American Apparels Latest Attempt to Regain Customers: Pubic Hair Cartoons

photo of american apparel pubic hair ad cartoon pictures

Back when American Apparel first appeared on the consumer scene, it was undeniable that it was targeting a very, uh, particular audience. Namely, every artsy liberal arts college student on the face of this country.  If you were buying American Apparel for a reason other than Halloween, you best believe that you were probably layering a bunch of different colored shirts/dresses/fabrics and tights with a creatively tied ‘belt,’ thick framed glasses, and a non-functional headband.

AA’s advertising campaigns have always attempted to appeal to this 18-24 “hipster” demographic with overtly sexual ads in which their models wear some variation of the aforementioned outfit. And by some variation, I mean they wear one item out of the six and expose most of their body while styling an impossibly hip haircut, a fuck …

… ton of eyeliner, and/or the seemingly imperative thick-framed glasses.  These advertisements, often referred to as “soft-core pornography” rather than clothing ads, have consistently caused an uproar amongst the same community both because of their failure to focus on clothing and maybe moreso because the models are all perfectly tanned, toned, and hairless.

Anyway, it’s no secret that at the moment the company is flailing. Majorly. Their hip audience realized that you can always tell when someone is wearing an item of American Apparel clothing and in turn has moved on in a big way. Dov Charney is getting slapped with accusations and lawsuits and other such crap on the daily, and no one really wants to pay 25 dollars for a v-neck t-shirt anyway.

So when I was shown a new American Apparel advertisement in which the main focus was pubic hair, I’m not going to lie, I was a bit confused. I wondered when American Apparel advertising executives had snuck onto the Oberlin campus and realized that the people who used to wear their clothing were EXTREMELY HAIRY. (Like, really. Barely anyone shaves. Anywhere.) The ad is a monochromatic line drawing of a woman wearing an unbuttoned shirt, and there is a solid black shock of hair in the lady’s crotch region.

My friend who’s looking over my shoulder as I write this just said “when you wrote pubic hair I got kind of excited, and then stopped being excited when I realized it was just a drawing.” And I agree. Sorry, American Apparel. Two-dimensional drawings with pubic hair might wear your clothing, but I’m going to take my 25 dollars elsewhere.

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45 thoughts on “American Apparels Latest Attempt to Regain Customers: Pubic Hair Cartoons

    • I also expect every guy to manscape — and I don’t think that I know any guys who do not ever manscape, either. It’s just a part of being a person. You need to bathe somehow, ideally frequently, and you need to keep your rebellious hair growths in line.

  1. So, Simon Jadis, it’s normal for adult women to not have pubic hair and to look like pre-pubescent little girls? Nothing creepy about that at all.

    • Personally, I only care about the aesthetics. I’m gay, so while I have no interest in sex with women, I do tend to be around them a lot, and sometimes clothing is absent.

      While I would like to point out that a woman without pubic hair does not at all resemble a pre-pubescent little girl, I should point out that I am merely expressing what is the norm in my age group and in my area. I am twenty-three, and I cannot think of a single female friend of college age who has pubic hair. Certainly not any sexually active ones — some friends of mine are not sexually active for various reasons, and are less likely to participate in intimate discussions.

  2. I have to agree with Francesca.
    Keep it neat, even go Brazilian if that’s what you like, but it is not the norm – pubic hair is an indication of sexual maturity. The very idea that it is wrong to have it is rather bizarre.
    I just can’t wrap my head around that.

    • I’m sure that this is not a universal norm. It is, in my experience, the norm for sexually active young women in my age-group (18-25).

      In the Western world, it is a standard that women shave their underarms — and underarm hair is equally indicative of sexual maturity. Why is it more difficult to understand (whether you agree with it or not) that the same standard is applied to pubic hair?

