A UNC grad's mea culpa about working at Abercrombie + Fitch in Durham | News
News
INDY Week's news blog

Archives | RSS

Thursday, May 29, 2014

A UNC grad's mea culpa about working at Abercrombie + Fitch in Durham

Posted by on Thu, May 29, 2014 at 8:33 AM

The discriminatory practices of Abercrombie & Fitch have been well documented, especially in a 2003 groundbreaking lawsuit filed against the retail clothing company by several minorities and women (the company settled for $50 million). 

Now we have an inside view, a mea culpa, written for Salon by UNC graduate Oliver Lee Bateman. In 2002, he worked as a manager (and by his own admission, a lousy one) at the A&F outlet in the Streets at Southpoint Mall in Durham. Bateman calls his time there "the year I discriminated against everybody," noting that the company's "top brass consisted primarily of extremely fit, extremely tan white men who despised women."

Each staff member's physical appearance was evaluated on an A-F scale, reminiscent of that awful early '00s TV show. "Are You Hot?"  Regardless of their ability to fold clothes and greet customers—preferably customers who wore Size 0—those with Aryan good looks worked the floor while the lesser physical specimens were exiled to the back room.

But Bateman, now a history professor, was astonished to learn he ranked only a B minus, according to one of his team members, due in part to his pro wrestling physique; for men, rugby body types were preferred. As for his clothing choices, he needed to "show more layers," his regional manager told him. "Maybe a jean jacket and a polo and a fitted T, and pop up all the collars. And you’re going to wear an anklet.”

While the employees were expected to layer their clothing as if they were onions, customers were also sized up. Women whose bodies did not resemble that of a 12-year-old boy were subjected to catty comments and subtly ostracized until they—and their curvy hips and oversized facial pores—headed for the door.

For those of us and our less-than A-plus physiques who have strolled past an A&F—and likely choked on the contrails of cologne that seep from the store—none of Bateman's confessional is particularly surprising. The sad fact is that A&F still exists.

Tags: , , , ,

Pin It

Comments

Subscribe to this thread:

Add a comment

INDY Week publishes all kinds of comments, but we don't publish everything.

  • Comments that are not contributing to the conversation will be removed.
  • Comments that include ad hominem attacks will also be removed.
  • Please do not copy and paste the full text of a press release.

Permitted HTML:
  • To create paragraphs in your comment, type <p> at the start of a paragraph and </p> at the end of each paragraph.
  • To create bold text, type <b>bolded text</b> (please note the closing tag, </b>).
  • To create italicized text, type <i>italicized text</i> (please note the closing tag, </i>).
  • Proper web addresses will automatically become links.

Latest in News



Twitter Activity

Comments

Fine work, Mr. Billman. Your readers are probably aware that most of the NC conservative shenanigans can be laid at …

by growlybear on The Republican Power Plays at the Heart of N.C. Politics (News)

I have very little patience for the empty-headed Pro-poison crowd, which is begging the government to take everyones rights away …

by DoritoReiss on The Problem with N.C.’s Religious Exemption Law (News)

Most Recent Comments

Fine work, Mr. Billman. Your readers are probably aware that most of the NC conservative shenanigans can be laid at …

by growlybear on The Republican Power Plays at the Heart of N.C. Politics (News)

I have very little patience for the empty-headed Pro-poison crowd, which is begging the government to take everyones rights away …

by DoritoReiss on The Problem with N.C.’s Religious Exemption Law (News)

About time some one fixed this.

by Bob Schroeck on Durham Attorney Scott Holmes Challenges N.C. Court Fees as Unconstitutional (News)

And I'm just getting started- What do you think of a society that ritualizes placing its babies -their most vulnerable, …

by Nellie McFarlane De Jong on The Problem with N.C.’s Religious Exemption Law (News)

Feel free to put your faith in pharmaceutical products if you want to live like that. I prefer not to, …

by Nellie McFarlane De Jong on The Problem with N.C.’s Religious Exemption Law (News)

© 2017 Indy Week • 320 E. Chapel Hill St., Suite 200, Durham, NC 27701 • phone 919-286-1972 • fax 919-286-4274
RSS Feeds | Powered by Foundation