A Note to Mike Jeffries, CEO, Abercrombie & Fitch
For starters, I feel uncomfortable not addressing an elder with a prefix such as “Mister”, but such a title usually demands some ounce of respect around it and I, Mike, have zero for you.
I write to you in response to the recent media outburst surrounding your unfortunate decision to further declare the exclusions that exist in your soft-core porn clothing store, Abercrombie & Fitch. I read your statements, your comments, your beliefs and I’ve let them sink in for a few weeks. In fact, I initially decided not to respond at all since I have always chosen to not shop at your store anyway. The fact that your store doesn’t make or sell clothing higher than a size 10 or a “L” is actually news to me. I think your store, quite literally, stinks.
Now, I worked at Guest Services inside of my local mall and I had to deal with the customers who complained about the abundance of musky stench that infects the sinuses of each passer-by, but I did not write you then. And I found it awfully ridiculous that a young boy immersed in pubescent thoughts could probably just use the inspiration found on one of your shopping bags to satisfy himself, but I did not write you then. I heard that you were targeting girls as young as eight years old in your campaigns over the years, sending them your pornographic catalogs and full-knowingly attempting to engage them into becoming sexual, “cool” teens who would shop at your store, but I did not write you then. But when you specifically called out my plus size ass in your latest statements, Mike, I’m ready to write.
You see, I told you, I’m polite to the point where it makes me uncomfortable to just call you “Mike” (but I’m over it). I know I’m polite because I’ve met impolite people (this is you). I think back to high school, where I attended a “well-off” private, Catholic, college preparatory school. I think of the kids who, when they weren’t wearing a uniform, sported your clothing. I regret to inform you that “cool” doesn’t exactly come to mind, but “expulsion”, “bully”, “pretzel thrown at me at lunch”, and “harassment” actually do. They were ALL on the football team and I bet you, Mike, find them to be cool.
You see, it was the kids wearing your clothing who thought they were so unstoppably “cool” (because you told them they are) that they could therefore harass girls all throughout our class-- girls of all different shapes and sizes. They thought they could write derogatory comments across one girl’s driveway at home, and they were expelled. They thought that they could call the girls at home at night, plaguing them with hurtful words and hysterical laughter, and they were suspended.
I’m 27 years old, Mike, and I received a social media message from one of these bullies just last year, with a wink face… that’s it, just a wink face. It was a cruel reminder, a hurtful flashback.. a wink is all it takes to tell me, almost TEN YEARS after high-school graduation and the last time we saw each other, that he still is teasing me, he is still mean, he is still a bully, he is still SO COOL, and he wanted me to know.
When I re-visited your outrageous commentary today, I discovered the long list of rules that you require that your private jet flight attendants fulfill. Initially confused by your desire for the presence of male models, later in this article, I discovered that you are in fact a GAY MAN. This BOGGLES my mind.
Since being gay isn’t something you acquire in life like life skills (yours are lacking) and a passport, Mike, is it that you were gay back in high school that made you “uncool”? Was it the hurtful words from the bullies who called you “gay” and a “faggot” that made you so mad, so determined and bound to be exclusionary if ever successful in business?
I have to put it to you, Mike, I’m curious as to how you might have felt as a gay teenager, if a major retailer were to announce that they didn’t want gay men shopping at their store… not just didn’t want, but physically didn’t have the option to shop there… and that being gay makes you “uncool”, and that there is no shame in the store admitting this.
I wonder how you might feel as a confused kid, unable to wear what the “cool kids” had on and further excluded as the “cool kids” were encouraged (by people like you) to divide themselves from… well, people like you.
“Gay rights” (or RIGHTS) are debated every day across this country, across the WORLD, so I know you’ve felt excluded or called out for being gay at least ONCE in your life. All the money you might have now could never counter the feeling you would have had, being excluded for being who you are.
You see, those football-playing, Abercrombie-wearing, suspension-serving kids (in addition to those who were expelled) were real fond of bullying the gay kids at my school too, Mike, and I’m not sure that you’re recognizing the irony here. I have had the same best friend for twenty years, Mike, and he’s gay, and the last people he got along with as a pre-teen becoming a teen, Mike, were the “cool” kids. Just like you “know” “cool kids” and “uncool kids” exist, I “know” this was also the case for you.
You’re gay. You market your store so that it should only be worn by All-American “cool kids”… the “cool kids” know they’re “cool” because of stores and campaigns such as yours… and they bully people like…. you, Mike. You, and me. And you choose, when given the money and success and business to make a statement … to feed it? To encourage it? If the bullying, elite, superficial attitude didn’t exist in them before, Mike, you’re giving it to them.
Well, you disgust me.
I can’t say I won’t buy your products because, as I’ve said, I never did and, secondly, you’ve excluded me from being able to do so anyway. I know there is currently a young all-American man who is clothing the homeless by donating his A&F clothes because your claims sicken him too, Mike. I know there are a bunch of moms, fully disregarding the former money spent on your clothing, rallying up mounds of their kids’ clothes that display your A&F tags, and ridding of them. I’m hopeful that your store will ultimately be boycotted worldwide for your absurdly ironic beliefs.
At the end of the day, you’re the one who has to report to Him. And I can tell you this, Mike, NO ONE’s wearing A&F in Heaven, and they’re all much cooler than you’ll ever be. And if a tiny slot ever does open up, and He considers letting you in, I hope it’s not taken by one of the bullied kids ending their lives because they’re not living up to your “cool” standards.
And I’ve got news for you, Mike… in the straight world, girls with huge hooters are INCREDIBLY cool, and they may require an “XL”.
Get with it,
Colleen Radano – firstname.lastname@example.org - @neatcolleen