15 May 2013

A Word on Mike Jeffries

When CEO of Abercrombie and Fitch, Mike Jeffries, recently went on record as saying that he only wants "beautiful people" to work and shop at his stores, the internet exploded. Apparently, his definition of beauty is very narrow, and does not include the average size woman or larger, or any large male who is non-athletic. For the last week or so, I have seen meme after meme accusing him of hypocrisy by attacking his physical appearance, as he is older, maybe just a touch out of shape and has had extensive "work" done on his face. I admit to posting one or two of them myself.

Today, I want to apologize to Mike Jeffries. When we criticize someone for judging people's worth through looks and then turn around and do the same, we are missing the point. So, sir who will never read this, I am sorry for subjecting you to the same hateful rhetoric you have been spewing. No one should ever have to be made to feel they are not beautiful. I am so sorry that we have perpetuated the culture of judgment while calling for its end. It is wrong-headed and mean.

I also want to apologize to myself for letting my standards slip when I participated in attacking a person for their external appearance. It was childish and I am ashamed of myself. There is never any good reason to do so, and we are only seeking to justify a morally reprehensible act by wrapping it in moral outrage. It is NOT okay. I'm going to have to dig deep to figure out why I let myself get caught in a mob mentality and break my own ethical rules.

Yes, what Mr. Jeffries said was awful, but I suspect it belies a deeper hurt. He acts like a child desperately putting others down to make himself feel better. His history of cosmetic surgery shows a deep and abiding discomfort in his own skin. I suspect he does not truly see himself as beautiful, and so he lashes out from pain and tries to bring others down. By retaliating, we have only ensured his continued self-hatred and misanthropy.

Or maybe he's just a dick. Either way, insulting his looks isn't going to help a thing.

Call him out for his insensitive remarks. Call him out for his exclusionary and shallow business practices. Call him out for making bland, overpriced clothing. But don't make fun of his looks. Don't be a bully. Don't perpetuate a culture of appearance-based judgment.

Don't sink to his level.

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