Cleanliness is next to sleaziness

As seen at Feministing and Pandagon, American Apparel, the hipster paradise of fluorescent green bikini underpants for men and polyester hooker skirts for women, is now carrying Dr. Bronner’s Magic Liquid Soap.  If you’re not familiar with good ol’ Doc Bronner, his organic products have been a longtime favorite of crunchy hippie types, if for no other reason than the completely batshit text on the product labels that read like a combination of religious rantings and Engrish.

Don’t Drink Soap! Dilute! Dilute! or Wet Skin Well! OK!


Within 9 minutes you feel fresh, mint-clean, saving 90% of your hot water and soap, ready to help teach the whole human race the Moral ABC of All-One-God-Faith! For we’re All-One or none! ALL-ONE! ALL-ONE!

That’s but a small sample of a typical bottle of Dr. Bronner, because the entire label is covered with that, in very small, very crowded print.  It makes for better bathroom reading than TV Guide.  Nevertheless, there is little evidence that the real Dr. Bronner, who passed away in 1997, was anything more than a harmless crackpot who wanted to spread the word of God to people (albeit people who happened to be naked while using his products), and if nothing else he can certainly be credited as one of the forerunners in the creation of all-natural bath and body care products.  So it’s with a heavy heart that I see his products now available for sale at American Apparel.

American Apparel, of course, is run by Dov Charney, best known for unapologetically harassing and/or carrying on affairs with his female employees.  During an infamous interview with the now-defunct fashion mag Jane, he abruptly exposed himself in front of the reporter and began masturbating.  He looks like somebody you’d see holding a video camera in somebody’s paneled basement and saying “Come on, baby, just stick it in a little further, it’ll look really sexy.”  You’d think he’d be spending the majority of his time washing pepper spray out of his eyes, and yet Charney has a large, vocal group of supporters, a disturbing amount of them women, who claim that his behavior towards his female staff is no different than that of other men in power, he just has the temerity to be open about it.

I don’t even know where to begin with that argument, so let’s just move on to their internet ad campaign, which looks to be taking the same classy route as their print ads.  The page for the soap at American Apparel’s website includes a video of a young lady who demonstrates proper soaping techniques in the shower, while cooing at the camera in a lisping baby voice.  It’s so ickily reminiscent of amateur porn that you keep expecting an abrupt cut to the same girl performing oral sex on whoever’s holding the camera (presumably Dov Charney).  It’s typical of American Apparel’s deliberately cheap-looking, off-putting advertising, which makes me want to slap the hands of anyone who buys their merchandise and say shame on them.

Then again, soap might not be a bad item for American Apparel to carry after all, considering how many of their models look in desperate need of a bath.


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