Hardy Girls Healthy Women Protest American Apparel’s Best Bottom Contest
Megan Williams, Executive Director of Hardy Girls Healthy Women writes:
Hardy Girls Healthy Women (HGHW) is leading a campaign to get California-based clothing company American Apparel to pull their highly offensive and dangerous “Best Bottom Contest” ad campaign. American Apparel is looking for the best bottom in the world to be the “face” of their new ad campaign. They’re inviting girls (18yo & older) to upload pictures of their butts to the website wearing American Apparel underwear or body suits. Visitors to the site then have the option to judge the submissions with a score of 1-5 and add comments about the submissions.
Hardy Girls’ Executive Director Megan Williams notes “This campaign is not just offensive, but it’s dangerous. The objectification of girls’ and women’s bodies is a real concern in a country where 1 in 4 women is a victim of violence, and sexual harassment is rampant. This ad campaign invites girls to self-objectify, encouraging them to post pictures of just one body part and inviting others to comment and rate them. It’s unreal that American Apparel would launch this campaign on the heels of ‘sexting’ scandals where girls are being prosecuted for sending sexually explicit images of themselves via text and other forms of digital media.”
Dr. Lyn Mikel Brown, an education professor at Colby College and co-founder of Hardy Girls Healthy Women is concerned not just about the campaign’s invitation to girls and women to self-objectify but also the wider implications for girls and their healthy development. “The jury is in. The sexualization and objectification of girls and women in media wreak havoc on our psychological, emotional, cognitive, and relational lives,” says Dr. Brown.
As Thalia, age 19, says in the organization’s blog post about the ad campaign, “You don’t need to exploit us to benefit your company. Someone that is a CEO should have more common sense, don’t you think?”
The group is leading an awareness-raising campaign using social media and asking supporters to sign on to a letter of protest to American Apparel’s CEO and corporate relations representatives. The petition can be accessed at http://citizenspeak.org/node/1901
Hardy Girls Healthy Women is a social-change organization working with girls to raise awareness about the impact of negative media messages and stereotypes on girls and women and to engage girls in leadership and activism. www.hghw.org