I know, I know. I said I wasn’t going to be negative this week. But, you know, sometimes a girl has to speak her piece or else it’ll be bottled up inside her and unleashed in unhealthy ways.
Anyway, as most of you know, I used to be a fan of Lady Gaga. In fact, I still am–of the fun dance/pop music she makes, that is. Some days I don’t even mind that she’s just a giant pastiche of concepts copied from Madonna, Elton John, David Bowie, Boy George, Gwen Stefani, Peaches, Ace of Base, M.I.A., Ayumi Hamasaki, Roisin Murphy and pretty much every other gay dance/pop icon on the planet. Cuz, hey, the music is fun. And EVERYONE–mainstream or indie or neither–will and does dance to a mashup of Gaga’s songs while inebriated.
And, yes, she deserves some props for actually attempting to do something about Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell.
But here’s the thing. When I see a picture like this
it inevitably reminds me of this (A&F’s classic “Two Wongs can make it white” tee!)
Racist shirt sold at Abercrombie & Fitch circa 2002
and this (Racism comes in all the colors of the American flag!)
more vintage racist t-shirts from A&F circa 2002
and also this (A&F also makes t-shirts for all you all you ladies who want to feel objectified!)
sexist A&F t-shirts cira 2005
Lady Gaga, the most blogged about, talked about, memed about, watched and listened-to pop artist right now used to wear a brand that I absolutely loathe and will actively and unabashedly judge people for wearing.
I was a junior in high school when Abercrombie & Fitch came out with a line of t-shirts featuring retro-racist Asian ching-chong imagery.
- I remember an Asian girl at my school actively boycotting the brand and encouraging the rest of the student body to do so.
- I remember when some of my classmates–some of them Asian–made fun of this girl for “making a big deal out of nothing” and telling her to “lighten up ‘cuz the shirts are funny.”
- I remember being angry.
- I remember vowing never to shop at Abercrombie & Fitch again.
- I remember a Thai girl in my dorm at college who was a whole hour late for a job interview at our local A&F but was hired anyway because she showed the manager her boobies.
- I remember looking at A&F’s ads and hating my body for not looking like either of these
And then the company recalled the shirts. And then I got over it. But every now and then when I see someone wearing A&F attire, I remember…
Anyway, the fact that Gaga used to dress like a total tool in high school makes me agree 100% with this statement by Justin Fenner of Stylite.com:
The pop star announced at the Video Music Awards that the title of her new album is “Born This Way,” because Gaga claims to have been born a “freak.” But a new book — and several photos — prove that her style choices weren’t always as extreme as a dress made of meat.
Just what is so “freakish” about a normal girl wearing normal clothes meant for “normal” body types like hers?
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