The retailer has been criticized for a photograph of a skirt hitching up to reveal a young woman’s buttocks. The real problem is a society insisting its youth grow up too soon.
The shot shows a woman bent over a car, head unseen buried into its window: The focus is on her bare, colt-thin legs, and the ruffled base of a skirt teasing the outline of her buttocks. The articles condemning American Apparel for posting the image on its U.K. Instagram account block out the buttock area, or blur it—intriguingly, as without blurring it’s barely visible. The technique makes the advertisement seem more pornographic than it is.
As ever when it comes to American Apparel, the photograph is less about the article of clothing and more about objectifying and sexualizing the wearer.