Sexual Harrassment Won’t Sell Change

Everybody has one – a hip and trendy Obama t-shirt – and I wanted mine too. So, after e-mailed me for the one-hundred-millionth time this week, I finally clicked on the link to their website and donated $12.00, just enough to guarantee the delivery of my very own “Obama Head” tee.

Then I read the description of the t-shirt: “These high-quality, union-printed American Apparel shirts are part…” I stopped reading right there.

When American Apparel first opened its doors I was a fan – great t-shirts, low cost, and no sweatshop labor. Excellent.

I stopped shopping at American Apparel when I looked up from my cheap t-shirt and took in the store’s décor – the hyper-sexualized images of adolescent girls made me cringe. My personal boycott was affirmed when I read that the CEO of the company, who sometimes appeared in these creepy ads, was being sued for sexual harassment.

For those too young to know – and for those who follow “feminists” who prefer to talk about mommy drama or who they’re sleeping with (or not), instead of politics or the law – sexual harassment suits weren’t even possible before Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964. The first class-action lawsuit was filed over twenty years later, and only twenty years ago, in 1988. The victory (recently brought to the big screen with Charlize Theron) changed the culture of the workplace…at least, for some.

Dov Charney, the CEO of American Apparel, is apparently opposed to the idea that people should be free from sexual harassment while at work. In fact, he promotes a sexually charged workplace in which women are allegedly referred to as “sluts” and “whores.” Charney defends the workplace culture of his company. “You talk to any man who works in entertainment or fashion, and if he tells you he has not used the word ‘slut’ … I think he’s lying,” he told a reporter in this LA times article.

In the election that is all about women, why choose the company with a sleazy marketing campaign and an obnoxious CEO with a history of sexual harassment claims?

In the election that is all about women, why purchase products from a company with a CEO who thinks it is okay to call a woman a slut?

MoveOn needs to find a new source for their Obama t-shirts. A quick google search turned up a website for “No Sweat” a Massachusetts-based company that also produces union-made, no sweatshop labor apparel. Even better, the website sports a Rosie the Riveter logo.

I am sure that there are other t-shirt makers out there who better embrace the change that the Obama campaign so often speaks of. (Please drop a link in the comments section if you are one or you know of one.)

Until MoveOn stops using American Apparel supplied t-shirts, this woman will remain topless.




Filed under election 2008

4 responses to “Sexual Harrassment Won’t Sell Change

  1. consciousnessrazor

    Just wondering if you sent this to the MoveOn folks…

  2. blfmstprof

    I haven’t. I’ll drop them a line and will let everyone know what response I get, if I get one at all.

    Enjoyed your posts, by the way…glad to see the election is making way for some new feminist dialogue.

  3. blfmstprof

    Just submitted a note on MoveOn’s comments/suggestions page.

    Here’s the automated reply:

    Thanks for contacting

    We welcome your comments and suggestions.
    We get a lot feedback, so please don’t count on a personal reply.
    But all mail is read and carefully considered.

    Sincerely, Support

    I’ll let you know if I receive more substantive comments.

    Here’s the link if you want to make a comment too:

  4. jke4

    Anyone who thinks that the harassment charges might be unproven should check out the transcripts at the Dateline website from depositions. Charney admits saying ‘cunt’ to at least one woman employee and to wearing only underwear in the office on a regular basis. Also, they have a picture of him, and, although his looks are hardly the point, I just have to say–ugh!

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