american apparel

We all know that sex sells, but when it comes to our kids, most of us draw a line. That is why the ads for American Apparel are so offensive and shocking. The clothing company is under fire for sexualizing teenage models.

This latest scandal comes three years after a 2009 campaign raised similar eyebrows. Britain's Advertising Standards Authority (ASA) is accusing the brand of "sexually suggestive, gratuitous and flirtatious" images of models that appear to be under the age of 16. But the issue isn't just the company here. What about the parents of these young girls. Don't they share part of the blame?

The poses in these so-called ads are so sexually suggestive, it's clear that more than just clothes are being exposed here. The ASA received two complaints about the company. One mother said she wanted to shop the brand's website with her 12-year-old daughter but found 23 images featuring stockings and hosiery that were "unnecessarily sexual."  Another complained of images of girls modeling shirts -- you could see their breasts through the fabric.

Given the strong reaction from others, I can't believe the mothers of these models just let their children be sexually exploited this way. Of course, it's unclear just how old these young girls are but the ASA certainly felt there was strong enough evidence to ban these ads in Britain. Why in the world do they need to reveal buttocks and breasts to cell clothes? Just what is this company trying to sell here?

I am a huge fan of the products but I have to say, this is a complete turn-off. They are completely inappropriate ads for a brand that targets tweens and teens. For it's part, American Apparel said that the images were "completely decent and a fair representation of their product." Well, the ASA certainly didn't agree. They said the images were "likely to cause widespread offence, because they were displayed on a website which could be viewed by, and was likely to have appeal to children under 16 years of age."

I'm no prude, but I am on the side of the Brits in this battle. I wouldn't want my child shopping on a site with these images and I sure as heck wouldn't let her model for it. Our kids are bombarded with sex and sexual images at ever turn -- TV, movies, video games. Why do they need to see half-naked girls in highly suggestive poses when they are buying plain cotton tees and tights? It's just not right.

Do you think these ads are offensive? Would you let your teen pose so provocatively?

 

Images via americanapparel.com