the Adirondacks and casting flies into the streams of the Catskill. In his search for exceptional outdoor gear, he had come to rely upon David Abercrombie's shop, becoming one of its most devoted customers. He was so devoted, in fact, that in 1900 he had convinced David Abercrombie to let him buy into the business and become a partner. By 1904, the shop (which by now had moved to 314 Broadway) was incorporated and the name was officially changed to Abercrombie & Fitch....Abercrombie & Fitch continued to grow, with stores opening up in Chicago and San Francisco. But by the late '60s the store hit upon hard times and went bankrupt in 1977." *
The "brand" name was bought by the Limited in 1988.
posted by ericb at 12:09 AM on June 23, 2009


So in a way it's kind of like if L. L. Bean went broke and the brand was resurrected for capri pants hair products, and men's thongs.
posted by dunkadunc at 12:19 AM on June 23, 2009


dunkadunc: that's an apt analogy.
posted by ericb at 9:32 AM on June 23, 2009


It's probably cheaper nowadays to buy an existing brand than to do all the due diligence on a new one.
posted by smackfu at 9:36 AM on June 23, 2009


As well, the A&F brand was "dead" until The Limited bought it eleven years later.

I suspect they wanted to pick-up the WASP image that many in New York and New England still have of the original and the "sense" of an old, estbalished identity.

A&F today "brands" many of their products with the original founding date: 1892.
posted by ericb at 9:46 AM on June 23, 2009


It's probably cheaper nowadays to buy an existing brand than to do all the due diligence on a new one.

"[In 1978] A year later, Oshman’s Sporting Goods (now Sports Authority) bought the Abercrombie & Fitch name for $1.5 million.... Oshman’s sold A&F to the Limited for $47 million in 1988."*
posted by ericb at 9:50 AM on June 23, 2009


But L. L. Bean does sell...It depends on your definitions, I guess.
posted by SteveInMaine at 11:11 AM on June 25, 2009


A&F wasn't entirely dead between '77 and '88 -- A friend of mine worked at the Seattle A&F in 1987. I remember it being sort of upscale men's clothing at the time. Ties and button-down shirts and such. That was what he had to wear to work, too.
posted by litlnemo at 2:10 PM on June 29, 2009


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