Culture Pie: American Apparel’s Period Piece

American Apparel…shame on you.

This piece of culture pie is straight up nasty. It reminds me of the story about my grandmother putting peppermint extract into her sweet potato pie because she ran out of vanilla extract which resulted in the nastiest sweet potato pie in the planet universe. This slice that American Apparel is serving is just as unpalatable.

American Apparel has collaborated with Toronto-based artist Petra Collins to create the tee shirt shown below.

Petra Collins controversial shirt. Image via American Apparel

Petra Collins controversial shirt. Image via American Apparel

This is what American Apparel tells us about Petra Collins and The Ardorous.

The Ardorous is an all-female online art platform curated by Petra Collins, a Toronto-born artist. Petra began her infatuation with photography at age 15 and became an American Apparel retail employee around the same time. She creates portraits exploring female sexuality and teen girl culture. Now 20, Petra has worked with Vice, Vogue Italia, Purple, Rookie, and is a contributing photographer for American Apparel.

American ApparelĀ  goes on to remind us that they “Support Artists, Support Ethical Manufacturing”.

American Apparel may very well support artists (kudos to them, I guess), but manufacturing this shirt was not an ethically brilliant move.

I can embrace “disturbing” art if it carries a poignant message. However, I cannot embrace this tee shirt with its so-called “self-pleasing artwork” that is being marketed and sold to the very teen girl culture that Collins explores.

For a young teen girl, receiving her period is a very intimate, confusing, and often embarrassing time in her life. I highly doubt that young teen girls (or grown women for that matter) are exploring their sexuality and fulfilling their self-pleasuring goals while menstruating. interviewed Collins about the controversy surrounding this tee shirt. You cannot read the interview online unless you can verify you’re 18 years of age because of its mature content. However, a 14 year-old girl or boy can walk into any American Apparel store and purchase this shirt. Come on.

Ardorous or just plain atrocious? Let us know what you think.

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