      • You’re right about underarm hair. However, in Western culture under arms aren’t considered sexual zones whereas a pubis clearly is a sexual zone.
        I think the deal with pubic hair is that the completely shaven female comes somewhat out of porn and porn often exploits a grown woman/child woman duality that makes non-porn grown women feel uncomfortable. Women in porn movies often are completely hairless and yet act like little girls in the sense that they use little girl voices and flirtation methods. This sends a message that pubic hair is unsexy and that for a woman to have it, she isn’t compliant with dominant hetero male sexual desires.
        When guys balk at natural bush, to me it signals that they aren’t ready for a real woman or real relationship, but rather want to live in a porn-fueled fantasy world in which the woman is always submissive and compliant.

        • I’m with you. For me, people who think pubic hair is gross are undesirable sexual partners. Shaving is uncomfortable. Waxing is painful and can result in a lot of ingrown hairs. If it is your preference that I be uncomfortable so you can avoid being grossed out by something that is naturally there, why would I expect you to be a good sexual partner? If you need me to be altered, especially in a way that is unpleasant for me, so you can have a pleasant sexual experience then I’d say that’s creating a fantasy-world in which you are not sleeping with me, but some image that you tried to sync me up with. That having been said, if you want to get rid of body hair, do it. I just don’t want to and wouldn’t want to sleep with anyone who is bothered by it- by me.

      • You’re right about underarm hair. However, in Western culture under arms aren’t considered sexual zones whereas a pubis clearly is a sexual zone.
        I think the deal with pubic hair is that the completely shaven female comes somewhat out of pron and pron often exploits a grown woman/child woman duality that makes non-pron grown women feel uncomfortable. Women in pron movies often are completely hairless and yet act like little girls in the sense that they use little girl voices and flirtation methods. This sends a message that pubic hair is unsexy and that for a woman to have it, she isn’t compliant with dominant hetero male sexual desires.
        When guys balk at natural bush, to me it signals that they aren’t ready for a real woman or real relationship, but rather want to live in a pron-fueled fantasy world in which the woman is always submissive and compliant.

        • Admittedly, I am not well-versed in pornography that involves women. But I think that, for the most part, you are reading too much into what has much more to do with an aesthetic choice than it does with male domination. Though it is my understanding that straight porn does feature a great deal of absurdity when it comes to the relationship between the man and woman.

          If a female friend of mine asked me whether she should shave her groin, I would say “yes, emphatically.” Not because I think that she should be compliant with dominant hetero male sexual desires or because I want to live in a porn-fueled fantasy world in which the woman is always submissive and compliant (I don’t really KNOW many submissive women, actually). I would answer “yes” because I think that it looks better and because it is a social norm of which I approve.

          Also…I am not certain as to what you mean by “real woman,” but unless you are referring to imaginary girlfriends or blow-up dolls, I think that it is offensive to suggest that some women are not “real women.” I hear people refer to (young) women with slender body-types as non-real women, and it bothers me intensely. A woman who is slender, or who has no pubic hair, or who is not at all assertive, or who has some emotional growing to do is still a real woman. Simply because a young woman happens to conform to a fantasy shared by some males does not make her appearance or personality any less legitimate, and it does not invalidate her being or her womanhood.

          • You are right that “real” is problematic. I merely meant a woman who doesn’t want to conform to the porn-fantasy or infantile woman dynamic that some men do fantasize about.
            Conforming to male fantasy is, in and of itself, not a problem nor does it diminish a young woman’s personality. . . unless she is mentally or physically harming herself in some way (not that shaving one’s pubic area constitutes either of these things).
            But like me saying a shaved pubis is an affront to womanhood, someone telling me I need to do it because otherwise it’s gross or not aesthetically pleasing is equally offensive and equally an affront to womanhood. Most grown women naturally have pubic hair.

    • So you can’t wrap your head around no pubes,is it just me or are you intentionally putting these double entendres in your posts? Either way,I like it!

  3. I’d like to add that I’m 23, and I have both a hairy pubic region and hairy armpits. I have never shaved my pubes and have enjoyed a ridiclously voracious sex-life! Perhaps attitude to hair is different in the U.K, but I know a few ladies with hair pits and plenty of ladies who don’t shave their pubes. None of them have complained to me of a less than adequate sex life owing to their hirsuteness.

