If you haven’t heard, some people are suggesting that in response to the CEO of Abercrombie and Fitch explaining that he won’t make clothes for uncool people (aka fat women) we should start giving A&F clothes to the homeless. No really. People are really suggesting that.
“Hey, A&F look at who is wearing your clothes now! Homeless people! Aka the worst of the worst! Aka the non-coolest people ever! Got you now!”
1. Homeless people ARE PEOPLE and should be treated LIKE PEOPLE not props. 2. YOU ARE STILL GIVING MONEY TO THE COMPANY. Yeah, like maybe indirectly indirectly if you are buying your clothes from Goodwill or donating things you already have. But how about we just stop supporting this fucked up company all together. 3. Just read this tweet, people. Just read it.
Okay, I can forgive one white dude for thinking this is a good idea (I GUESS) but SO MANY social justice advocates keep reposting the idea like it’s some genius form of social protest. IT’S NOT. It’s exploiting and dehumanizing and HOW EVEN ONE PERSON READ THIS AND THINK “yeah, that’s a swell idea” IS BEYOND ME.
I was going to write up a post, but then I saw this :) since I actually already wrote up my points, I’ll add them here to go along with what she pointed out.
Homeless people are not your tool to use, they are not your gimmick. They’re not your billboard. Issues I see with implementation:
it relies on everyone understanding that homeless people are “less than”. Whether or not we believe it ourselves, we feed into this mentality by agreeing that a big F U to a company is to have homeless people wear their brand. Woohoo, they’ll make the brand dirty by publicly wearing it, take that! yeah! It treats them as a joke punchline.
On the actual level of passing out these shirts, it’s manipulative. They are poor, they have less choice than you (probably) or I as to whether or not they accept a handout, because they often need them to survive. Whether or not they agree with the message of your campaign, they have to agree with it in order to receive charity. Or did this guy go around with an extra bag of not-Abercrombie shirts in order to give people a real choice? If your charity is only given out to people who agree with your corporate tactics, how charitable are you? Why are we all encouraged to choose to boycott Abercrombie, but it’s assumed acceptable that all the homeless people should, instead, wear the clothing brand we detest? Is it because we already consider homeless people “branded”?
Again on actual level, one of the problems that started the outcry is that Abercrombie refuses to make clothes for larger people. How does that work out when you’re doling out the shirts? Skip over the larger homeless people saying, “Sorry, you’re too large for what we had in mind for this corporate takedown, no charity for you?” Or again, are you bringing extra shirts along? Is it okay to exclude fat women so long as they’re homeless this time??
A lot of people will inevitably argue that it’s wrong to deny homeless people a shirt no matter what the circumstances. But this is the exact attitude that often maligns homeless people unnecessary and allows others to use charity for their own promotion regardless of how tastelessly it is done. “They should take anything we give them, and be grateful” is the social adage. They’re not dogs, they’re people in unfortunate circumstances. People with thoughts, feelings, and a desire for choices.
Giving out ten or so poorly manufactured tshirts is nothing, honestly. Most homeless people do not need tshirts as much as they need shelter, food, and proper medical care. There is a reason homeless people do not often own many outfits… they have few places to store them. Without proper medical care, they might not be capable of cleaning them, since mentally and physically disabled people are disproportionately homeless… and these are the people you are taking advantage of and using for your minute of fame.
This is not something we should feel good about…
I’m really glad people are talking about why this isn’t a good thing because the entire campaign made me super uncomfortable but I couldn’t articulate why
Yesterday my mom posted a picture on Facebook of my 5 year old brother Sam wearing a pair of shoes he picked out for his first day of preschool.
She explained to him in the store that they were really made for girls. Sam then told her that he didn’t care and that “ninjas can wear pink shoes too.”
Sam went to preschool and got several compliments on his new shoes. Not one kid said anything negative toward him about it.
However, my mom received about 20 comments on the photo from various family members saying how “wrong” it is and how “things like this will affect him socially” and, put most eloquently by my great aunt, “that shit will turn him gay.”
My mom then deleted the photo and told Sam that he can wear whatever he wants to preschool, that it’s his decision. If he wants to wear pink shoes, he can wear pink shoes.
Sam then explained to her that he didn’t like them because they were pink, he liked them because they were “made out of zebras” and zebras are his favorite animal :)
What does it say about society when a group of adults could stand to take a lesson in humanity from a class of preschoolers?