[NSFW WARNING: the image and language in this post
may not be suitable for your workplace.]
American Apparel, like many, many players in the fashion industry, has been accused by us humorless feminists of running skeevy ads that promote rape culture and objectify women. However: unlike many, many players in the fashion industry, the company is fiercely active politically in both immigration rights and gay rights campaigns, pays its manufacturing employees a living wage, and provides its workers with benefits such as paid time off, health care, company-subsidized lunches, bus passes, shares of company stock, free English as a second language classes, on-site massage therapists, free bicycles and on-site bike mechanics, and free telephones on every floor of its LA factory so workers can make and receive long distance phone calls. And for any scoffing “free market” types out there who may be reading this blog, I would just like to (a) point out that despite its treatment of workers—or perhaps because of it, hmmm?—American Apparel’s gross margins are significantly higher than other basic apparel brands: its blended margins are roughly 70% (while GAP, for example, averages about 30%), and (b) tell you to go the fuck away. The grownups are talking here.
So anyway, you know, we are…ambivalent on the subject of American Apparel. But Samantha Irby, whose blog bitches gotta eat regularly throws us into fits of uproarious laughter, helpfully brought to our attention this American Apparel t-shirt, and OMFG we fucking love it:
[IMAGE: the torso of a model wearing a white t-shirt with a black, line-drawn graphic of a woman’s vagina with a vertical splash of red at the center of it, surrounded by lush pubic hair, while she is manually masturbating her clitoris and menstruating.]
According to American Apparel:
Our screen-printed Power Washed Tee featuring self-pleasing artwork by Petra Collins
About the Collaboration
The Ardorous is an all-female online art platform curated by Petra Collins, a Toronto-born artist. Petra began her infatuation with photography at age 15 and became an American Apparel retail employee around the same time. She creates portraits exploring female sexuality and teen girl culture. Now 20, Petra has worked with Vice, Vogue Italia, Purple, Rookie, and is a contributing photographer for American Apparel.
Support Artists, Support Ethical Manufacturing
50% of proceeds from the sale of these garments go directly to The Ardorous artists and 50% supports American Apparel’s vertically integrated, sweatshop-free approach to business.
Yes, I find this image provocative—in a fun way. It is simultaneously an affirmation of the right to sexual pleasure for women, a statement that vaginas can bleed and you know maybe we should all just get the fuck over it, as well a hearty fuck you to the rigorous demands of maintaining a porno-pussy of the hairless-so-as-to-look-prepubescent variety. For all of these reasons, we hereby award to Petra Collins and American Apparel the highly coveted Perry Street Palace Major Award for T-Shirt of the Day.
Unfortunately, I would have very few occasions to wear the t-shirt. Unless somebody forced me to go to church or something.