Why I Hate Abercrombie & Fitch: Essays on Race and Sexuality

By Dwight A. McBride | Go to book overview

2 Why I Hate Abercrombie & Fitch

The astronomical growth in the wealth and cultural influence of multi-
national corporations over the last fifteen years can arguably be traced
back to a single, seemingly innocuous idea developed by management
theorists in the mid-1980s: that successful corporations must primarily
produce brands, as opposed to products. —Naomi Klein, No Logo

The company’s [Abercrombie & Fitch’s] success depends on the teenager’s
basic psychological yearning to belong. (Remember, the Columbine
shootings happened at a school some reportedly called “Abercrombie
High.”) And that means more than just selling the right kinds of clothes.

—Lauren Goldstein, “The Alpha Teenager”

Although [Bruce] Weber has drawn upon a style and even content pio-
neered by [George] Quaintance, he has not fulfilled the promise of the
earlier artist. Weber has little compunction about appropriating a style of
clearly gay male sensibility, marketing it, but making small but signifi-
cant changes that deny and repress its historical conditions and an-
tecedents.

This is not all that surprising, for Bear Pond is little more than Bruce
Weber advertising, a new form of reactionary art. If the earlier Weber
photos were used (explicitly) to sell Mr. Klein’s briefs these later photos
are peddling a new—post Ronald Reagan, Ed Meese, and Bowers v. Hard-
wick—version of (gay) male eroticism…. Unable to deny the existence
of (gay) male sexuality Weber has de-sexualized it and reduced it to ob-
scured indicators and marketed it as free sexual expression.

—Michael Bronski, “Blatant Male Pulchritude: The Art of
George Quaintance and Bruce Weber’s Bear Pond

-59-

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Why I Hate Abercrombie & Fitch: Essays on Race and Sexuality
Table of contents

Table of contents

  • Title Page iii
  • Contents ix
  • Acknowledgments xi
  • Preface 1
  • Introduction- The New Black Studies, or beyond the Old "Race Man" 17
  • Part I- queer Black Thought 33
  • 1- Straight Black Studies 35
  • 2- Why I Hate Abercrombie & Fitch 59
  • 3- It’s a White Man’s World 88
  • Part II- Race and Sexuality on Occasion 133
  • 4- On Race, Gender, and Power 135
  • 5- Feel the Rage 143
  • 6- Ellen’s Coming out 149
  • 7- Affirmative Action and White Rage 154
  • Part III- Straight Black Talk 161
  • 8- Speaking the Unspeakable 163
  • 9- Cornel West and the Rhetoric - Of Race-Transcending 185
  • 10- Can the Queen Speak? 203
  • Notes 227
  • Bibliography 235
  • Index 241
  • About the Author 251
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