    • Oh, I may not have mentioned this, but it’s -definitely- a regional thing. There are probably certain places where this is more common and other places where it is less common. At my university, in the US, this definitely seems to be the norm in my experience.

  4. “normal for adult women to not have pubic hair and to look like pre-pubescent little girls? ”
    “When guys balk at natural bush, to me it signals that they arenâ��t ready for a real woman or real relationship”
    Before I rant I want to make sure that everyone is clear that very few women go hairless. francesca says “not have pubic hair”. Stylized design cuts are more common like you see on short haired African American men.
    I cant say if porn started the pubic cuts or not and I personally don’t have any problem with pubic hair either way. However, I have been told by several women my age (24) that large bushy pubic hair is considered unsightly(disgusting), at least on men. This trend is highly supported by many women my age.
    The debate on what is sexually normal often ends in the simple fact that one can or should decided what a couple finds exciting.
    That being said its common knowledge that media(TV, internet, print) has a huge influence on social trends and that includes porn. Porn is often associated with the destructive pursuit of idealized human perfections like being young, having symmetrical features and large reproductive organs(penis and breasts).
    However, I feel it pointless to blame porn for this because these pursuits have existed before porn and are expressed widely in TV and Hollywood.
    Hair is considered an accessory to ones outfit now. Some women change it every week and some even everyday. Pubic hair for many women(AND men) is seen as part of that pursuit of perfection.
    Final point being..Hollywood, TV and even magazines are just as guilty of promoting human perfection as porn is.
    2 second google for back up. Glamor Magazine article on the topic of pubes.

  5. Ok well I guess I’m in the minority in this particular comments thread, but I prefer my pubic hair to be non-existant. I’m not “grossed out” by my own pubic hair and I think it’s silly that someone would assume that’s why I shave it. I just find it much neater not to have any, and I actually get really itchy if it grows out too much because I’ve been shaving it for so long.
    I don’t really care how it looks, it’s what I like and it’s my body so I can do whatever I want. That goes for anyone else too, so let’s not judge please. Hair or hairless, we all get to decide what is right for us. Yay!

    • A friend of mine just mentioned to me (after I mentioned this thread) that that is why she keeps herself shaved. I am sure that, in many cases, it is more about comfort and less about aesthetics or social norms or submitting to male dominion.

    • I prefer to trim mine back a lot so it doesn’t stick out of my underwear (thongs) and because mine gets absurdly itchy, but the totally bare look kind of weirds me out. But I’m right with you, Shannon, that I don’t care what other people do. It bugs me when people try to convince others that they should ABSOLUTELY do one or the other, instead of finding a happy medium.

  6. Restatements: I too am a shaver, plucker, waxer. I am 20. I am an American living in London.
    This is *totally* a generational thing. Entirely.
    I can’t think of any girl my age I know who is sexually active and who I have talked to about sex that has pubic hair outside of a landing strip. It is fairly standard to get rid of the sides and undercarriage. More just get rid of it all.

    I would argue (again) that hairlessness is a phenomenon stemming from whores of days past. They got crabs or lice, they shaved. They used to hide it with merkins, then they stopped. Plus, can we just stop and say it isn’t totally aesthetic, it FEELS better. For the woman and for the man.
    Of course there is an element of conformity and possibly of doing something because we feel it is expected of us… when you are 15! The same could be said for shaving legs, wearing makeup, making out with a boy in his car, or eating sushi. after initial trepidation, you just love it. don’t knock it till you’ve tried it. i’ve tried the pubic hair, I prefer sans foliage.
    Also, in my experience, the UK of my age group is pretty hair free as well :)

    • Ooh, I had forgotten the comfort thing. Missionary is nearly impossible for me without shaved bits…my hairs get yanked and it’s really uncomfortable. Not as much of a problem in other positions, though.

