Or is it just me? May 31, 2012 7:08 PM   Subscribe

I like the DECK ads, but the American Apparel ones aren't like the others. They are objectifying and cliched and make me wince every time they pop up. Any way for MetaFilter block those specific ads or send feedback to the DECK people to let them know they're hurting their brand by allowing that kind of crap?
posted by jsturgill to Feature Requests at 7:08 PM (270 comments total) 6 users marked this as a favorite

I agree.
posted by LobsterMitten at 7:16 PM on May 31, 2012


nthing
posted by Golden Eternity at 7:21 PM on May 31, 2012


Amen.
posted by SMPA at 7:21 PM on May 31, 2012


Why are you seeing ads if you're a member?
posted by Justinian at 7:23 PM on May 31, 2012 [1 favorite]


You could contact the deck people. They have a website.

I also agree.
posted by cjorgensen at 7:23 PM on May 31, 2012


Agree 100%. They are vaguely embarrassing to me-like I hate when someone walks by when one is on the screen, just cringe worthy.
posted by supercapitalist at 7:25 PM on May 31, 2012


Agreed. As a father, I can't even look at the billboards without cringing, much less the ads for me here.
posted by davejay at 7:28 PM on May 31, 2012


Preach.
posted by the young rope-rider at 7:29 PM on May 31, 2012


I'm down with this pony, I just logged out and yikes.
posted by Blasdelb at 7:29 PM on May 31, 2012


I can't see the Deck ads--logged in, and when not logged in, have Adblock--but I *have* seen the latest American Apparel ads, which look like creepy voyeuristic softcore, and agree they are horrifying. It's really depressing to me they are socially acceptable as advertisements, since they so blatantly objectify women.
posted by nonmerci at 7:31 PM on May 31, 2012 [6 favorites]


I agree. Those ads are awful.
posted by ThatCanadianGirl at 7:31 PM on May 31, 2012


La la la. What, sorry, I was warming up for choir. We've got a big gospel number coming up.
posted by The 10th Regiment of Foot at 7:32 PM on May 31, 2012 [8 favorites]


Also, I do generally really like the Deck ads and have spent a decent amount of money (okay, like ten dollars) on one of the companies there. Sometimes I wish I could see a list of their products because I see something that seems interesting but click away accidentally. The AA ads...not so much.
posted by the young rope-rider at 7:34 PM on May 31, 2012


There have been a few... questionable... ads showing up on Deck. I finally just turned it off, which made me sad as I actually bought some stuff advertised (most notably the TocaBoca toddler games. Top quality apps, the kid loves 'em.)
posted by Slap*Happy at 7:43 PM on May 31, 2012 [1 favorite]


I hate American Apparel as much as the next person (undoubtedly more) but the only ad I'm seeing for them is a young woman with a duffel bag? Is there another, grosser one?
posted by winna at 7:44 PM on May 31, 2012 [1 favorite]


It never occurred to me that an ad company could have their own brand.
posted by crunchland at 7:45 PM on May 31, 2012 [3 favorites]


I just refreshed a number of times and saw two ads with women in sportswear and one of underwear graphics. Are those the ads in question?
posted by deborah at 7:45 PM on May 31, 2012 [1 favorite]


I don't see anything particularly objectifying. They are selling that clothing, they picture a woman in the clothing. There are bad ways to do that, but it's not always bad. Am I missing something out of line there?
posted by furiousxgeorge at 7:55 PM on May 31, 2012


I agree, and indeed have thought about posing the question before but wasn't sure how to do so.
posted by brina at 7:55 PM on May 31, 2012 [1 favorite]


I refreshed like a million times and saw a young woman posed like a cat in heat in leggings and a tanktop, a young woman in some sort of tacky pseudo swimsuit, and another young woman in silver 50's style bra and panties. They're out of character for the Deck ads, I agree, which seem usually to be minimal cartoon-style drawings. They also make the page look like a newspaper's online page or some other place where no one curates the ads and there are six-inch screaming blink ads for STOP BELLY FAT NOW which may be less than ideal. But for American Apparel ads, which usually make me sick to my stomach, they're positively demure.

If they could be blocked I would not repine.
posted by winna at 7:58 PM on May 31, 2012 [3 favorites]


Those who have AdBlock, you can see The Deck's current ads here.
posted by SMPA at 7:58 PM on May 31, 2012


Okay, maybe the black and white one with the woman bent forward and looking to the camera might be no good. Obviously not showing off the clothing there, the rest seem fine though?
posted by furiousxgeorge at 7:59 PM on May 31, 2012


I agree. They seem wildly off for this place.
posted by jenkinsEar at 7:59 PM on May 31, 2012


The American Apparel ads are the reason I no longer bring home the L.A. Weekly to read; I have a child who doesn't need to see that objectification sitting around on the coffee table. It would be nice not to see them here, either, but that's just about me, not my child.
posted by BlahLaLa at 7:59 PM on May 31, 2012 [2 favorites]


Maybe the ads showing this minute are not too bad but sometimes they're right next to soft porn.
posted by ThatCanadianGirl at 8:00 PM on May 31, 2012


I don't like them but I also don't see them thanks to AdBlock. This is strictly a mathowie call though. Will see what he has to say.
posted by jessamyn (staff) at 8:02 PM on May 31, 2012


contralto joining the choir.
posted by batmonkey at 8:04 PM on May 31, 2012


Yeah, the American Apparel ads have been getting annoying. I've gotten in the habit of clicking refresh if they come up. They wouldn't bug me if they weren't in such heavy rotation. But I haven't actual disabled them yet.
posted by nangar at 8:09 PM on May 31, 2012


Yeah, I find them kind of annoying and have complained twice to the folks behind The Deck. At the time they said they removed a couple they thought were over the line (there was one with some woman's butt up in the air with leggings that were flesh colored and she looked naked) but they disagreed on the others.

I'll ping them again and see if we can block more of them.
posted by mathowie (staff) at 8:10 PM on May 31, 2012 [19 favorites]


At least they're not doing a roadblock.
posted by michaelh at 8:19 PM on May 31, 2012 [1 favorite]


It seems like The Deck's brand is 'classy', but the AA visual brand is 'trashy'. It's inexplicable to me why they carry them.
posted by LobsterMitten at 8:51 PM on May 31, 2012 [1 favorite]


furiousxgeorge: I was thinking specifically of these ones (super NSFW).

This is not a strategy that inspires me to purchase leggings.
posted by nonmerci at 8:51 PM on May 31, 2012 [2 favorites]




Those are definitely much tamer than the ones I linked to above. I still find them needlessly sexual, and personally don't support them/that POS that runs the place.
posted by nonmerci at 8:54 PM on May 31, 2012 [1 favorite]


I agree nonmerci. This ad is more like your link.
posted by unliteral at 8:57 PM on May 31, 2012


Or these.
posted by unliteral at 8:59 PM on May 31, 2012


I am very much a fan of the Deck's model (or have been, until they started running dodgier advertisers like the one in question), to the point of having nascent but on-hold plans to emulate them in a different vertical niche, and though I also run adblock, I specifically whitelist their ads.

It does kind of damage the credibility of the Deck's brand to run ads like those. It's not like they're hurting for high-profile high-revenue advertisers who want to be on the network (as far as I know), so it's a bit of a bewildering choice for them.
posted by stavrosthewonderchicken at 9:00 PM on May 31, 2012


Print this thread out and show it to your ad provider.
posted by demiurge at 9:11 PM on May 31, 2012 [18 favorites]


nthing that the stench of AA ad imagery shouldn't be anywhere near MeFi (or the Deck, which is otherwise a very cool ad provider).
posted by lalex at 9:17 PM on May 31, 2012


I will toss in my agreement that the American Apparel ads reflect poorly on Metafilter and on The Deck. I've considered starting this same Metatalk thread probably a dozen times after one of the tasteless AA ads has appeared on my screen but I figured, and seemed to remember, that this discussion had already happened and a decision had been made to keep them. Maybe the decision was to not push too hard to remove them. Or maybe I'm just remembering something that never happened at all. In any case, if one more voice in favor of removing them will help to get it done, consider me yelling in support.
posted by Balonious Assault at 9:30 PM on May 31, 2012 [1 favorite]


Remember the good old days when the kerfluffle was over Suicide Girls ads?
posted by mr_crash_davis at 9:33 PM on May 31, 2012 [15 favorites]


Another vote for ditching the AA ads.
posted by arcticseal at 9:36 PM on May 31, 2012


American Apparel® Deck ads

Thanks for linking those, uniliteral. With adblock running, I wasn't sure what people were actually seeing. Honestly, those don't seem at all objectionable to me; I can see why some people wouldn't like AA's edgier ads, but those could easily be shown in a conservative local newspaper.
posted by Forktine at 9:39 PM on May 31, 2012 [10 favorites]


Which of the ads unilateral linked to are particularly bad? Or is it more of an AA in general sort of problem?
posted by Justinian at 9:50 PM on May 31, 2012


American Apparel has made so many gross porny ads, even the tamer ones rub me the wrong way now. It's not a brand I like to be reminded of.
posted by Metroid Baby at 9:51 PM on May 31, 2012 [29 favorites]


I'll ping them again and see if we can block more of them.

I am in a professional position to assure you that as a supplier of ad placements, you should absolutely have the option to whitelist the ads appearing on your site, or at least be able to identify and blacklist offensive ads. Don't let DECK tell you otherwise, and if they lament that their ad management system doesn't have the capacity to do it, then you're well within the boundaries of reason to say "then I want you to manually block all ads from American Apparel."
posted by davejay at 10:05 PM on May 31, 2012 [8 favorites]


Actually, I shouldn't have said "...blacklist offensive ads." More accurately, you should at least be able to block ads you find inappropriate for your site's brand. The industry generally understands that you're not just offering ad placements to the highest bidder, because you don't want the ads to, say, offend your visitors (as is happening here.)
posted by davejay at 10:07 PM on May 31, 2012 [5 favorites]



Why are you seeing ads if you're a member?


Because its friday over here and I need something to overthink for a drink?
posted by infini at 10:12 PM on May 31, 2012 [1 favorite]


The set of ads unilateral linked to is not the same as the ones we've been seeing for the last couple of months. They might have just switched to a new set, since DECK's list of advertisers now lists "Summer Basics" for American Apparel.

I hit refresh a few times and got one of the new ones. None of the old ones came up. The new set seems a lot less objectionable or annoying.
posted by nangar at 10:17 PM on May 31, 2012


you should at least be able to block ads you find inappropriate for your site's brand

That's a good point and sidesteps the issue of them saying "we disagree it's offensive".
posted by ryanrs at 10:57 PM on May 31, 2012 [3 favorites]


I also hate them; I see them when I'm logged in because I don't run adblock here and I do like some of the ads on the deck.
posted by rtha at 10:57 PM on May 31, 2012 [2 favorites]


Hey mods, would it help your case if we really shit up this thread with GRAR? Because we can do that. Just say the word...
posted by ryanrs at 10:58 PM on May 31, 2012 [1 favorite]


yeah, agreeing that the ones linked don't represent what i saw a few days ago. i saw a couple different porn stars (in fairly porn star poses) modeling body suits and thigh high socks and what not. i was sort of taken aback, but then i realized that i recognized the porn stars from their other work, so i probably didn't have a lot of higher ground to stand on.
posted by nadawi at 11:04 PM on May 31, 2012 [19 favorites]


oh, and i see them because i specifically white list metafilter and by extension, deck ads, because i like the site and i have liked things deck has advertised before.
posted by nadawi at 11:05 PM on May 31, 2012


Yeah, these newer ads are better than the previous ones, but now even when I see the only mildly filthy I immediately think of their more disgusting exploitation porn aesthetic elsewhere and I just never want to see or think about AA again. Maybe that one ad with the red shoes can stay.
posted by stoneandstar at 12:12 AM on June 1, 2012 [3 favorites]


*mildly filthy ads, that is. When I see the mildly filthy in other contexts I do not always object.
posted by stoneandstar at 12:13 AM on June 1, 2012


American Apparel's schtick is so sad. I don't see their ads here but I feel badly for anyone who does.
posted by Kloryne at 12:25 AM on June 1, 2012 [1 favorite]


I also agree. There is a massive screen by my work near the tube station and they currently have an American Apparel ad with a girl in her underpants doing the splits. A few months ago it was a girl in tights bending over a chair. I am more mortified of seeing AA ads on metafilter than on that jumbotron during my commute. So cringe-y.
posted by like_neon at 2:15 AM on June 1, 2012 [3 favorites]


Agreed.
posted by Philosopher Dirtbike at 2:52 AM on June 1, 2012


I was close to starting this Meta post yesterday, so count also me as a "No, sir, I didn't like it."
posted by seanmpuckett at 4:04 AM on June 1, 2012


For reference, an image search for 'american apparel ad banned' (or see this from the Huffington Post) pulls up a recent ad campaign that caught the attention of UK ad standards folks earlier this year.

