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Abercrombie and Porn

By George Grant, Ph.D.
January 01, 2002

Your teenage daughter probably learned much of her fashion sense from them. She probably picked up a good bit of her taste for hip hugging Capri pants, skimpy tank tops, slouchy cargo khakis, high riding plaid boxers, form fitting and midriff baring t-shirts, and frayed nylon surf wear from them as well. Now, if the doyens of cool at Abercrombie and Fitch have their way, she'll also be learning all the joys of group sex, homoeroticism, exhibitionism, pornography, and gang rape from them as well.

Really. I'm not making this up.

Gauche Porn
The Spring Break 2001 edition of the ultra gauche clothing retailer's slick quarterly catalog is appropriately entitled "XXX." It features 275 pages of fresh-faced, clean-cut, and innocent-as-the-dawn teen models cavorting in various stages of dress and undress mostly the latter in an exotic Bermuda beach-front setting. It also features profiles of various porn stars, angry lesbians, embittered author-ingrates, and grizzled rock-and-roll kulturistas offering their best advice on how and where to indulge in the joys of privileged promiscuity and pompous perversity.

Oh yes, and it also features the spring line up of logo wear, jeans, t-shirts, polos, cargo shorts, sandals, and ball caps. Nifty, huh?

The flagrant flaunting of moral convention evident in the catalog's full-frontal nudity, group sex scenes, wild wave raves, and flirtatious drug use is really nothing new in the world of high fashion. Calvin Klein and Benneton have toyed with such mores for years. What is shocking about Abercrombie's porn is that no one seems to notice. No one seems to care. This mainstay of the American mall culture appears to be able to prance about in its Fellini-like debauchery with total impunity.

The young models many of them sporting the oh-so-haute piercings, tattoos, and tribal markings of the modern college barbarian hoard are obviously having a swell time as they strip off one another's clothes, as they skinny dip together, as they envelop one another in sensuous group poses, and as they receive the counsel of their elders on just the right porno books, videos, and "toys" to buy to get themselves in just the right frame of mind, body, and soulessness.

Porn as Revolution
Theologian R.J. Rushdoony once asserted, "For generations, pornography has been catering under the counter garbage to the prurient. But in recent years, a marked change has occurred, one which looks to the Marquis de Sade for inspiration. For Sade, pornography was not garbage but the voice of liberation, the declaration of humanistic independence from God and all law. The new pornography thus differs from the old: it is now a crusade for a new freedom and an all-out war against God and His law." As a result he says, "The old garbage has become 'garbahzh,' pretentious garbage masquerading as the new enlightenment and the new freedom. This new pornography, first conceived by Sade and now a part of the Sadean revival and influence, will not be eliminated by moral indignation or by legislation."

Indeed, the Abercrombie porn is not so much a demonstration of the hubris of the New York fashion industry as it is of the collapse of Christian mores in the whole of Western Civilization. When wickedness is tolerated in the shadows of a society, that culture is corrupt. When that same wickedness is protected by the society, the culture has become depraved. But when the wickedness is defended by temperamental accessions to social dominion, to personal autonomy, and to antinomian relativism, you know that the culture has collapsed altogether it remains in place only out of habit and convenience.

Abercrombie porn is thus not just one more outrageous example of how we happily rush to the malls in order to buy the rope to hang ourselves, it is a sad demonstration that America has fallen into the hands of the revolutionaries and our daughters have giddily joined the ranks enemy.

Hitting Them Where It Really Hurts
So, what is the best way we can respond to such things as the Abercrombie moral assault? Public outrage? Massive boycotts? Picketing at the mall? Political action? Letters to the editor? All of these things may well have their place. But the most important response we could have is to, as Dr. James Dobson so often counsels, turn our hearts toward home. Spend some time with your daughter. Don't just spring the brazenness of Abercrombie on her. Just talk with her. Nurture your relationship with her. Invest in her. Disciple her. Earn the right to say something about issues like this one by being a vital aspect of her day-to-day world. Make Abercrombie irrelevant. After all, they created this wretched catalog in order to stir up controversy and gain attention for their stores. Sure, take your dollars elsewhere but most of all, commit to making Abercrombie less and less of an influence in this culture by making sure that they are less and less an influence in your family.


Topics: Culture

George Grant, Ph.D.

George Grant is the pastor of Parish Presbyterian Church, director of the King's Meadow Study Center, Founder of Franklin Classical School, New College Franklin, the Comenius School, LifeNet Coalition, HELP Services, Parish Life Network, and the Chalmers Fund. He is the author of more than five dozen books. The father of three and grandfather of three, he lives in Franklin, TN with his wife and co-author, Karen.

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