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American Apparel Takes The Low Road

An American Apparel picture is, as ever, worth a thousand words:

But this time, the ad isn't advertising neon bodysuits or the merits of going braless. It forms part of an “explicit” show of support for Washington’s decision to accept same sex marriages performed in other states. “Congratulations, Washington D.C.,” reads the fine print: Dov Charney thinks you're hot!

Hotness, of course, is crucial for Charney, the company’s founder, even as he makes forays into the political sphere (his other cause is immigration reform). But sex is not always synonymous with progressivism; not even American Apparel's brand of real-world soft-core can include two men or two women holding hands, or otherwise engaged in the business of love and life. Instead, we are treated to a Narcissus fantasy about homosexuality, and particularly lesbianism, that's as old as Paradise Lost and as fatuous as Katy Perry's “I Kissed A Girl (And I liked it).” Should we “Legalize Gay” so that more straight girls can make out—with each other, and, apparently, themselves—at frat parties?  I hope not. Political cowardice can be smutty as well as painfully staid, but between these two extremes is a gap waiting to be filled with real representations of gay America, which is populated by people who—you guessed it—look like “you and me.”

--Carina del Valle Schorske