First two links not safe for work.
posted by mediareport at 4:49 AM on June 1, 2012


There's no doubt that the pics on Huffington are beyond the pale, but the Deck ads seem pretty tame to me. Is this really more of a veiled complaint about American Apparel in general and the whole pervy ethos, or are people really, truly offended by the little 2x2 ads that appear on Metafilter -- when you're logged out -- and not blocking ads...?
posted by crunchland at 4:52 AM on June 1, 2012 [2 favorites]


Davejay is absolutely right here. There are all sorts of reasons a website would want to block a specific advertiser from an ad network, and it shouldn't be hard for the network to oblige. (A common situation, on sites that both directly sell ads and run network ads in their remnant inventory, is the client buying ads on both the network and the site. Then you run into snags: the client may update its ads on your site and forget to do so with the network, and then complain to you when he sees his outdated ad on your page; the client may see his network ads on the site and wonder why he's also paying a premium price for the exact same placement; maybe it's a former client and things didn't end well and he didn't pay, or a prospective client and you're trying to pitch him something and oh shit there's his network ad. This doesn't apply at all to Metafilter, but I'm throwing it out as an example of a non-pearl-clutchy reason to block a specific advertiser.)

I know we've raised a stink about the AA ads before, both publicly and privately, and I know mathowie's taken action, only for the ads to show up a little later.

So much of online advertising is straight-up awful, and it always makes me happy to see it done right. The Deck mostly gets it right, so it's a shame that they're unwilling or unable to block AA from showing up here. Not only do the AA ads cheapen their brand, their apparent pushback on taking them down isn't doing much for their reputation.
posted by Metroid Baby at 4:57 AM on June 1, 2012 [4 favorites]


Is this really more of a veiled complaint about American Apparel in general

Folks have been very clear about that above.
posted by mediareport at 5:11 AM on June 1, 2012


crunchland, Deck ads show when you're logged in if you haven't selected the hide option.
posted by chiababe at 5:13 AM on June 1, 2012


Is this really more of a veiled complaint about American Apparel in general

As mediareport says, there isn't much veiling going on (in the ads either, for that matter).

Personally I don't find AA offensive. The owner sounds like a perv, but I'd guess a significant fraction of CEOs have quite unsavory personal lives that blend into their office lives; the difference is that they are sophisticated enough to keep the press out of it. And I give them a lot of credit as a company for the efforts they have made on quality of work issues for employees as well as on immigrant rights; those for me far outweigh personal skeeviness of the owner, but that calculation is going to be different for everyone.
posted by Forktine at 5:18 AM on June 1, 2012 [4 favorites]


Nadawi, there are porn stars in American Apparel ads? Interesting.
posted by zarq at 5:48 AM on June 1, 2012


Nadawi, there are porn stars in American Apparel ads? Interesting.

Yes, for about five years now. From the wikipedia page:

The company has also used pornographic actors in some of its ads including Lauren Phoenix, Charlotte Stokely, Sasha Grey and Faye Reagan.

Most of their ads, though sometimes pornalicious, do not have porn stars as models; you are expected to recognize and be titillated by the actual porn star ads, I assume. Here is a Jezebel post about it from three or four years back, for example (with some NSFW photos, of course).
posted by Forktine at 5:54 AM on June 1, 2012 [2 favorites]


Also, my memory is that their introduction of the really controversial ads, including the one that showed Sasha Grey's pubic hair, was part of an FPP here, too.
posted by Forktine at 5:57 AM on June 1, 2012


are people really, truly offended by the little 2x2 ads that appear on Metafilter -- when you're logged out -- and not blocking ads...?

You see them when you're logged in if you haven't selected the "hide" option. For some people the DECK ads are unobtrusive and actually sometimes point to things they are interested in so they leave them on. And you don't have to be offended by them to not like them. On a text-only site when the only photo you see is a gal in her underwear bending over a chair, that's 100% of the images you're seeing on the site, save the site's graphics.

We make a bit of an effort to have the MeFi Experience be a little more "Hey we would like the perspectives of nerdy people of all ages and genders and persuasions and races as long as they're not assholes. Come to MeFi and talk with us" and that becomes ever so slightly more problematic when we've got these ads pushing people's buttons. Most of the DECK ads don't even have photos, they're just small graphics, usually about nerdy stuff.

It's totally okay for people to say they don't like them.
posted by jessamyn (staff) at 5:57 AM on June 1, 2012 [33 favorites]


Is it OK for people to say that they do like them?
posted by Jestocost at 6:12 AM on June 1, 2012 [3 favorites]


Sure. There have definitely been people already saying they don't mind them, but then we also get this "are you guys really truly offended?" stuff which implies that it's not okay to speak up about disliking the ad unless there is something grievously wrong with it and I'm just making it clear that we don't feel that way and welcome people's feedback. We occasionally have people email us with the URL of an Ad Sense ad which is either weirdly inappropriate to the thread it's in or, more rarely, just offensive/annoying/icky on its own. We encourage people to let us know about those sorts of things because there may be something that we can do.
posted by jessamyn (staff) at 6:16 AM on June 1, 2012 [7 favorites]


For a lot of folks, it's not so much that AA's specific ads are specifically "edgy" or NSFW or whatever, but that the business itself isn't nearly as wholesome as the ad copy tries to make it seem. There's a lot of controversy about how the owner treats employees, requires the people around him to be treated, and responds to requests to do otherwise. Because of that, I have a hard time squaring any monetary situation - however tenuous - between AA and a place I like as much as MeFi.

I was running the Deck ads (even on my home machine, where I use AdBlock Plus), but the AA rotation irritates me so much that I've blocked them again.
posted by batmonkey at 6:17 AM on June 1, 2012 [4 favorites]


I'm not offended by them, but I don't like them. They seem totally out of place with the site and the rest of the ads on the Deck. They are jarring. I read several sites in the Deck network. They are tech related or design (or metafilter), so links to field notes and Fab seem natural, then there's AA. It's out of place in my mind.

And this is from a guy that likes NSFW content.
posted by cjorgensen at 6:23 AM on June 1, 2012 [3 favorites]


I am made mildly queasy by the AA ads (and the association with the related baggage of AA) and am very grateful that #1 is addressing the issue.

Thank you, MeFi.
posted by subbes at 6:29 AM on June 1, 2012 [2 favorites]


Are they already turned off? I just reloaded MetaFilter's front page and another site 100x each and saw all the other ads on the DECK multiple times, but never an AA one.
posted by mikepop at 6:30 AM on June 1, 2012


I haven't seen the AA ads here (I hid the DECK ads), but the AA banner hads they have on the SA forums are pretty, uh, racy I guess. I hadn't seen AA ads like that before so I was pretty surprised they were actual official ads for a big highstreet clothing brand and not ads for either a lingerie shop, a lads mag (FHM etc), or a porn site. I agree that sort of thing doesn't really fit with MeFi's brand, esp given we have previously removed the Suicide Girls ads.
posted by EndsOfInvention at 6:34 AM on June 1, 2012


I looked at the deck pictures linked above by unliteral. They're kinda small, but from what I can see they are about as offensive as a Sears catalog.

OK, maybe the one with the woman showing off her bum bothers some people? If that's it, I guess that company's ads have to go, because it's pretty much just an honest advertisement for what the company sells: a suit for the sort of woman who wants to make people look at pretty much 100 percent of her bum's exterior and, if she bends over like this, probably a fair tour of the interior, too.
posted by pracowity at 6:35 AM on June 1, 2012 [2 favorites]


The only American Apparel ads I've seen on Metafilter are the little 120x90 ones, and I've never found them objectionable. They're website content and their larger ads are much more sexual. Do those larger ads ever show up on Metafilter for any users? I agree that would be a problem. The smaller ones, not so much.

(For the record: paying member, no ad-block.)
posted by alms at 6:37 AM on June 1, 2012


pracowity, it's already been established that those images aren't the ones that got folks squicked.
posted by mediareport at 6:44 AM on June 1, 2012


One other person who would be happier not to have to encounter these ads or any from this company as long as they continue to try to walk this line: "We're contributing to the problem, but don't hate us because we pay people fair wages." There are many companies that make clothing that pays people fair wages. We don't have to be aiding and assisting one that does so by contributing really objectifying images of women intended to look peri-adolescent. It's a very nasty, manipulative and callous strategy and, though their money clearly talks to the Pheonix and other similar outlets for college students dying-to-be-hip, it would be nice if there could be some outlets where their money really isn't quite so loud and their usual coy shtick really isn't so interesting.
posted by Miko at 7:00 AM on June 1, 2012 [3 favorites]


I'm conflicted, AA seems like a really good company with the glaring exception of their ads. I've been coveting some of their underwear for awhile now, but Gah, the ads.

On the other hand, their actual product modeling, on the whole, is excellent from a buyer's perspective, since it shows the product being worn and isn't highly stylized.
posted by odinsdream at 7:03 AM on June 1, 2012


American Apparel has made so many gross porny ads, even the tamer ones rub me the wrong way now. It's not a brand I like to be reminded of.

OTM, which is a shame, because I like the cut and colors of the AA t-shirts a lot. I don't like t-shirts that hang on me and the AA t-shirts solved that problem nicely. But the porno-chic thing is so skeezy and tired and the company pushes it so relentlessly, that it's embarrassing to actually buy anything from them. I might as well buy from Frederick's of friggin' Hollywood.

I guess the ads work for them or, presumably, they would change them, but it seems to me that AA is one company where a little less, uh, "aggressive branding" would actually sell more product.
posted by octobersurprise at 7:10 AM on June 1, 2012


Forktine: "Yes, for about five years now. From the wikipedia page:

The company has also used pornographic actors in some of its ads including Lauren Phoenix, Charlotte Stokely, Sasha Grey and Faye Reagan.


That's really interesting. Thanks.

The only name on that list that I've heard of is Sasha Grey. Are the others immediately recognizable to a large audience?

Most of their ads, though sometimes pornalicious, do not have porn stars as models; you are expected to recognize and be titillated by the actual porn star ads, I assume. Here is a Jezebel post about it from three or four years back, for example (with some NSFW photos, of course)."

Thanks for this, too. Had no idea. They're sort of mashed up in my mind with Abercrombie and Fitch as having objectifying/sexualized ad campaigns.
posted by zarq at 7:13 AM on June 1, 2012


I'm conflicted, AA seems like a really good company with the glaring exception of their ads. I've been coveting some of their underwear for awhile now, but Gah, the ads.


There is actually a huge amount of controversy over AA's business practices. I would suggest googling for more information if you are interested.
posted by insectosaurus at 7:54 AM on June 1, 2012 [4 favorites]


hey everybody remember when mefi had ads for suicidegirls
posted by entropicamericana at 8:08 AM on June 1, 2012 [1 favorite]


we also get this "are you guys really truly offended?" stuff which implies that it's not okay to speak up about disliking the ad unless there is something grievously wrong with it

Nobody said that, at least not in this thread.
posted by John Cohen at 8:12 AM on June 1, 2012


Count me in as another person who left the Deck slot visible because it had tasteful ads for companies I might want to buy from, but is now planning to hide The Deck because of tasteless ads for a company I find kinda gross.
posted by the latin mouse at 8:14 AM on June 1, 2012


pracowity, it's already been established that those images aren't the ones that got folks squicked.

