Employees of clothing chain Abercrombie & Fitch (see sexy ad above) are complaining about the store’s rigid idea of what its employees should look like and embody. They are saying they are being held up to the standards of the models in the chain's ads and even demoted if they are not deemed attractive enough.
One gal was pulled from a sales position on the floor and demoted to the stockroom when it was determined that she didn't fit the store’s "sexy, effortless style." Store manager Joshuah Welch, ironically a former star of the CBS show Big Brother (see where being a reality TV star gets ya?) was recently told not to return to work until his hair was a more “normal color.” Apparently his blonde highlights were not a suitable image that Abercrombie wanted to portray in stores.
District managers are reportedly asked to do monthly audit, which is posted on a wall in the office, and has included the question, "Do all female models currently working have beautiful faces?" There were two choices, 0 and 5, with the higher number being an approval rating for the “models” (the Abercrombie & Fitch term for sales representatives). They vote on the males too, guys, don't worry.
Abercrombie Vice President of Diversity and Inclusion Todd Corley said the "face" question refers to the full presentation of an individual, not merely his or her visage.
Many are questioning the ethics of labeling teenage beauty and promoting or punishing workers according to looks. The issue is whether it's morally justifiable to define an "Abercrombie look" in 2008, three years after a lawsuit settlement forced the retailer to enhance diversity. This amid the ongoing debate about the company’s marketing tactics, which often include shirtless young men and scantily women in thin outer garments.
"It's a hierarchy of hotness," Welch said.
And THAT, ladies and gentlemen, is my favorite quote of the week!
(...wait, there's a Vice President of Diversity and Inclusion title at A&F?!?!? WTF.....)