America's Number One Seller

I may be cavalier and, yes, outright perverted, but I cannot tell a lie.

Wednesday, August 10

Crying Out Wolf Between the Sheets: Women in the Free Marketplace

A media-darling and fashion mogul, American Apparel CEO, Dov Charney, is up to his usual exhibitionist tricks. This time, however, instead of beating off for Jane Magazine (for an article that has disappeared from the public eye quicker than a dissident in Stalinist Russia), or candidly running his mouth off in a non-politically-correct fashion, he'd taking heat over two sexual harrassment suits.

Like all other lawsuits, these were initiated with allegations, and until they're carried out in court, they'll remain just that. Unlike pleading your case to a jury of twelve peers, however, some accusations are sufficient enough evidence for a conviction in the court of public opinion. While some lynch-mobs have already presumed Charney's guilt and begun discussing sentencing, other outlawed loners are hopelessly trying to appeal the verdict.

Even the media seems to have bought into its own sensationalism. Spotlight hungry writers (such as myself) are swarming story before it subsides, trying frantically to get their two-cents in before the bank closes. But there's been no new developments since the lawsuits were first filed, and everyone seems to be regurgitating what everyone else has already said, ver batim.

But ours is a society founded by puritans, and our greedy consumption of of sex weighs heavy on our consciences. We post the ads everywhere, are lured in by them regurlarly, and when it doesn't sit well with us, we blame everyone but ourselves. It would be nice if we could be more honest with ourselves, but humility is Jesus's area of expertise, and the mere mortals that we are, we'll burn whoever doesn't seem to be eager to be saved.

We're just humans, really only apes, and to be so consumed by our libidos is just natural. Skeptical? Well Charney's own marketing strategy is proof. Remarkably successful, it does away with the artifice and pretence that every other piece of consumer smut bothers with. Seeming to reflect Charney's own transparency, American Apparel ads cut straight to the chase: normal people with average features displayed in a way that tickles the interest of our libidos.

As a single, thirty-something, women, I can appreciate the pressure of a biological clock countdown. Not being the inexperienced and insecure, starry-eyed idealist that I once was, I know what it really means to have a libido. After I'd recovered from the initial shock of my husband leaving me for an office temp five years my junior (and twenty pounds my inferior), I began to take the time to realy get in touch with the person I am, with the animal I am.

Since then I've been shot down more times than I'd like to count, and have refused my share of unsolicited and unwanted offers too. What I've learned is that rejection is never easy, no matter which end of it that you're on.

My point is that just because something is unsettling, it doesn't make it unjust. As one of my idols, Celia Farber, points out in an insightfully honest piece on sexual harassment, "Lechery is a drag—but it is not a crime."

If we can't stop lechery, we can at least stop building a church upon it, stop measuring and quantifying and collecting it. Because to do so is only to be complicit with the very formula for regression that it implies, that we are inseparable from our sex value to a man, be it positive or negative.

And it's true! When sexual revolution ripped through the fabric of our society, it left us as exposed and vulnerable as men. With freedom comes danger and responsibility, and if we're going to be on equal footing with men, then we have be able to play in the same league by the same rules.

If you've ever waded through a pervasively gay-male milieu, you'd know that the candidly cavalier attitude most men assume is not reserved only for women. Survivng in freedom requires strength.

In the mess of the media storm surrounding Dov Charney and American Apparel, I'll I've personally been able to sift out is that he's being charged with precipitating a "hostile work environment." Nowhere is it alleged that he ever persistently propositioned any of the plaintiffs. Charney has admitted to benig a sexually charged being and having relations with employees, but has denied the more severe allegations in relation to this case.

If Charney actually instructed employees to scout women that he would want to have sex with, I'm much more inclined to believe that he was being perfectly metaphorical, and that the plaintiff has taken a quote entirely out of context to use it against someone who has made themselves an easy target through his reckless transparency. And if he did invite anyone to masturbate, it would be harassment only if the request was repeated; and I can't imagine anyone repeatedly pursuing the kind of rejection that must ensure after such a refusal.

Something here just doesn't add up. If Charney was the predator that he's being made out to be, I imagine that after a few, brave souls came forward, more would follow from the thousands that work for him, and there would be some further developments for the media to latch onto. But there hasn't been and, instead, commentators are left to recycle what little material there actually is on this out there.

On closer examination, these women seem more like a fraudulent bunch looking to exploit and extort a vulnerable target. We should be outraged over how the babyboomer media is running amok of laws that are needed to protect bonafide victims by sensationalizing the vague charges of a few women who filed complaints only after being fired.

As Farber mused about Bill O'Reilly, I hope that Charney doesn't settle and fights these charges in the courts. America and its new generation of women deserve to have the facts scrutinized in a court of law, rather than swept under a carpet of confidentiality.


  • At 2:37 PM, Anonymous Janet said…

    Don't you think that it is just a little too likely that someone who is so cavalier themselves would eventually step over the line?

  • At 5:08 PM, Blogger HonestPerv said…

    In fact, no, I don't.
    What I do think is that presuming someone's guilt based on a potential to offend is ludicrous.

  • At 11:57 AM, Anonymous Janet said…

    Have you ever heard the saying "Where there's smoke, there's fire"? Where you see Charney as innocent, any police force would see him as a usual suspect worth being rounded up for questioning.

  • At 6:07 PM, Blogger rogueporter said…

    Janet, though smoke might amount to fire, you have to ask yourself who's the one who lit the match.
    This is case that's received less than fair treatment by the media, and that's just a symptom of a sensationalist press whose memory extends only as far back as their last rating feedback.

    honestperv, that article you posted was interesting and I think that it offers some insight for the Charney case. I'll still have to defer judgement to the courts, however.

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