Then which ones actually appeared in MetaFilter? I logged out and turned off filtering and refreshed a bunch of times, but I couldn't get any AA ads to appear.
posted by pracowity at 8:49 AM on June 1, 2012 [1 favorite]


Nobody said that, at least not in this thread."

Kinda, actually, yes.

Which, again, this is not to say people can't reasonably disagree about this stuff, but we're going to be clear that our position is not "if some folks don't think it's offensive, then other folks can go stuff it". It's fine to like the ads. It's fine to actively dislike the ads. It's fine to not care much one way or the other. Different folks are different, and nobody has to pretend to like or not like something because other folks in the crowd like or dislike it.

But when it ends up being set up as a bunch of people saying "this bothers me" vs. someone saying "seriously, this bothers anyone?" it can feel a little like, yeah, why would you assume speople saying something bothers them means anything other than it does in fact bother them? Which gets a little extra tricky when it's a conversation about a community push on a policy issue.
posted by cortex (staff) at 8:50 AM on June 1, 2012 [5 favorites]


Kinda, actually, yes. -- That's one interpretation. Another is that there's no doubt that AA offends some people, but I was wondering whether they were more offended by the actual Deck ads, or the fact that Deck was pushing AA at all. The Deck AA ads seems pretty tame to me, so I was a little incredulous that someone was actually offended by them and not using them as an excuse for some larger complaint.
posted by crunchland at 8:59 AM on June 1, 2012 [1 favorite]


I don't mind the Deck ads in themselves - I understand we need the ads and kind of like some of the stuff.
posted by Miko at 9:09 AM on June 1, 2012


I love American Apparel ads. Peace out to Brooklyn.
posted by chunking express at 9:10 AM on June 1, 2012


The only American Apparel ads I've seen on Metafilter are the little 120x90 ones, and I've never found them objectionable. They're website content and their larger ads are much more sexual. Do those larger ads ever show up on Metafilter for any users?

The ads we're talking about were the same size as the regular DECK ads. I don't think there's any such thing as objectively objectionable. It's totally possible for me to be annoyed by something that other people didn't notice.

The previous set of ads seemed more about promoting the idea that American Apparel = sexy (for a certain value of 'sexy' they're trying to promote as their image). The new set mostly just seems to be about 'we've got swim wear'.

I can also confirm that the American Apparel ads seem to be gone entirely. I refreshed the front page a bunch of times and didn't get any, though the other ones started to repeat.
posted by nangar at 9:10 AM on June 1, 2012


Is this a viral marketing campaign? I am now far more aware of American Apparel than before.
posted by Wordwoman at 9:17 AM on June 1, 2012 [4 favorites]


Well, the original complaint is that the ads were "objectifiying and cliched". Looking at the example ones (which I understand are tamer than the ones showing up), I don't find them offensive per se, but I do find many of them objectifying and cliched.

This pose is about sex, not swimwear. These two are classic pinup poses. This lady just bent... and snapped!

Again, for me they are not offensive. Just regular run-of-the-mill objectification of women. Which was the original complaint.
posted by muddgirl at 9:17 AM on June 1, 2012


One other person who would be happier not to have to encounter these ads or any from this company as long as they continue to try to walk this line: "We're contributing to the problem, but don't hate us because we pay people fair wages." There are many companies that make clothing that pays people fair wages.

Certainly there are some (I'm not sure if "many" is a characterization I'd use), but it seems to me like most of the people who are so scornful of American Apparel don't then go out and buy things from those companies—they go out and buy clothes from Target or the Gap or Land's End or something, clothes that are almost certainly made in places where sexual harassment and much worse is far more prevalent than it is at AA and where wages are not fair at all. The thinking seems to be that it doesn't matter because—unlike Dov Charney's bad behavior (which, to be clear, I am absolutely not defending in any way)—the exploitation involved in the clothing that Target sells takes place in far away countries where we don't have to look at it or think about it or read about it in the news, so who cares.

I can't speak to anyone else, but this is why the anti-American Apparel sentiment displayed in these threads rubs me the wrong way. There are many things to criticize about the company—its union busting, Charney's sexual harassment, its insanely controlling rules about retail employee appearance—but to imagine that the clothes that the overwhelming majority of the people in the US buy are not produced by companies that do far worse things is to be willfully blind.
posted by enn at 9:18 AM on June 1, 2012 [3 favorites]


The Deck AA ads seems pretty tame to me, so I was a little incredulous that someone was actually offended by them and not using them as an excuse for some larger complaint.

The Deck AA ads are pretty tame, mostly, compared to AA ads that appear elsewhere. I still don't like to see the tamer ones because I think they're still gross, and they stand out all the more on an otherwise photo-free page. I'm not personally offended, but I don't think that should have to be the metric by which we decide whether some particular bit of advertising is okay for mefi or not.
posted by rtha at 9:19 AM on June 1, 2012


Yeah, I'm not understanding people linking to ANY American Apparel ad that might have appeared anywhere. Which ads are appearing in Metafilter? Are we talking about what specific ads appear on Metafilter, or are we actually talking about whether we think AA has produced ads that appear elsewhere that we don't like? AA makes lots of porny ads, but they also make lots of ads that are just "skinny young girl wearing a skimpy dress, to advertise said skimpy dress".
posted by 23skidoo at 9:20 AM on June 1, 2012


Another is that there's no doubt that AA offends some people, but I was wondering whether they were more offended by the actual Deck ads, or the fact that Deck was pushing AA at all. The Deck AA ads seems pretty tame to me, so I was a little incredulous that someone was actually offended by them and not using them as an excuse for some larger complaint.

I don't find the current batch linked above to be NSFW or anything, but the first two on the linked page push the "questionable" buttons. I honestly don't know if that's because of implicit associations I have with AA's history or if that's my genuine reaction to those ads on their merits alone.

Generally though, AA's ads have the vibe of being taken by some kiddie-porn producer in 1982 or something, and just have a sort of icky feel even if they're not generally explicit. Also, you wouldn't know it based on the linked ads, but apparently, they also make clothes for men!
posted by LionIndex at 9:22 AM on June 1, 2012 [2 favorites]


On a text-only site when the only photo you see is a gal in her underwear bending over a chair, that's 100% of the images you're seeing on the site, save the site's graphics.

Last I brought this up, I wasn't quite able to articulate this. Thanks, Jessamyn!

Girl in a mirror - what's so offensive about that? In context, it's the only picture on the site. Even if it can be argued that pose is not sexual, and they are not implying some makeout business, it's unquestionably objectifying. For another site where that's OK, it would obviously be very tame.

Here, it sticks out like a sore thumb next to questions like "I'm ugly. How do I proceed?" Never been to this site? Have issues with your appearance? Well, this ad implies your question is going to be answered by dudes, first of all, and dudes that maybe like to have a little objectifying mixed in with their sensitive question answering. Hit the back button, toss your question.

It's not a matter of NSFW-ness. It's the tone that they set.
posted by ignignokt at 9:23 AM on June 1, 2012 [7 favorites]


Another thing: with most networks and third-party ad servers, the advertiser does not have to inform the site of any ad changes; they just show up. This is super common, and usually isn't a problem, because most ads are no big deal - the change is something like a different promotion or a different background. But in the case of American Apparel, whose ads vary in grossness, they could schedule a perfectly fine image today and an unambiguously raunchy one next week, and the "we'll get rid of this one, but this other one's totally harmless" issue could continue indefinitely. Practically speaking, it would be just so much easier to block all AA ads than to vet every single image.
posted by Metroid Baby at 9:24 AM on June 1, 2012


it seems to me like most of the people who are so scornful of American Apparel don't then go out and buy things from those companies

There is no possible way you could know this.
posted by jessamyn (staff) at 9:26 AM on June 1, 2012 [11 favorites]


Again, for me they are not offensive. Just regular run-of-the-mill objectification of women

If a company is trying to sell clothing that is supposed to look "sexy", how would they be able to advertise it without doing that though? There are certainly problems with sexualized depictions of women in advertisements in general, but if the product being sold is supposed to be something that makes a woman look attractive then it seems like the most relevant possible reason for showing a model in a sexualized pose.
posted by burnmp3s at 9:27 AM on June 1, 2012 [1 favorite]


More on the branding issue:

AA has ruined my image of it as a company and its products. AA WANTED to be associated with everything conveyed by those other images, and so they are. Even the stuff that isn't as explicate. That's the whole point of advertising.

Similarly, let's say I stumbled on to askme via a google search. I would absolutely judge the reliability of the answers by what ads were up. AA ads (even tasteful ones) would for whatever reason increase the likely hood of me thinking "oh, this doesn't look helpful" and moving on. I'd associate Askme with AA, and all that AA stood for in my mind.

I think that the random little ads that show up on the page are part of the culture of the site. It's perfectly reasonable to discuss them as such, even if the level of dislike (by those of us who are having the discussion) is "I'm not crazy about this" instead of "this makes me want to leave."
posted by Gygesringtone at 9:28 AM on June 1, 2012 [7 favorites]


Generally though, AA's ads have the vibe of being taken by some kiddie-porn producer in 1982 or something, and just have a sort of icky feel even if they're not generally explicit.

I feel like there's this general assumption (not in the quoted comment but in general) that if the models in the ad are clothed, it can't be objectionable. But I don't really agree with that - if an exposed breast can be desexualized (say, if a woman is sunbathing or breastfeeding), then a clothed woman can be sexualized (say, if she is posing in an explicitely porny pose).

Personally, I love porn. I love pinup girls and pinup boys. I block even DECK ads so I don't know if I have a dog in this fight. But I do find it jarring and wince-worthy when I encounted 'tame' photos of women in 'sexy poses' on an otherwise non-sex-related newspaper or website. It reminds me that I am a woman and thus I am an object.

If a company is trying to sell clothing that is supposed to look "sexy", how would they be able to advertise it without doing that though?

Do people who buy AA clothing wear it specifically to be sexy? I don't get that impression from the people I know who wear AA. Regardless, we can say the same thing about lingerie manufacturers, and I imagine that if Fredericks of Hollywood started advertising through DECK, the outcry would be unquestioned (beyond general accusations of prudery).
posted by muddgirl at 9:29 AM on June 1, 2012 [10 favorites]


There is no possible way you could know this.

I think it's pretty safe to assume that Metafilter isn't entirely composed of freak outliers who only buy clothes made in high-wage countries. Only 2% of clothing sold in the US is made in the US and while some of the rest is made in other places where workers are paid and treated well, almost all of it is made in sweatshops in third-world countries chosen specifically because labor is cheap and workers' rights are nonexistent. Yes, there are certainly some people on this site who only buy the (expensive) high-wage stuff; if you think that they are the majority, I have a hard time believing that.
posted by enn at 9:32 AM on June 1, 2012 [1 favorite]


Target doesn't brand itself as a company with an exemplar track record for worker's rights the way that AA does. I do think there is value in pointing out that AA's stance on worker's rights may be more hype than reality, even if I shop at Walmart or Target.
posted by muddgirl at 9:34 AM on June 1, 2012 [1 favorite]


100% agreed with muddgirl. I do put up with sexy, objectifying ads everywhere else because there's little I can do about it, but if I can ask someone to get rid of them here, what would be great. It's that much less mentally exhausting tbh. It is endlessly depressing to me how much the pressure to be a sexy woman erodes my "rich inner life."

And yeah, I don't like AA's ads at all but I don't have much of a belief in consumer activism so I have bought clothing there before, as well as from Target and Wal-Mart and Old Navy, &c. It's pretty hard to avoid buying problematic consumer goods. (See: my laptop; see: my smartphone.) It's not really about that at all, just the mental effect of seeing advertising everywhere, especially at a thinky place like Metafilter when the advertising message is "Women are objects!" If I saw these ads on my university homepage I'd cut someone.

