Saturday, November 16, 2013

We're Just As Bad As Him

We all know the story, but in case you don't here's a little recap: Mike Jeffries, the CEO of Abercrombie and Fitch, has made the controversial comments of:

“We hire good-looking people in our stores. Because good-looking people attract other good-looking people, and we want to market to cool, good-looking people. We don't market to anyone other than that.” well as...

"In every school there are the cool and popular kids, and then there are the not-so-cool kids," he says. "Candidly, we go after the cool kids. We go after the attractive all-American kid with a great attitude and a lot of friends. A lot of people don't belong [in our clothes], and they can't belong. Are we exclusionary? Absolutely. Those companies that are in trouble are trying to target everybody: young, old, fat, skinny. But then you become totally vanilla. You don't alienate anybody, but you don't excite anybody, either." 

 Jeffries doesn't allow plus-sized clothes to be sold from his stores, because he says that he "doesn't want larger people shopping in his store." 

What a swell guy, right?   Fine. Go ahead and be a bigot and judge a woman's beauty by her size or the way she looks. I don't particularly care for the middle-school looking styles that Abercrombie and Fitch sells either way, but there is another controversy tied to this story as well.  The other, lesser recognized, is the one where WE, as the angry mob of consumers who believe that Mike Jeffries is destined for a warm, fiery future, stoop to his level by judging, making fun of, and criticizing HIS looks. Mike Jeffries looks like this:

Not the most attractive guy, you've ever seen, right? I sure don't think so,either, but my problem isn't with his looks. You look the way you look. You can't really change that, unless you want to spend thousands and thousands of dollars on plastic surgery to make yourself look like other
 people's idea of what "attractive" is. No, my issue isn't with how hypocritical this guy is, but how judgmental and crude the rest of us are being. Memes of Jeffries float around every social networking site that I take part of (Twitter, Facebook, Blogger, Pinterest, etc.) and today I ran across this one while I was on Pinterest. I was so frustrated by this, that I stopped in the middle of my pinning spree to write this blog:

Just take a minute, and think about the double-standard that is taking place here. 

If you've been able to recognize and pick out the double-standard and hypocrisy of both sides of this controversy, then please read on, but if you haven't been able to see what's wrong with the above picture, then please stop reading, this post isn't for you.

The hypocrisy of our angered statements are just as ugly as the words Jeffries speaks about "fat" and "uncool" kids.  If we are so angry about Jeffries judging and making ignorant comments and if we believe that it isn't okay for him to treat human beings this way, why are we doing it to him? The issue here is what he is saying and doing and should not be what he looks like. Point out the hypocrisy, okay, but when we start creating memes like this one...

 ...and the one above, aren't we just as bad as him?

What I am not saying is that Mike Jeffries is correct in his opinion and hateful comments about what he thinks beauty is, but we are also not correct in making fun of him. If we are so bent on changing the world's view of judgement and beauty, we need to start with ourselves. Those who are secure in their lifestyle do not feel the need to harass, attack or put down others. Mike Jeffries is incredibly arrogant and frustrating, yes, but we need to learn that attacking him (especially when he won't see what we have to say), is not going to change his opinion. In the words of Dieter F. Ucthdorf:
"We simply have to stop judging others and replace judgmental thoughts and feelings with a heart full of love for God and His children."
"This topic of judging others could actually be taught in a two-word sermon," he said. "When it comes to hating, gossiping, ignoring, ridiculing, holding grudges or wanting to cause harm — please apply the following: Stop it!"

"A heart full of love," it's hard to love someone who is so crude in his ways but that's what we need to do. Instead of hating, backfiring our bad thoughts about Mike Jeffries, we need to show love and compassion toward HIS lack of love. Like Jeffries, our hands are just as stained by hate when we react to him the way he reacts to "unattractive" people.

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