      • How about comfort as well as pleasure? I don’t have time for extensive pube upkeep or sex for that matter (with 2 little ones in the house). But when the occasion arrises that sexy time can be fit into the schedule, having a freshly shaved (no thank you to waxing, tried it twice and I feel foolish paying someone to torture me) area just FEELS so much more amazing. Like smooth and more slippy. :P I only go bare once a month so the upkeep is not an issue for me…

        So I don’t do it for how it looks to my man anymore, I do it for how it feels when I get MINE :D How’s that for feminist? Hahaha!

  7. I am very hairy pretty much everywhere (I have super poofy, curly, thick hair on my head, and that applies elsewhere, as well). Luckily, my husband doesn’t seem to care. I keep it trimmed just to make it easier for him to go down on me (hehe), and I’ll shave my bikini line if I’m wearing a bathing suit, but personally, I prefer the way I look naked when I have pubic hair (as long as I trim it, mind you – otherwise it’s just distracting because it’s like having an afro on my cooch). I tried shaving my pubes a couple of times, and I have to say that it actually made sex feel *much* better, so I would have liked to keep doing that. However, I have very sensitive skin and couldn’t keep it up because shaving makes me break out into a rash and itch. I can’t afford waxing and have had bad skin reactions to do-it-yourself waxes. But like I said, I like the way it looks (and so does my hubby), so I’m not super worried about it.

  8. I never said that there is anything wrong with going bare, I did say that to state that it is “normal” and having natural pubes is not is wrong.
    Personally, I do the landing strip thing in the summer and I prefer just keeping everything neat in the winter.
    As a side note – waxing is far less painful to me than shaving. It is quick and the regrowth thing is a non-issue. I can’t stand that itchy phase – NO THANK YOU!

    • I attempted a brazillian once and they ended up having to stop at the full stage. I was in shock, shaking, sweating, laughing uncomfortably to not cry. The closer in they got, worse it was. Seriously, you must have one tough kitty! :D

      • haha…you friends and your one liners crack me up sometimes! *tough kitty I’m with Blurry on this one, landing strip in summer, trimmed in winter.

  9. Okay, I have no idea why this discussion became almost entirely about personal pubic preferences.

    Even if I hadn’t been offended by the ads and business practices of American Apparel already, I certainly would be turned off by this new ad campaign. What the hell does a naked woman with a large bush have to do with selling fucking clothes? Seriously.

    • Boggart.
      We are not fucking robots. Most of the people who comment here “know” one another and we feel pretty comfortable discussing most anything.

      Hang around for awhile, you’ll see posts that evolve into amazing things.
      Or, be offended.
      Your call.

    • haha… Joey, I still don’t know how you come up with shit! The recesses of your mind must be a very scary or enjoyable place!

  10. Promoting pornography and sexual deviant behavior at any price. Mind u, the AA was founded by a Jew. And go ahead, come on, scream racism and antisemitism instead of doing some proper research. More than half of the porn industry is owned by Jews. Explain that pls.

    • Well, I’m not going to “scream racism and antisemitism” . . . because your comment already does that more than enough. Also, I am not given to screaming, even in the face of bigotry.

      It’s bizarre that you point that out — first of all, as if who is or is not Jewish matters. And secondly, I have no idea what is “[sexually] deviant” about that picture. Also, though pornography is certainly a problem for some people, why exactly is the porn industry itself a problem?

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  12. I’m a married woman (26, if that matters), and aside from an experimental weekend, I’ve never shaved my pubis. I keep it trimmed and neat, but shaving is a hassle, if you ask me. My husband doesn’t seem to mind.

      • Wow you’re even bitchier than usual today Gigi. To stay on topic, I shave because muff-munching is better without the muff. Maybe if Gigi got munched she wouldn’t feel the need to go all catty so often.

        • I don’t know who you are, so saying I’m being bitchier than usual is awkward. I’m also guessing you have no idea what I was referring to, so… alright. Also, props for sticking to the ‘bitter feminist doesn’t have sex often enough’ argument. Sexxxay

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