Also, people who are complaining about the complaints on the grounds that the ads are tiny or not that bad or which ads are they aren't reading the thread, it would seem.
posted by stoneandstar at 9:38 AM on June 1, 2012 [1 favorite]


Okay, enn, what is your point? That we all should buy American Apparel? That everyone who questions their practices is a big lying liar/hypocrite? That only people who can afford expensive clothes can dislike American Apparel's labor practices? That everyone in the US sucks unless they look like they belong in a Hanna Anderson catalog?
posted by the young rope-rider at 9:38 AM on June 1, 2012 [4 favorites]


(Not that you can't think they're not that bad, but the current ads are only one batch, which is a little better than ads past.)
posted by stoneandstar at 9:39 AM on June 1, 2012


it seems to me like most of the people who are so scornful of American Apparel don't then go out and buy things from those companies

Well, random mind-reading of strangers aside, we actually had a pretty complicated metatalk discussion about who to source shirts from a while back when trying to figure out the logistics of printing some mefi shirts based in part on people's dislike of AA's brand aesthetic but a desire to find a supplier who was producing good shirts with non-shitty labor practices. In a context where labor practices were more central to the issue, they were certainly discussed at length by mefites, not shrugged off.

The fundamental problems with mass clothing manufacturing aren't easy to solve or for a lot of folks even practical to try and be activist about (it takes a whole lot more time and effort and money to source clothing with a spotless labor and practices pedigree from cotton plant to retail product than most folks really have), but it is indeed something some folks think about and care about even when they're stuck by circumstance with a compromise. And the inability to solve that complicated economic dilemma at a stroke doesn't disqualify folks from also having problems with an aggressive brand aesthetic.
posted by cortex (staff) at 9:41 AM on June 1, 2012 [7 favorites]


I think the American Apparel ads are mildly annoying and I'd support them going away, or that they have already gone away, or whatever.

I feel no need to justify this position beyond my opinion that they set a weird tone.

I anyone felt legitimately deprived by the lack of American Apparel ads, I would encourage them to speak up, however, I question why anyone would think I needed to justify my disapproval of the ads by commenting on the amount of gross and whether they are gross enough or the global sweatshop economy.
posted by newg at 9:42 AM on June 1, 2012 [7 favorites]


burnmp3s, things I have bought at American Apparel: t-shirts, leggings, a pair of overalls. I imagine the t-shirt would be advertised by a skinny model wearing no underwear, the leggings would be advertised by a skinny model in a bra with her ass in the air, and the overalls would be advertised by a woman wearing no shirt, with one of the straps covering half her nipple. Their clothes aren't really uniformly sexy-wear (with the exception of their... jumpsuits), they just choose to advertise normal clothes in an extremely sexualized way. And there's a difference between Victoria's Secret's hot women in bras and AA's women with greasy hair in dark, abandoned rooms with an amateur phtographer, or whatever they happen to be doing. Neither of which I really want advertised on Metafilter, though.
posted by stoneandstar at 9:46 AM on June 1, 2012 [6 favorites]


When we lived on the Eastside of LA previously, there were a lot of AA ads. They recruited seamstresses in our area, so you had two types of billboards: The wholesome girl-in-field-of-flowers ad with "Do you sew? Make X$/hour, plus yoga!" in Spanish.

And then, because it was also hipster ground zero, there was a whole slew of ads that were about what my husband called "Let's all fuck this drunk chick who fell down the stairs and has a broken ankle."

I think I may sometimes seem vaguely prudish by Metafilter standards, but I totally am not - I was raised by crazy hippies in Europe and I am completely unfazed by nudity. I don't care if an ad for clothing is like "Check out this lady, she has a butt." But there is a genre of AA ad that really pushes certain fear buttons in my brain - "This lady did a bunch of heroin and now she's passed out in this hammock, WANT TO FUCK HER WHILE SHE'S UNCONSCIOUS????" - and it's so consistent that I just do not believe that I am making it up and the company is totally oblivious.

So, like others, I freely admit that AA as a brand is so tainted by this shit for me that I can't even be cool about little "Hey, we sell swimwear" ads, I keep waiting for the next frame where the girl is now sprawled brokenly across a park bench with her eyeliner smeared across her cheek.
posted by thehmsbeagle at 9:50 AM on June 1, 2012 [52 favorites]


I think we just need a second DECK campaign showing nothing but Abercrombie and Fitch advertisements to balance it out. Maybe occasionally rotating in some ads for male testosterone replacement and some liposuction commercials. Seems like the real problem is that they're limiting their audience by limiting their scope. Missing a perfect opportunity to offend absolutely everyone. You can try harder, DECK. Make the young men and the oldies hate their bodies, too. I know we can objectify everyone if we just try a little harder. Together, we can make this happen.
posted by It's Raining Florence Henderson at 9:52 AM on June 1, 2012 [3 favorites]


This pushback about Ameican Apparel here is interesting and ironic. Woot has been taking heat since they recently switched away from American Apparel in favor of another t-shirt manufacturer for their daily t-shirt sales. Lots of people are so upset about that switch that they've been boycotting Woot because of it.
posted by crunchland at 9:54 AM on June 1, 2012


if an exposed breast can be desexualized (say, if a woman is sunbathing or breastfeeding), then a clothed woman can be sexualized (say, if she is posing in an explicitely porny pose)

I completely agree with that, and certainly many of the ads are sexualized.

Do people who buy AA clothing wear it specifically to be sexy?

I don't know, but swimsuits and underwear are both types of clothing that for at least some people are about looking attractive to the people who see you wearing them, and AA is certainly marketing their's as serving that purpose. I don't think the idea of "You will look sexy wearing our clothes!" is all that absurd of a marketing message from a clothing brand and sending that message will generally involve ads that make the models look sexy.

It reminds me that I am a woman and thus I am an object.

I think probably the objectification thing is the only part we disagree on, but that is mainly because I don't really agree with the specific objectification concept but I know that is a contentious point. At any rate I agree that the amount sexualized images of women out there in general is problematic in a lot of ways.
posted by burnmp3s at 9:55 AM on June 1, 2012


I don't think the idea of "You will look sexy wearing our clothes!" is all that absurd of a marketing message from a clothing brand and sending that message will generally involve ads that make the models look sexy.

I think this is a bit of a red herring when it comes to the topic of advertisements on Metafilter. I never said I had a general problem with sexy posing in advertisements. My problem is when those advertisements are so pervasive that they are seen as always unproblematic, such that any clothed woman - no matter the context - is deemed 'tame'.
posted by muddgirl at 10:02 AM on June 1, 2012 [6 favorites]


crunchland, do you get that the pushback here is about AA's general branding and ads, and how those are a disconcerting match for Mefi, and not about their labor practices or anything else?

I don't know about their labor practices (I know they say they're great and some others say they're not), and from what I've seen their products are pretty good. As a shirt-buying person, I would love to have a source of shirts that fits nicely and is made with good labor practices.

But I won't buy from AA under any circumstances because their ads and aesthetic are horrible and make my day worse whenever I see them. It's not being "offended", it's being put on edge, squicked, etc. Blech. They're visual pollution and worsen any space they're in. Barfo.
posted by LobsterMitten at 10:05 AM on June 1, 2012


This pushback about Ameican Apparel here is interesting and ironic. Woot ....

What does Woot have to do with this discussion?

(And I don't think "ironic" means what you think it means.)
posted by quivering_fantods at 10:09 AM on June 1, 2012


Ironic, in that on another site, people are upset about a switch away from American Apparel. Here, people are upset about Deck's switch to showing American Apparel. You don't think that's at all ironic?
posted by crunchland at 10:12 AM on June 1, 2012


The irony is that advertising is the Woot of all evil.
posted by It's Raining Florence Henderson at 10:13 AM on June 1, 2012 [1 favorite]


You don't think that's at all ironic?

Like rain on your wedding day.
posted by octobersurprise at 10:14 AM on June 1, 2012 [3 favorites]


"Do people who buy AA clothing wear it specifically to be sexy?"

Yeah, I happen to work at a place with a lot of early-20s women who do buy AA stuff to look sexy and talk a lot about how AA stuff makes them feel sexy. I tend to think that they underestimate their own sexiness and overestimate the amount that comes from wearing a lycra bodysuit, but I also know that for a lot of women, sexiness comes at least in part from costuming and I don't really think it's my place to adjudicate the source of sexiness for my coworkers.

The tension comes from AA also having a lot of generally functional clothing, or cool clothing, which is different in design and aim from their sexy clothing.
posted by klangklangston at 10:14 AM on June 1, 2012 [2 favorites]


Why do you agree that the amount of sexualized images of women is a problem but disagree with "the specific objectification concept"? What does that mean?

And jesus, I think most people who object to the AA aesthetic (which really is intrusive and unpleasant, from this woman's perspective) understand the distinction between their advertising and their labor practices. I'm actually well aware of the woot controversy, since I used to buy shirts there and their new shirts no longer fit me, and as I said, I don't specifically boycott any one company. But it's not really "ironic" that people who might care about their labor practices in one context are sick of their exploitation aesthetic in another. (It seems pretty obvious to me that their aesthetic is/was derived from porn c. 1970s?)

And once again, AA doesn't only sell swimsuits and underwear. They advertise just about everything in their catalog in a sexy fashion (including tube socks), usually by pairing it with some other very minimal coverage. I don't really know how to defend my personal reaction to the ads except by agreeing that yes, they put me on edge, distract me, create an automatic reaction of shame and body hate which I then need to reason away from, make me feel as though my value is in being a sexual exhibitionist rather than a thinking, feeling person, &c. This might seem over the top, but it's the instantaneous, non-intellectual reaction, and people don't seem to argue about the power of advertising when it comes to needing whiter teeth or craving a bacon cheeseburger.
posted by stoneandstar at 10:15 AM on June 1, 2012 [2 favorites]


(And yes, also, I forgot to mention that I have bought one of their body suits, which was enjoyable in a sexy way, but there's just not a simple correspondence between feeling sexy in your person and being shown hundreds of women posed as sexual objects every day.)
posted by stoneandstar at 10:17 AM on June 1, 2012 [2 favorites]


You don't think that's at all ironic?

Nope.

Woot is a different venue, with a different mandate and user base (though of course there is an overlap in user here and there).
posted by quivering_fantods at 10:18 AM on June 1, 2012


But stoneandstar, don't you know that women choose their tube socks to be the most attractive to men evar???
posted by muddgirl at 10:20 AM on June 1, 2012 [7 favorites]


Umm, sorry - please don't click on that link if you can already guess the contents and know it will be upsetting/angering. It's for anyone who seriously believes that AA poses women in sexy positions to sell sexy clothing. Or maybe I'm missing an underground athletic sock fetish.
posted by muddgirl at 10:23 AM on June 1, 2012


Two or three years ago, we were in Dolores Park for the start of Dyke March. Half the fun of the pre-march festivities in the park is checking out what everyone is wearing (sometimes they are not wearing much beyond body paint). We noticed that particular year that there were lots and lots - like, weirdly a lot - of people, mostly women, wearing tube socks. A typical costume might be: body paint on boobs; sparkly shorts; tube socks. Many of the tube socks were regular gym-type socks, but some were rainbow socks. We disapproved of the look because it was dumb.
posted by rtha at 10:24 AM on June 1, 2012 [1 favorite]


IS THAT TUBE SOCK AD FOR REAL????

Insert Futurama Fry meme going

NOT SURE IF THE ONION
OR AMERICAN APPAREL AD.

posted by thehmsbeagle at 10:24 AM on June 1, 2012 [4 favorites]


I do put up with sexy, objectifying ads everywhere else because there's little I can do about it, but if I can ask someone to get rid of them here, what would be great. It's that much less mentally exhausting tbh. It is endlessly depressing to me how much the pressure to be a sexy woman erodes my "rich inner life."

stoneandstar nailed it.

