Wednesday, May 15, 2013

Giving Abercrombie & Fitch Clothes to the Homeless is Not Inspiring, It's Insulting

Yesterday I noticed a video going viral on social networking. In the video, a man is giving Abercrombie & Fitch clothes from local thrift shops to homeless people in an effort to "insult" the Abercrombie & Fitch CEO, Mike Jeffries, because of his fat phobic and tasteless comments about not wanting "uncool" or "fat" people to wear the brand.

Not cool, guys. Not cool.

I honestly can't think of anything more classist and insulting than this.  Basically what this act is suggesting is that homeless people are so disgusting, untouchable, and "the lowest of low" that anything they represent or wear is to be considered a horrible insult to that brand.  How absolutely sad and disgusting that message is.  It's fantastic to help the homeless, but if you are just simply exploiting their misfortune by trying to make a political statement, that's just plain... mean.

This isn't inspiring, creative, or helpful: it's mean, classist, and exploitative. It can actually also be perceived as an act of bullying itself.

If you want to take action against Abercrombie & Fitch because you don't like bullying or fat-phobia, don't do it by being classist.

If you want to take action against a brand, do any number of these things:

- Stop buying it.

- If you own any of their "Billboard-esque" clothing, recycle it.  Kitchen rags, maybe?

- Talk to friends and family about why you did the above.

- Write a letter to the brand, or write on their Facebook wall, to tell them how you feel about their actions.  Tell them you won't be buying their brand anymore.  When you say it, mean it.

Lots of people sharing this video are applauding it, and the message behind it. These are not ignorant people, either. These are forward-thinking, progressive, and intelligent people.  I think they just didn't see it from this perspective, and I hope that now they can. While I don't think people who like this video and the message it sends are classist or bullies, I think it shows how easily we can get angry about one inequity to the point that our anger can blind us from other inequities.

"Here you go, you are so fucking disgusting that if you wear this shirt it will piss off a CEO.
This is so much more inspiring than fat-phobia!"

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