I have written a post about American Apparel before and how ridiculously misogynistic and sexist the company is but tonight they have reached new levels in my eyes. I was reading milkteef’s blog and she had linked to nymag.com who have recently revealed AA’s ‘beauty guidelines’ for their staff. I expected them to be absurd and cross a line but it is even more fucked up than I expected

a) Makeup is to be kept to a minimal- please take this very seriously. Liquid eyeliner, pencil eyeliner and eyeshadow are advised against; mascara must look very natural (ie. should not be clumpy or a color that does not compliment your skin and haircolor). Blush must not be overdone- should not have glitter or sparkles. Liquid foundation is prohibited (undereye concealer is understandable if it looks natural- ie. not clumpy or caked on, must match your skin tone). Please do not use a shiny gloss on your lips; any lipcolor must be subtle.
b) Eyebrows must not be overplucked. Full eyebrows are very much encouraged. Please do not dye your eyebrows a different color.
c) We encourage long, healthy, natural hair, so please be advised of the following:
-Hair must be kept your natural color.
-Blow-drying hair excessively could cause heat damage, so this is advised against.
-“Bangs” or “fringe” are advised against. It is not part of the direction we’re moving in.

What!? WHAT!? It isn’t just for girls though, oh no. Men get a look in. For them the rules are:

a) Hair should look natural. Excessive product to the extent of creating stiffness and an unnatural or greasy appearance to your hair is advised against.
b) Eyebrows should be natural. Please do not dye your eyebrows a different color or overpluck them.
c) Males should not wear makeup.
d) Facial hair needs to be kept clean and well groomed. Any mustache or goatee of a contemporary style are advised against.
e) No gauges allowed whatsoever.

I completely get that companies often have dress policies. I couldn’t turn up to work in a low cut, slit to the thigh cocktail dress unless I wanted a very quick telling off and money for the bus home but this seems ridiculously too far. AA seem to paint their models as women who work street corners in their spare time and design their adverts based on the wet dreams of 40 year old virgins and yet, despite this, they feel justified in specifying the make up details of their staff. Most of their adverts border on soft porn; they are massively concerning as they encourage the sexualisation of young girls and the normalisation of pornography with they way the girls are contorted into sexual positions and seem to advertise their bodies more than the shit gym socks or £25 t shirt the ad is apparently designed for.

Dress codes are fine; frustrating perhaps and limiting sometimes, but almost expected. We know some jobs require a uniform, we understand that certain jobs carry certain requirements but when you are as picky as deciding how someone can do their eye make up then it becomes insane. This feels elitist; the company are limiting who they will hire and who will be successful in their company and it isn’t fair. As if there isn’t enough pressure on us to conform to beauty ideals we now have some pratt in an overpriced hoody dictating how his staff can shape their fucking eyebrows.

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Category: Discussion, Feminism