Also, as we are all essentially content providers for this site in that our writing *is* the content of the site, it's not trivial to me that I want to protect my own "brand". As dubious as my intellectual charms may be, I sure as shit do NOT want them going toward putting pennies in the pockets of brands that hurt my head, as AA does. Nuhuh no way no how.
posted by quivering_fantods at 10:27 AM on June 1, 2012


It's pretty hard to avoid buying problematic consumer goods. (See: my laptop; see: my smartphone.) It's not really about that at all, just the mental effect of seeing advertising everywhere

I absolutely agree and I'm not saying that everyone should only buy the non-sweatshop stuff—I don't think that personal consumption choices are a very good way of bringing about the changes that I would want to see in world labor relations. And I completely understand why some people don't want to see sexual ads on Metafilter. I was simply responding to Miko's specific claim that there are plenty of other places to buy fair-wage clothing and so we should all dislike and avoid American Apparel. I don't agree that there are plenty of alternatives (certainly there are zero other brick-and-mortar stores, in most places, that you can physically go to where basically everything is made in high-wage countries, until you get to much, much higher price points) and I don't believe that it is productive or appropriate to police other people's consumer purchasing or to judge people for buying something from a company whose advertising you dislike.
posted by enn at 10:33 AM on June 1, 2012 [2 favorites]


I totally missed miko's comment so sorry my comment to you was so full of WTF-ery and aggressive confusion. WTF AT ME
posted by the young rope-rider at 10:39 AM on June 1, 2012


Oh god, haha. Yeah, I think the athletic tube sock thing has picked up some weird fashion function, unfortunately. So sure, they need to put photos of headshots of their models orgasming next to their socks to sell the idea of "tube socks as actually really sexy drrrty hipster lingerie!" ... but that doesn't mean that their dumb tube sock porn ads have an unquestionable right to be plastered all over my magazine/Metafilter/breakfast cereal. At least not if I can simply ask and actually have someone do something about it. (Thanks so much, mods!)

And since a common argument is generally accusations of prudery, I have much less of a problem with ads depicting actual sexual attraction between two people, or a woman who looks sexy and humanized, but ads that are just gratuitous helpless poses meant to appeal primarily to men (see the coked-out exploitation porn schtick) are basically saying, "Hey women, don't you want to be a sex object? Look like a woman who gets paid to be objectified, but spend your money instead of earning some? Buy our gritty, provocative tube socks!" And yeah, that's kind of shitty, and there are other ways (and better contexts) to advertise sexy clothing.
posted by stoneandstar at 10:39 AM on June 1, 2012 [2 favorites]


I thought the tube sock thing started as, like, "Hey, YOU can feel like you're screwing an undergrad! If your girlfriend wears tube socks while you fuck!"

But really, they don't make those ads to sell socks. They make those ads to set their brand as provocateurs fighting the good fight against us prudes. It gets their name in print, which I guess indirectly increases sock sales. I absolutely agree that AA could market itself provocatively without the objectification.
posted by muddgirl at 10:44 AM on June 1, 2012 [1 favorite]


Why do you agree that the amount of sexualized images of women is a problem but disagree with "the specific objectification concept"? What does that mean?

I don't agree that, as you put it, the message of the advertising is inherently "Women are objects!". Male gaze, sexualization, etc. are all concepts I understand and think make sense, but I personally don't think sexualized images inherently promote thinking of people as dehumanized objects any more than similar non-sexualized images do. The reasons I think having so many sexualized images of women can be problematic are probably similar to your's (they create an unrealistic expectations of attractiveness, they promote always viewing women in sexual terms, ect.) other than that particular point. I'm not looking to pick a fight on this issue and I probably shouldn't have brought it up.
posted by burnmp3s at 10:46 AM on June 1, 2012


This all said, if it's a choice between the dollars or the ads I say keep the ads so you can keep the dollars. I can get over my feelings about them if it means the site gets to continue running with people getting paychecks.
posted by cjorgensen at 10:52 AM on June 1, 2012


I looked at the link posted above by SMPA showing all the current Deck ads and there's nothing from American Apparel, so I guess they removed them?
posted by exogenous at 10:56 AM on June 1, 2012


It does say "June Ads" so they might have just switched out last month's set of advertisers for this month's without intentionally removing American Apparel.
posted by burnmp3s at 11:00 AM on June 1, 2012


And everyone lived happily ever after!
posted by Justinian at 11:25 AM on June 1, 2012


Yeah, I looked at the link and AA was gone from the list. Let's hope they don't bring them back. AA squicks me a lot of the time, and while I haven't seen this particular set of ads, I expect AA ads to be gross and would rather the Deck put better ads on Metafilter

Data point: I see ads sometimes when I check the site through an RSS link on my iPad; I'll be logged out/no adblock but it's not a huge deal.
posted by immlass at 11:35 AM on June 1, 2012


the logistics of printing some mefi shirts based in part on people's dislike of AA's brand aesthetic but a desire to find a supplier who was producing good shirts with non-shitty labor practices

Sad thing is that I didn't really feel the end result was as nice as my AA shirts. YMMV.
posted by smackfu at 11:38 AM on June 1, 2012


So in the future, is it better to complain here about the ads that The Deck puts out, or would it be more appropriate to go there and complain? Considering Matt said he's complained in the past with ambivalent results, I would imagine that a bunch of people complaining to them might have more sway.
posted by crunchland at 11:53 AM on June 1, 2012


i would think it would be best to let mathowie handle his own business arrangements. i don't see how a mob of us complaining will help him/the site.
posted by nadawi at 12:15 PM on June 1, 2012 [2 favorites]


I'm not crazy about the ads, but you can have my 50/50 shirts when you pry them from my cold dead torso.
posted by Lutoslawski at 12:32 PM on June 1, 2012 [1 favorite]


I thought the tube sock thing started as, like, "Hey, YOU can feel like you're screwing an undergrad! If your girlfriend wears tube socks while you fuck!"

Honestly, that statement is way grosser than any of the ads. I think tube socks are crazy ugly, but ascribing women's choice to wear them to a semi-pedophilic demand by men is way uglier than those nasty socks.
posted by Forktine at 12:37 PM on June 1, 2012 [2 favorites]


My apologies for being vague. By "tube sock thing" I mean that specific advertisement from American Apparel. Of course I don't think a bunch of ladies at, say, Dyke March were wearing tube socks to please their men.
posted by muddgirl at 12:42 PM on June 1, 2012 [1 favorite]


I was thinking there was a Metatalk thread about AA ads years ago, but, upon further reflection, I was confusing American Apparel and Suicide Girls.
posted by box at 12:43 PM on June 1, 2012 [1 favorite]


i have an absurdly large sock collection. some of them are tube socks, some of them are rainbow bright inspired. i like 'em cuz they make my legs look good. i don't buy them from AA though - sockdreams all the way.
posted by nadawi at 12:43 PM on June 1, 2012 [1 favorite]


My apologies for being vague. By "tube sock thing" I mean that specific advertisement from American Apparel. Of course I don't think a bunch of ladies at, say, Dyke March were wearing tube socks to please their men.

That makes much more sense, and I could have left my GRAR at home, sorry.
posted by Forktine at 12:46 PM on June 1, 2012


I would have grar'ed at my comment. It was pretty poorly written.
posted by muddgirl at 12:48 PM on June 1, 2012


i also think sock dreams is a good example of how to do pictures that are alluring, show the product, and aren't objectifying.
posted by nadawi at 12:50 PM on June 1, 2012


nadawi: I don't think anyone is suggesting that Matt should do what we say. People have a problem, and they're on metatalk talking about that problem. This is a good thing.
posted by zoo at 12:51 PM on June 1, 2012


zoo - i'm not sure what you're responding to. i was responding to crunchland's suggestion that we go complain directly to the deck about ads we have a problem with instead of bringing it to metatalk. i was saying that we keep discussing our issues here and let mathowie take care of how he wants to pass that message on, if he wants to at all. sorry if that was confusing.
posted by nadawi at 12:53 PM on June 1, 2012


i don't buy them from AA though - sockdreams all the way.

Holy crap, time to surprise my wife with socks. Thank you.
posted by Gygesringtone at 12:57 PM on June 1, 2012 [3 favorites]


i also think sock dreams is a good example of how to do pictures that are alluring, show the product, and aren't objectifying.

Says who? I'm objectifying the hell out of those pictures right now!

Note: Not really, well maybe some, but I'll decide what I objectify myself, got that?
posted by The 10th Regiment of Foot at 12:57 PM on June 1, 2012


i don't see how a mob of us complaining will help him/the site. -- I guess my point was, is our complaint with Matt, for displaying the ads, or with Deck with pushing the ads, and considering he didn't get much headway the last time he complained, maybe a different approach is needed next time someone sees a Deck ad that they object to.
posted by crunchland at 1:11 PM on June 1, 2012


Yeah, I looked at the link and AA was gone from the list.

Strangely enough, AdBlock blocks a few of the ads from that list, including the AA one. Most of the images are hosted at connect.decknetwork.net; the AA one is loading from a mediaplex server so adblock hides it.

Anyway, pause your adblock and look again; it's still there.
posted by ook at 1:16 PM on June 1, 2012


I talked to the deck folks at length today and the AA ads should no longer show up.

THE SYSTEM WORKS PEOPLE.
posted by mathowie (staff) at 1:16 PM on June 1, 2012 [75 favorites]


Thank you! and thanks to The Deck too.
posted by LobsterMitten at 1:30 PM on June 1, 2012 [1 favorite]


Cool. Now, could you please do something about the economy? Should only take a few hours.
posted by It's Raining Florence Henderson at 1:30 PM on June 1, 2012 [11 favorites]


and the drug crisis, too. By which I mean our lack of them
posted by jonmc at 1:36 PM on June 1, 2012


Speak for yourself.
posted by It's Raining Florence Henderson at 1:38 PM on June 1, 2012 [1 favorite]


THE SYSTEM WORKS PEOPLE.

What else does it work?
posted by asterix at 1:44 PM on June 1, 2012 [6 favorites]


I rather like the American Apparel ads, and I also like their clothing.
posted by Afroblanco at 1:44 PM on June 1, 2012


Tell me more?
posted by carsonb at 1:45 PM on June 1, 2012 [1 favorite]


Like does he have a car?
posted by It's Raining Florence Henderson at 1:47 PM on June 1, 2012 [10 favorites]


IS THAT TUBE SOCK AD FOR REAL????

This is what I'm talking about when I say "Gah, the ads!"

Seriously, AA, I would buy TONS of your clothes if you would drop this shit.

"Hey guys let's may a sexy tube sock ad..."

"Sexy pose?"

"No, actual sex-having."

"GREAT IDEA JEFF"
posted by odinsdream at 1:48 PM on June 1, 2012 [1 favorite]


Ovaltine dosen't count, Flo. Not even when you freebase it.
posted by jonmc at 2:11 PM on June 1, 2012


People who like the ads can browse the American Apparel online catalog for all their artistic boner needs.
posted by stoneandstar at 2:58 PM on June 1, 2012 [1 favorite]


Metafilter: THE SYSTEM WORKS PEOPLE.
posted by michaelh at 3:21 PM on June 1, 2012


The only part of those ads that I think is offensive is the quality the photography. I understand that its "a look" but it is still awful.
posted by blaneyphoto at 3:36 PM on June 1, 2012


Add me as another person who despises everything about American Apparel.
posted by MexicanYenta at 3:46 PM on June 1, 2012


"American"? How dare they! Fucking Usians.
posted by found missing at 3:47 PM on June 1, 2012


But there is a genre of AA ad that really pushes certain fear buttons in my brain

The reason I love thehmsbeagle other than the splendid name is that ability to distill things down to the problem. AA ads make me afraid for the young women in them. They're not sexy- they hit the same buttons as seeing a young woman drunk out of her mind with no group of friends with her at a club. It's like watching one of those godawful nature shows about gazelles before the hyenas appear.
posted by winna at 3:57 PM on June 1, 2012 [16 favorites]


Thanks, matt.
posted by nangar at 4:01 PM on June 1, 2012


Ok but the tubesock one was pretty funny.

I'd avoid AA out of principle but fortunately nothing they make fits me anyway.

And I'm more of a thrift store woman anyway, mostly out of principle, but being cheap helps too.
posted by small_ruminant at 4:24 PM on June 1, 2012 [1 favorite]


Now what?
posted by cjorgensen at 4:40 PM on June 1, 2012 [1 favorite]


Now? WE DANCE!!!
posted by It's Raining Florence Henderson at 4:42 PM on June 1, 2012


WHEW! *cough cough cough* Fuck this. I'm going home.
posted by It's Raining Florence Henderson at 4:43 PM on June 1, 2012


what smells like malted milk?
posted by jonmc at 4:48 PM on June 1, 2012


I talked to the deck folks at length today and the AA ads should no longer show up.

