Apr 172011
 
Authors: Lydia Jorden

My pupils dilated as I walked through the darkness, my nose withered with the smell of heavy musk and my skin trembled as I accidently ran into a fake plant. Yes, I am in Abercrombie.

Abercrombie and Fitch has been a major target of the mass media. Lawsuits surrounding racism throughout the company have been a pressing issue. This is because Abercrombie blurs the lines between what is appropriate to market and what they do market. It is obvious that Abercrombie tries to advertise to a specific teen personality when they release phrases on their clothes such as “Muck Fe.”

However, what I witnessed in Abercrombie as I walked in sends just as overt a message as “Muck Fe.”
Push-up bikinis marketed to 8-year-olds.

As disgusting as a trend it is to market sexualized products to children, and as questionable Abercrombie is as a corporation to do this, the company is truly not to blame for producing these sexualized items.

I am not endorsing Abercrombie as a brand — what they write on their garments and how they market them is certainly immoral and unethical. However, what many people do not understand is that there is a huge market for these sexualized push-up bikinis and bras, regardless of age.

The bottom line is that businesses will manufacture anything to make a profit.

Mass media socializes women to make them feel that bigger breasts are “sexy” and therefore desired. Teens are not oblivious to socializing agents: When they see a Victoria Secret commercial on TV, they want to look like the model. This is not an accident. Everything placed in a certain advertisement is placed for a purpose. The beauty industry is growing and marketers are taking advantage of the younger demographic.
Abercrombie is only guilty of catering to the demand of their consumers.

Unlike the company, the parents who buy their children these sexualized products are problematic because they keep the demand for the products, or clothes in Abercrombie’s case, high.

The mothers who buy their children shirts that have a playboy bunny on it are the same parents who will get their child a bikini wax. They will proceed to live vicariously through their child by entering little Sally in a beauty pageant.

Many favor the idea of banning the advertising of sexualized products. These individuals think that simply banning the production will result in immediate innocence among the youth and no exposure to the industry. However, censoring ad agencies, whose job it is to sell these products, is certainly a restriction on freedom.

Additionally, with exposure to television, billboards, magazines, internet and even a child’s personal environment, complete censorship will never be fulfilled because it is impossible to regulate every type of media.

The telecommunications act of 1996 even strove to give parents more control over what their children are watching on television. One provision of the act required that every TV produced after 2000 was to have a V-chip in it. This V-chip allows a parent to monitor the stations their children can watch. Whether or not the parents choose to participate in the act is completely optional, but the technology is out there.

Instead of censoring agencies, a change needs to happen within the society. Parents need to become more active in educating their children by monitoring their children. Once the changes in society are made, the market will react and tailor their products to meet the demands of society.

Instead of shaking a finger at the smart companies for reacting to the market, take action to change the mass media that influences the market by educating children on reality, not what mass media promotes.

Lydia Jorden is a sophomore business major. Her column runs Mondays in the Collegian. Letters and feedback can be reached at letters@collegian.com.

 Posted by at 3:53 pm

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