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Stores Promoting Sexuality?

sexy.jpgIt is no secret that one method companies employ to promote their product is by using sexual themes. Beer commercials, perfume, cars, have all been known to peddle their products with this theme in the theme. You can install applications on the computer to block mature content for your kids, the same goes for your television, and movies are generally given ratings to let parents know if it’s appropriate for their children. But most parents don’t expect to have to shield their children from mature content when strolling in a shopping mall.

The store Abercrombie & Fitch (A&F) may be changing that. First some Hollister stores, which are owned by A&F, carry Maxim magazines in their stores front and center. Hollister targets those aged 14-18 years old but I know firsthand that this popular brand is very alluring to those aged even younger. And as one concerned mom points out, the stores don’t ask for ID from those trying to purchase this magazine. There is also the sometimes controversial display of posters in the more mature A&F stores. Prominent posters which often feature half-naked kids, sometimes in very suggestive poses.

In fairness A&F isn’t the only retail store in a mall that carry mature-themed magazines, or even have suggestive poses in their posters. I have to point them out though because they do have stores that target such young shoppers. And they have been so conspicuous of peddling sexuality before, in the form of their now-defunct quarterly magazines. One such quarterl, the 2003 edition, featured mostly pages of naked models and accompanying articles on orgies. The quarterlies ended after a boycott of the store following this edition.

And A&F’s new tactic seems to be half-naked employees. While walking recently in a local upscale mall, pushing my baby’s stroller, I noticed that the male greeter in a local mall’s A&F store sported a low-slung pair of jeans, flip flops and…bare chest? I honestly do not see the necessity of greeting people in a clothing store while half-naked.

Some would tell me to cool off and argue that the naked body does not always have to be about sexuality. Judging from the posters I see displayed on A&F’s walls featuring couples in bed, couples rolling in the grass, all in barely there clothing, I don’t think A&F can win that argument.

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