THE SYSTEM WORKS PEOPLE.


I have mixed feelings. On the one hand, yay that the people with concerns were listened to and a super fast and easy solution was found.

At the same time, I'm reminded of the local anti-pornography campaigns when I was a kid, when some people were trying to get stores to stop selling porn magazines. (I assume this was a national thing, not just local, but I was young and only knew about it locally.) It's really easy to make the "I don't like this" voices sound larger than they are, and very, very hard to find good articulations (other than that the convenience stores were making a lot of money selling porn mags) of reasons to not pull things off of shelves because a vocal minority found them yucky.

I'm not being all "CENSORSHIP!!!!" here, just noting that anti voices can be louder than pro without necessarily reflecting a broad concensus.
posted by Forktine at 4:51 PM on June 1, 2012 [2 favorites]


They say that if you inject Ovaltine into a human adrenal gland, cook it, and smoke it, that all of your senses are suffused with CHOCOLATY goodness. They say.
posted by It's Raining Florence Henderson at 4:54 PM on June 1, 2012 [1 favorite]


anti voices can be louder than pro without necessarily reflecting a broad concensus.

This is true. At the same time, though, if even a few people speak up to say, "This doohickey on the site is bugging me," and it doesn't detract from the user experience to remove that doohickey, the humane choice would seem to be to remove the doohickey.
posted by quivering_fantods at 5:15 PM on June 1, 2012 [6 favorites]


This is true. At the same time, though, if even a few people speak up to say, "This doohickey on the site is bugging me," and it doesn't detract from the user experience to remove that doohickey, the humane choice would seem to be to remove the doohickey.

Yep, pretty much. It'd be a very different sort of discussion if we were talking about not posting about sexy or sexual or naughty content on the front page rather than some incidental ad content that isn't part of what Metafilter is about.
posted by cortex (staff) at 5:20 PM on June 1, 2012 [4 favorites]


I love American Apparel ads. Peace out to Brooklyn.
posted by chunking express at 9:10 AM on June 1 [+] [!]


Eastside LA, surely...


AA also has a nice wholesome range of baby and kid clothes, if some of you want your minds boggled even more...
posted by Bwithh at 5:23 PM on June 1, 2012


Do people who buy AA clothing wear it specifically to be sexy? I don't get that impression from the people I know who wear AA.

my guess is that AA's appeal is based on "hip" ironic dissonance between its devil-may-care provocative porny-ads and its progressive labour and make-it-in-America policies (progressive at least for its relatively well-paid and treated garment/textile workers, less so for its less well-treated middle class design staff etc perhaps). Hipster ironic dissonance is unfathomable by nature but its operating its weirdness here somehow.
posted by Bwithh at 5:31 PM on June 1, 2012 [1 favorite]


"Down with this sort of thing"
posted by the_artificer at 5:38 PM on June 1, 2012 [1 favorite]


Wait wait! Can't we just switch them to Amercian Apparel ads?
posted by two lights above the sea at 6:38 PM on June 1, 2012 [1 favorite]


cortex: "...rather than some incidental ad content that isn't part of what Metafilter is about."

I really like that part.
posted by Blasdelb at 6:47 PM on June 1, 2012


For the record, I would have been fine with all porn ads in that block. It was the "one of these things is not like the others" that irritated me.

I used to work at a Waldens bookstore. We had this guy who would come in, gather up dozens of books, then just as you were done ringing them up would say, "Oh, I see you sell pornography. I can't support a place that sell pornography." (We sold Playboy and Playgirl and maybe Penthouse Letters.)

He did this all the time. Enough were you would say, "Would you like a Playboy with this?" just so he could give you the speech about porn before you wasted your time.

He did this for weeks and weeks. Then one day someone found out he had a restaurant in town. So every bookseller went there, ordered a shitload of vegetarian food, then when it was being delivered the bookstore manager said, "We see you sell meat products..."

We got up and left.

We never saw that guy again.
posted by cjorgensen at 7:24 PM on June 1, 2012 [31 favorites]


I think people can dislike the ads and not want to see them and hate the company and all and I have no problem with that. I personally don't have much issue with most of their ads and I'm generally pretty sympathetic to objectifying/sexism claims.

However, I think if you're looking at the ads and wondering if people only buy from there because they want sexy sex clothes, you've probably never been near an American Apparel store or anything -- they have tons of just regular cotton tshirts, leggings, hoodies, and whatnot that, you know, if you wear without your bum hanging out or no top on you can look fine.

I also have a ton of their underwear -- they have a style which is really full coverage in comparison to a lot of places and it doesn't ride up/move much, plus has covered elastic. And I like that too.

Carry on...
posted by sweetkid at 9:43 PM on June 1, 2012


At the same time, I'm reminded of the local anti-pornography campaigns when I was a kid, when some people were trying to get stores to stop selling porn magazines. (I assume this was a national thing, not just local, but I was young and only knew about it locally.) It's really easy to make the "I don't like this" voices sound larger than they are, and very, very hard to find good articulations (other than that the convenience stores were making a lot of money selling porn mags) of reasons to not pull things off of shelves because a vocal minority found them yucky.

People are afraid to speak up for it because it exposes them to undesirable labeling, such as pervert, or whatever, so the nays have it. Unfortunately, this issue has so much bad faith surrounding it. On one hand, it deeply offends the majority by default, which are those who are sexually repressed and/or who are religiously conservative. That's a majority anywhere. I would go out on a limb to suggest that in weight-watcher America, nudity is generally an unwelcome slight if you aren't attracted to the model. Intellectual and popular criticism about nudes tends to obscure a firm moral assumption about sex roles. European sensibilities to nudity in advertising are not yet common in the world, especially in the US, and if people don't know why, they might want to study how some religious norms are different.
posted by Brian B. at 10:10 PM on June 1, 2012 [1 favorite]


I do think there's a difference between, say, banning porn from book stores (whose purpose is to sell media, even if one doesn't agree with it), and objecting to specific ads on a website like Metafilter, whose purpose is not (presumably) to serve ads to users. If Mefites were arguing that we can't make posts about porn, that's a different thing. Unless we want to start accepting that we Mefites are just here to consume ads?
posted by muddgirl at 10:21 PM on June 1, 2012 [4 favorites]


The other thing is that (20 years ago at least) if your local stores wouldn't sell porn, you couldn't get it without a significant amount of effort, gas, time, etc. If metafilter won't host american apparel ads, you just go to google and type "american apparel ads". No one is being deprived or kept from it in any kind of censorship-type way.
posted by the young rope-rider at 10:29 PM on June 1, 2012 [4 favorites]


At the same time, though, if even a few people speak up to say, "This doohickey on the site is bugging me," and it doesn't detract from the user experience to remove that doohickey, the humane choice would seem to be to remove the doohickey.

Bah, no. If I found a few people to complain about some non AA ads for reasons that a bunch of people wouldn't get behind (like the ads were boring), no one would be "Oh, you are bugged by boring ads, we should totally remove those". Just because someone is bothered by something doesn't mean that everyone else shouldn't decidewhether their reasons for being bothered are valid or not.
posted by 23skidoo at 5:54 AM on June 2, 2012


my guess is that AA's appeal is based on "hip" ironic dissonance between its devil-may-care provocative porny-ads and its progressive labour and make-it-in-America policies

This might have some appeal for those who know or care about such issues, but when I pass the AA every week and watch people going in and out, I am fairly sure that they really aren't paying that much attention and have just picked up the the brand is, or wants to be 'cool.' It has peer approval and sex appeal, and that's enough.

it deeply offends the majority by default, which are those who are sexually repressed and/or who are religiously conservative

Whoa, I almost got knocked over from the force of the breeze generated by your sweeping generalization.
posted by Miko at 6:36 AM on June 2, 2012 [3 favorites]


I almost got knocked over from the force of the breeze generated by your sweeping generalization.

*Captures lovely metaphor for future use, devastatingly*
posted by infini at 7:27 AM on June 2, 2012 [5 favorites]


The other thing is that (20 years ago at least) if your local stores wouldn't sell porn, you couldn't get it without a significant amount of effort, gas, time, etc. If metafilter won't host american apparel ads, you just go to google and type "american apparel ads". No one is being deprived or kept from it in any kind of censorship-type way.

That would be also true if you banned a poster, a word, a concept, a website, or anything under the sun. Such practical logic is often used when equal rights are discussed negatively, such as riding in the back of the bus. It's a private board regardless, so censorship doesn't exist. But it's a decision for the future based on the now established principle of a prude-safe forum. Down the road others will use this precedent to wedge their further issues with.
posted by Brian B. at 8:10 AM on June 2, 2012


Prude-safe forum? What?
posted by rtha at 8:25 AM on June 2, 2012 [1 favorite]


Also, mefi already doesn't allow links to hate sites. I suppose that's a slippery slope to doom as well.
posted by rtha at 8:26 AM on June 2, 2012


Also, mefi already doesn't allow links to hate sites. I suppose that's a slippery slope to doom as well.

I wouldn't think they allow links to porn sites either. It's a nuanced position, as usual.
posted by Brian B. at 8:31 AM on June 2, 2012


But it's a decision for the future based on the now established principle of a prude-safe forum. Down the road others will use this precedent to wedge their further issues with.

Nonsense. Metafilter delights in, and vigorously defends NSFW content. This is about skeevy images showing up on the front page of what is essentially a text-only website. Make a post on titillating imagery in advertisements, and link to every one of those AA ads, and see how your "prude-safe forum" generalization holds up.
posted by Balonious Assault at 8:32 AM on June 2, 2012 [2 favorites]


I wouldn't think they allow links to porn sites either. It's a nuanced position, as usual.

You think wrong. We have a total divide between our advertiser content and our user-generated content, for what it's worth. We have, over the past decade+ made some decisions, based almost entirely on community input, about what isn't okay here. Prudes are, generally speaking, unhappy here. While people have a tendency to not make "here is a porn site!" posts, there's no proscription against them, it's just important to make a good post, no matter what the topic is. There are NSFW links on the front page of MeFi daily and people talk about sex and drug topics in AskMe regularly.

Unless you can actually back up your "prude-safe forum" allegations with any actual data besides "We listened to community input and decided to not show American Apparel ads" I think you're just basically trolling here.
posted by jessamyn (staff) at 8:36 AM on June 2, 2012 [5 favorites]


I wouldn't think they allow links to porn sites either.

It's a funny thing, because posts about porn aren't actually problematic at all in principle, though "check out this hot three-way action" would be a seriously terrible post. And there's plenty of discussion of porn, porn sources, porn variants, etc. to be found on askme.

Our take is mostly that we think topics are pretty much a free-for-all but presentation matters. There's lots of ways to do a topic well, and lots of ways to do it really badly. A post that was just straight up "here's some jackoff material, get whackin'" would be a terrible post, but not because porn is against the Metafilter ethos so much as because as a post it would be totally at odds with what people expect from this place in terms of tone and presentation and sensibility. People can, and have, successfully made pretty porn-centric posts in the past, and nothing has changed on that front.
posted by cortex (staff) at 8:42 AM on June 2, 2012


While people have a tendency to not make "here is a porn site!" posts, there's no proscription against them, it's just important to make a good post, no matter what the topic is.

I wasn't suggesting we want porn site linking, as per my nuance claim, which I thought was clear. Community standards or board focus is most welcome, but American Apparel is just an ad that is common in young adult magazines.
posted by Brian B. at 8:44 AM on June 2, 2012


I wouldn't think they allow links to porn sites either. It's a nuanced position, as usual.

Well that's just plain not true (all links to FPPs with NSFW topics).

That's without getting into askme, where I know I've seen questions asking (and answered) for porn recommendations, etc.

I think if you'll read over this MeTa, you'll find most people tried to make it clear they think that there's a world of difference between erotica\porn as entertainment and erotica\porn as advertising.
posted by Gygesringtone at 8:46 AM on June 2, 2012


So what? Metafilter is not a young adult magazine. I doubt many of its users want it to be. I don't.
posted by snuffleupagus at 8:47 AM on June 2, 2012 [1 favorite]


but American Apparel is just an ad that is common in young adult magazines.

