When an old interview draws fresh ire

Folks are up in arms about a business doing questionable things to make more money, but is this really so surprising?

Last week, a Business Insider article citing a 2006 Salon interview with Abercrombie & Fitch CEO Mike Jeffries has once again brought attention to the preppy clothing retailer’s refusal to sell any size higher than a “large” for women.

In my view, this attitude falls under the same mentality that prompted Victoria’s Secret to launch a teen lingerie line called “Bright Young Things” and Dove’s “Real Beauty Sketches”: money.

No matter how insulted or warm and fuzzy you feel, these companies are using essentially the same tactic: exploiting your insecurities to make you want to buy their stuff.

For Dove, it was reassuring women that they’re prettier than they think. For Victoria’s Secret, it’s telling women their underwear will make them sexy. For Abercrombie & Fitch, it’s telling the kids who fit in their clothes that they’re the American ideal.

I think its right that people are upset over the resurfacing of Abercrombie’s exclusionary sizing options, but this should open up a larger conversation about what we value most in our culture.

By taking a look around, it seems that image and money trumps all.

Perhaps rather than obsessing over one of Jeffries’ bizarre interviews, we should revisit Pope Leo XIII’s Rerum Novarum in which he states:

“From contemplation of this divine Model, it is more easy to understand that the true worth and nobility of man lie in his moral qualities, that is, in virtue; that virtue is, moreover, the common inheritance of men, equally within the reach of high and low, rich and poor; and that virtue, and virtue alone, wherever found, will be followed by the rewards of everlasting happiness.”