It's also, again, an ad, not Metafilter content. Not just in the sense that the topic is advertising, but in that the content in question is literally a third-party advertisement running in a little window on the site.

It's not a post someone put together about AA, it's not a thread discussing the aesthetics of contemporary youth-oriented fashion advertising or an examination of trends in modeling or professional photography or whatever.

Worry about the prudish wedge driving site content in a problematic direction when that actually happens. There was no point where Matt said, "you know, I think it'd be consistent with my vision of this community to run some American Apparel ads"; pinning some future shift in the site's tone or content or policy approach to stuff on people beefing about an ad that no on actually asked for in the first place makes very little sense.
posted by cortex (staff) at 8:51 AM on June 2, 2012 [1 favorite]


American Apparel is just an ad that is common in young adult magazines.

And MetaFilter is a text-based website on the internet where people have a reasonable expectation to not see photos of women in their underwear in suggestive poses.

The same may or may not true for young adult magazines. This is not "Oh I think those photos aren't okay for people to look at" but "When I am browsing MeFi I have a reasonable expectation that I won't see many ads; the ads I do see will be generally SFW" People's arguments for/against American Apparel only form the general outline of people's issues. If people were only saying "I dislike American Apparel's business practices, please do not show their ads" we'd be having a very different conversation and it would likely go in a different direction.

Whether or not it's normative to see people in their underwear in the US or Europe generally has very little do to with whether or not it's normative to see women in their underwear on MeFi [it's not] which is more where we're coming from. I don't disagree with you that the US/Europe divide as far as what levels of nudity are/are not okay. And I do think that there are definitely a good chunk of Americans who sort of flip out about nudity-related stuff in a way that seems, to me, pretty weird. That said, I don't see that happening here. Maybe other people read this discussion in a different way.
posted by jessamyn (staff) at 8:53 AM on June 2, 2012 [5 favorites]


I don't care what ads appear in magazines when it comes to talking about third-party ads that appear here. What is the point of observing that AA ads appear elsewhere? What is the point of insisting that anti-AA-ads-on-mefi sentiments are because of prudery when reading the comments in this thread show no such sentiment? I mean, you've got people in here going "I like porn! Porn is great! I hate AA ads!"
posted by rtha at 8:58 AM on June 2, 2012


"This doohickey on the site is bugging me," and it doesn't detract from the user experience to remove that doohickey, the humane choice would seem to be to remove the doohickey. -- Well, if that's the case, let me be the first to say that the Deck ads, and the google ads bug me. Please remove them entirely because that's the humane thing to do.
posted by crunchland at 9:03 AM on June 2, 2012


You want to cover our total ad revenue going forward? I think we've got a deal, then.

Short of that, use the hide widget we provide on the Deck ads and Adblock for whatever google ads you're encountering if your complaint is about ads in general rather than about a specific exceptional ad in rotation on a widget you're otherwise okay with seeing.
posted by cortex (staff) at 9:14 AM on June 2, 2012


Oh, I didn't realize there were any qualifications... I mean, it's just some incidental ad content, and not part of what Metafilter is about. Oh, the humanity.
posted by crunchland at 9:16 AM on June 2, 2012


Please remove them entirely because that's the humane thing to do.

You're missing the part where there were a bunch of people all saying the same thing which is what prompted us to take action. Removal of all the ads is a non-option. You know this. You can now do what you want with that information. I suggest Ad Block. You're being sort of a weird ankle-biter here. If you've got some larger issue I'd appreciate if you spelled it out so we could actually address it.
posted by jessamyn (staff) at 9:17 AM on June 2, 2012 [1 favorite]


This doohickey on the site is bugging me. I want a pony to expunge users by their numbers.


No? I misunderstood you say? This Anglais, she no misunderstand me
posted by infini at 9:18 AM on June 2, 2012


Oh, I didn't realize there were any qualifications... I mean, it's just some incidental ad content, and not part of what Metafilter is about. Oh, the humanity.

Why you gotta be a jerk like this so much?
posted by rtha at 9:32 AM on June 2, 2012 [1 favorite]


Because I can't indulge in name calling.
posted by crunchland at 9:38 AM on June 2, 2012 [2 favorites]


What is the point of insisting that anti-AA-ads-on-mefi sentiments are because of prudery when reading the comments in this thread show no such sentiment?

Some of the comments (though not all or maybe even most) certainly read that way. I'm not saying that as a criticism, just as an observation.

This is a community that skews interestingly conservative on specific issues; for me, trying to remember to enjoy those quirks is a lot more relaxing than getting frustrated that PEOPLE ARE DOING IT WRONG AGAIN GRAR.
posted by Forktine at 9:48 AM on June 2, 2012




I guess maybe we're working from different definitions of prudery.
posted by rtha at 10:04 AM on June 2, 2012


99% of the negative reactions responded to the way that AA specifically uses women's bodies and sexuality to sell their brand in some markets, NOT to the poses themselves. If that's prudery, then fine, I'm a prude.

(How many of the AA ads showed men's clothing? What percentage of people who look at websites which use DECK ads are men? If AA ads are simply meant to sell clothing, how does this marketing strategy make sense?)
posted by muddgirl at 10:10 AM on June 2, 2012


I do dearly love the prudery accusation. It seems so strange to me, because sex doesn't shock me - it is boring. If everyone on earth had consensual sex and there was no coercion involved I would bless the hearts of the people who think that sex is desperately interesting at all times with a right good will. Howsoever, we don't live in that happy world where young women displayed as broken toys in seedy surroundings is simply an interesting design concept - I'd argue it wouldn't be an interesting design concept at all in such a world, because the implicit aura of exploitation wouldn't make the picture be as strongly charged.

But if it makes people happy to imagine the people who find AA's ad aesthetic to be deeply disturbing (on the ground that the young women in the ads look like they're a breath from passing out in what reads as an unsafe location) to be instead objecting to selling what are (in truth) perfectly ordinary clothes due an ineradicable objection to any hint of sexual jollity, well then please feel at your leisure to picture me reclining weakly on my fainting couch, clutching a hankie dipped in sal volatile and calling in a thready voice for hartshorn and water.
posted by winna at 10:11 AM on June 2, 2012 [13 favorites]


(A prude who loooves nudity. How ironic.)
posted by muddgirl at 10:11 AM on June 2, 2012


If a whole bunch of people don't want to have AA ads randomly show up on their otherwise text, SFW, non-skeevy hangout site, what's the problem in removing them?

There's a bunch of vague stuff about prudery, European attitudes, calls to ban porn mags in specific community bookstores in the 80s, etc, but who cares? It doesn't seem like that stuff a reason to make a bunch of users annoyed and skeeved, when it's just as easy to remove that source of skeeve and annoyance.
posted by LobsterMitten at 10:14 AM on June 2, 2012 [1 favorite]


the funniest thing to me about the prude accusation is that if you flipped through the histories of many of us that are being accused of being prudes for not like these specific ads on this specific site, you'd find really in depth how-tos on blowjobs, sexually charged flirting, polyamory, manual stimulation, ejaculation help, lube recommendations, porn suggestions, etc.
posted by nadawi at 10:48 AM on June 2, 2012 [10 favorites]


Do people who buy AA clothing wear it specifically to be sexy?

The only things I have heard discussed as being bought specifically from AA (as in, I have to buy X, I will visit store Y) are the various metallic lame leggings and underwear and they were bought by amateur professional wrestlers.

So, not sexy per say, but certainly showy.
posted by maryr at 11:32 AM on June 2, 2012


the funniest thing to me about the prude accusation is that if you flipped through the histories of many of us that are being accused of being prudes for not like these specific ads on this specific site, you'd find really in depth how-tos on blowjobs, sexually charged flirting, polyamory, manual stimulation, ejaculation help, lube recommendations, porn suggestions, etc.

I know, right? I always kinda love it when people call me a prude, though. I still giggle about the time I got called "sex negative". It's like Halloween in June!
posted by the young rope-rider at 12:41 PM on June 2, 2012 [7 favorites]


"check out this hot three-way action" would be a seriously terrible post

If I wasn't so lazy, I'd take that as a challenge.
posted by It's Raining Florence Henderson at 1:26 PM on June 2, 2012


Yeah, the prudery accusation is so bogus. I still can't believe people are defending an advertisement. I mean, I know to them it's a bigger issue stemming from some kind of fear of emasculation (??), but it's an advertisement, meant to get under your skin and sell you something. Let's all think for a moment about the difference between eroticism and exploitation, so lovingly blurred in the creepy AA ads.
posted by stoneandstar at 1:30 PM on June 2, 2012


I used to know a guy who had a prudery fetish. He could only get excited when he wasn't in the mood. Of course as soon as he got excited, that was an immediate turn off for him, and he immediately shut right back down again. We eventually hooked him up to a battery charger and used his arousal cycle as a free energy power source. So far as I know, he's still selling off his excess kW hours to the grid.
posted by It's Raining Florence Henderson at 2:09 PM on June 2, 2012 [2 favorites]


Yeah, the prudery accusation is so bogus.

The definition of prude is "a person who is excessively proper or modest in speech, conduct, dress, etc." The relevant word here is "proper." Notions of what is proper have changed over time, so that now it is not considered improper for adults to be interested in sex per se. But you're objecting to something you find improper, so I think the word fits.

Those of you making fun of having been accused of prudery remind me of early twentieth-century women congratulating themselves on how modern they were because they no longer insisted that table legs be covered.
posted by Jestocost at 5:04 PM on June 2, 2012


another fine thing that this thread has accomplished is to remind me that I have a whole bunch of awesome sock dreams socks, and I don't need to be sitting here with cold feet. My feet are now happily cozy in these.
posted by 5_13_23_42_69_666 at 5:07 PM on June 2, 2012 [1 favorite]


The definition of prude is "a person who is excessively proper or modest in speech, conduct, dress, etc."

Hm, I don't see anything in there about "a person who doesn't want to see objectifying advertisements on Metafilter," so I wonder who is missing the point?
posted by muddgirl at 5:13 PM on June 2, 2012 [4 favorites]


So you're saying that objectifying advertisements are proper?
posted by Jestocost at 5:23 PM on June 2, 2012


i think she's saying this is a weird derail that ultimately has nothing to do with this thread irrespective of cherry picked definitions of words.
posted by nadawi at 5:29 PM on June 2, 2012 [4 favorites]


You seem to have an odd definition of "cherry-picked."
posted by Jestocost at 5:46 PM on June 2, 2012


well, you seem to be wanting to take the sex part out of prude which basically removes it from all of its history and make it directly analogous to proper...which i still don't think has really anything to do with objecting to specific ads in a specific context.

also, a group of people who are pretty deeply interested in sex (and porn, and alternative sexualities, and exploitation, and dildos and blowjobs and the best way to get people off without removing their clothes, and rights for sex workers) are not really at all like early twentieth-century women congratulating themselves on how modern they were because they no longer insisted that table legs be covered.
posted by nadawi at 6:05 PM on June 2, 2012


The relevant word here is "proper." Notions of what is proper have changed over time, so that now it is not considered improper for adults to be interested in sex per se. But you're objecting to something you find improper, so I think the word fits.

I think slavery is improper; does that make me a prude? I also think that tailgating is improper; prude? How about murder? Totally improper - guess I'm a prude.

Absurd examples, of course. But you can't just decide that a word means something other than what it means and announce the new meaning and expect everyone to be all Oh okay!

But I guess if people are going to keep insisting that folks like nadawi and the young rope-rider are prudes because they don't like the AA DECK ads, then gingerbeer and I will continue to sit here and giggle about that.
posted by rtha at 6:29 PM on June 2, 2012 [11 favorites]


Never mind that the whole 'covered table leg' thing was a myth! Ah, the benefits of actually reading the history of the early twentieth century!
posted by winna at 6:38 PM on June 2, 2012 [6 favorites]


Yay! I like Deck ads, actually, so consider them back on my FP experience. If AA can show off their wares in a non-exploitative way, not only would I be happy to look at their ad, I'd reccommend them to the missus.
posted by Slap*Happy at 7:39 PM on June 2, 2012


But you can't just decide that a word means something other than what it means and announce the new meaning and expect everyone to be all Oh okay!

Hm, I see. Ladies, the force of your logic overwhelms my feeble arguments. Enjoy your MetaFilter-confirmed non-prude status!
posted by Jestocost at 7:44 PM on June 2, 2012


I am sad that you are leaving without telling me (and others!) more about how I am like Victorians who blush at ankles.
posted by the young rope-rider at 8:01 PM on June 2, 2012 [3 favorites]


I hate American Apparel ads. Besides being somehow creepier and dirtier than the average objectification (I can't articulate completely why - but); it may have something to do with the fact that the guy who owns AA is a total perve, from all I've ever heard from anyone connected to the brand. Maybe I'm hearing the wrong things, but employees encouraged into those ads, objectification, the kind of rawness to the ads...something doesn't feel nice about it at all. Again, maybe I'm off but I hate those ads with a firey passion.
posted by agregoli at 8:05 PM on June 2, 2012 [1 favorite]


"Hm, I see. Ladies, the force of your logic overwhelms my feeble arguments. Enjoy your MetaFilter-confirmed non-prude status!"

Wow. That's very uncool. And stupid.

I'm pretty sure there are numerous mefites, male and female alike, who are feminists yet also sex-positive and certainly not categorically opposed to porn who agree that ads like these are objectionable.

You seem to think this is 1988 and all feminists are Andrea Dworkin. This is convenient for you, I suppose. You're likely no more interested in the truth of this than you are about the truth regarding the covering of table legs.
posted by Ivan Fyodorovich at 8:25 PM on June 2, 2012 [5 favorites]


Declining sponsorship from a specific company is not censorship.
posted by gingerest at 8:41 PM on June 2, 2012 [2 favorites]


Glad to see this, I had also thought about grumbling about the AA ads, mostly in a "gah picture on mefi" way, a little bit in a "gah company I dislike" way, and really not at all in a "ack porny picture" way. (They're just too tiny to hit that button for me).

I do have to say though, I actually am *happy* to know some of their ads contain porn stars-- the ones that really bug me are the ones that might very likely be some random girl working there who doesn't want to be in that position but doesn't feel like she has a choice. Because yes, they have a terrible woman-about-to-be-exploited-against-her-will look to them. And for all we know, the actual model *is* about to be actually exploited and we're seeing the still photos from before whoever was around took advantage and oh ick ick ick. But the pros? eh, that's their choice.

Of course even they were all porn stars I'd still be unhappy, because I'd like to buy shirts from a walk-in store with responsible business practices. But AA isn't that company, I can't support known sexual harassment. (Also dude they make their shirts for people with very short torsos. I've got a decent belly button but you dont' all need to see it all the time.)
posted by nat at 9:22 PM on June 2, 2012


Hm, I see. Ladies, the force of your logic overwhelms my feeble arguments. Enjoy your MetaFilter-confirmed non-prude status!

I'm arguably one of the filthiest, most fetishistic fucking perverts on this goddamn genteel site - and I hate American Apparel and their ads.

What you're failing to understand is that Dov Charney is an exploitative piece of shit who has a known history of "promoting" young, naive and attractive women from within the company to become "models" in his headquarters, and that those photos used in the kind of advertisements that we're discussing are very likely from real-world exploitation of said employees from a position of power imbalance and probable substance abuse.

There's a reason why the ads often look like the aftermath of coked up sex parties. It's because there's a really good chance that they're actually reality, not staged, stylized fictions.

There's nothing at all prudish about saying "fuck you" to that kind of thing.
posted by loquacious at 10:30 PM on June 2, 2012 [9 favorites]


I want to go back and answer a question, at least for myself:

Why are you seeing ads if you're a member?

Because I whitelist MeFi on AdBlock, so that the miniscule amount of money - yes, probably less than pennies, I know that - which gets earned when that ad pops goes to Matt and the staff. There are sites I whitelist the ads on, specifically for that, and MetaFilter is one of them.

I'm not saying 'never use adblock on some sites, grar!', but I am saying that for me, the worth of MeFi is enough that yeah, even if an American Apparel ad appears, I'm still not blocking the ads.
posted by mephron at 11:48 PM on June 2, 2012


How does one re-enable the Deck ads if they theoretically clicked HIDE a while back?
posted by Justinian at 11:47 AM on June 3, 2012


It's cookie-based; if you nuke the "HIDE_DECK" and "NO_DECK" cookies associated with metafilter domains, the ad box will start appearing again in the upper right of the front pages.
posted by cortex (staff) at 12:03 PM on June 3, 2012


Apparently there are more than "real people" models in AA, if it was ever true. The gist of the link is that AA cultivated this lie to appeal to real people. It so, it probably worked, because I get the feeling a significant number of posters here imagine those paid models to have a gun to their heads because they were assumed to be an exploited factory worker, obviously with no knowledge how the fashion industry should function, therefore double exploited. I won't comment on what that could also mean, but it is culturally interesting.
posted by Brian B. at 12:19 PM on June 3, 2012


Could the hide/show ads be a checkbox in your profile? I MADE A PONY.
posted by Justinian at 1:09 PM on June 3, 2012


I get the feeling a significant number of posters here imagine those paid models to have a gun to their heads because they were assumed to be an exploited factory worker, obviously with no knowledge how the fashion industry should function, therefore double exploited.

If you are not trolling at this point I would like you to be a lot more clear that you are not trolling.
posted by jessamyn (staff) at 3:59 PM on June 3, 2012


If you are not trolling at this point I would like you to be a lot more clear that you are not trolling.

Gun to their heads is a figure of speech, as in coerced, drugged, forced to perform acts, etc. I assume this is what you had in mind because the rest was literal.
posted by Brian B. at 4:10 PM on June 3, 2012


only one person that i can find brought up "employees become models thing" - everyone else seems to be mentioning professional models (and porn stars). i think a lot of people here understand that modeling can be generally a pretty exploitative business and that AA (especially dov charney) seems the type to be some of the worse offenders in the industry, like terry richardson.
posted by nadawi at 4:35 PM on June 3, 2012


Well, you know, Terry Richardson shot a bunch of AA ads, and AA ad aesthetic is heavily influenced by Richardson and Richard Kern.
posted by klangklangston at 4:43 PM on June 3, 2012 [1 favorite]


Nadawi, I found three from today by scrolling back a few comments only.

Maybe I'm hearing the wrong things, but employees encouraged into those ads, objectification, the kind of rawness to the ads...something doesn't feel nice about it at all. Again, maybe I'm off but I hate those ads with a firey passion.
---
I do have to say though, I actually am *happy* to know some of their ads contain porn stars-- the ones that really bug me are the ones that might very likely be some random girl working there who doesn't want to be in that position but doesn't feel like she has a choice. Because yes, they have a terrible woman-about-to-be-exploited-against-her-will look to them. And for all we know, the actual model *is* about to be actually exploited and we're seeing the still photos from before whoever was around took advantage and oh ick ick ick.
---
What you're failing to understand is that Dov Charney is an exploitative piece of shit who has a known history of "promoting" young, naive and attractive women from within the company to become "models" in his headquarters, and that those photos used in the kind of advertisements that we're discussing are very likely from real-world exploitation of said employees from a position of power imbalance and probable substance abuse.

posted by Brian B. at 4:51 PM on June 3, 2012


that's still far from almost everyone. here's an exercise, ctrl+f model on this thread. far more people seem to understand that these are models, heck even one of the ones you quoted learned they were models and seems to understand that and still object to the ads. which is all really only part of the point, because the complaints about these ads is what advertising signals to their consumers and how sexualizing women/girls who look like they're in danger/unable to consent to sell underwear and leggings plays into all that.

and then, you know, the major point of this thread is "uh, why are there half naked girls being advertised on metafilter?" as has been brought up many times in this thread, the same sort of WTF came up with suicide girls who are all about empowerment and shit (although, like all brands, there seems to be some misleading storytelling there).
posted by nadawi at 5:13 PM on June 3, 2012 [1 favorite]


that's still far from almost everyone.

Yes it is, if I had said that. But it's a lot more than one, as you claimed.
posted by Brian B. at 5:15 PM on June 3, 2012


i sort of disagree with one you posted and three still doesn't rise to a significant number. but this argument is ridiculous and if you wanted to illuminate something maybe you can focus more on this part of your comment? obviously with no knowledge how the fashion industry should function, therefore double exploited. I won't comment on what that could also mean, but it is culturally interesting. or you, any part of the other comments in the thread that aren't total pedantry.

it does seem that you're just spoiling for silly fights, so i'll probably just leave you to it.
posted by nadawi at 5:21 PM on June 3, 2012


it does seem that you're just spoiling for silly fights

I was defending myself against your error.
posted by Brian B. at 5:26 PM on June 3, 2012


1 is still closer to 3 than 3 is to "a significant number."
posted by nadawi at 5:32 PM on June 3, 2012


what advertising signals to their consumers and how sexualizing women/girls who look like they're in danger/unable to consent to sell underwear and leggings plays into all that

This is at the heart of the objection. It's not the square footage of skin shown, the models' background, the porn connection, yadda yadda, that raises concern. Given a clearly consensual, legal adult frame, absolutely none of that would be the least problematic.

It's the knowing exploitation of the visual vocabulary of commodification of sexual imagery at the expense of the person depicted that is offensive. This imagery openly references an abudantly documented history of scenarios in which we would typically be assuming that "adult" and "consensual" and "fair" and "equal" have hardly entered the picture. Given this very overt referencing, it doesn't matter whether or not the person depicted really is at a disadvantage, or what the viewer's sex life is like. The professionals who created the ads made the choice to press those particular buttons, and viewed harmful and exploitive contexts as not something worthy of deploring and leaving behind forever, but something worth mining for their attention-getting power and potential profitability as "edgy."

The offense lies in this calculated plotting to flirt with these associations in the minds of the public, and to try to turn what should be flatly reprehensible into titillatingly ambiguous. For many of us, it's clear what they're trying, it's clear why it fails, and it's disgusting to endorse the effort.

If you can't track all that, you're probably not able to pick up on the messages AA sends arguing for the endorsement of the exploitation of images of potentially vulnerable and non-agent females for a profitmaking enterprise that benefits people not depicted in the ads. The fact that you can't pick up on the messages doesn't mean they're not there; and, in fact, it might mean you're their ideal audience.
posted by Miko at 8:40 PM on June 3, 2012 [10 favorites]


This is at the heart of the objection. It's not the square footage of skin shown, the models' background, the porn connection, yadda yadda, that raises concern. Given a clearly consensual, legal adult frame, absolutely none of that would be the least problematic.

That's more describing the more controversial ads by AA rather than the ones that appeared on MetaFilter though right? The ones linked to above do not have a lot of the aspects you are talking about as far as I can tell.
posted by burnmp3s at 9:15 AM on June 4, 2012


burnmp3s, as has been said, the images in that link are not the ones that set most of us off.

The one that really pressed my buttons was a B&W shot with a model kneeling in a "cat in heat" pose, side profile, looking at the camera -- I don't have to visually describe it any more, I hope. She was clothed but might as well have not been, the way it was lit. It was jarring and not at all like the usual Deck ads and seemed really out of place on MeFi.
posted by seanmpuckett at 9:29 AM on June 4, 2012


It was jarring and not at all like the usual Deck ads and seemed really out of place on MeFi

Right, that makes sense. As jessamyn mentioned above there's an expectation that ads on MetaFilter will be SFW, and most of the Deck ads are simple logos. And there are clearly AA ads that cross the line from being sexually suggestive to being downright creepy. I was not sure if Miko's comment was saying that the AA ads on MetaFilter were the ones where if "you can't pick up on the messages...it might mean you're their ideal audience" or if that was referring to other AA ads that have been linked in the thread.
posted by burnmp3s at 9:55 AM on June 4, 2012


Thanks for sorting this out, Matt. I do like the Deck ads generally - I've whitelisted them and choose not to hide them because they're often for products which are relevant to my interests. It's nice that they could accomodate us on this issue.
posted by harriet vane at 8:53 PM on June 4, 2012


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