Government uses religion to interfere with private company’s product

Abercrombie & Fitch is all about “the look.”  I mean, the whole point of the store is to get people, especially young people, to cough up money for “the look.”  To this end, the ads are soft porn, all aimed at showing the ultimate sexy cool.

Have I mentioned that I hate the whole Abercrombie thing?  As the mother of a teen, Abercrombie slots neatly into the parenting “pain in the neck”  category.  Nevertheless, hate it though I do, I recognize that in a free, capitalist society, when a store’s product is “the look” (’cause if you take away “the look,” all you’ve got are fairly ordinary clothes), the government ought not to be interfering with its image.

Yet our federal government is doing just that, solely so that a Muslim sales clerk can augment the unique sexy Abercrombie “look” with a hijab. A federal representative explains the thinking behind this decision to use taxpayer money and government coercion to bully a private corporation:

“This retailer that targets a youth market is sending the message that you cannot aspire to their ‘All American’ brand if you wear a head covering to comply with your faith,” said William Tamayo, the agency’s regional attorney.
Is this really what the feds should be doing with your money and their power?

As for me, I’m not going to be interviewing at a topless night club any time soon, both because I don’t think I happen to suit “that look” and because professional toplessness offends my belief systems.  I’m also not going to go to the feds demanding that they force the club to change its product to suit my sensibilities.

In this latter regard, I’d be acting entirely consistently with practitioners of all other religions, but for Islam.  They and I recognize that the demands of faith may close doors.  It’s not the government’s job to force those doors open.  Faith requires sacrifice, and that sacrifice may mean one doesn’t get to work at the trendiest store in the mall.

It is inconceivable that the Founders ever intended for the Constitutional proscription against the federal government meddling with matters of faith was intended to force private businesses to change their project, nay, to change their very core identity, to accommodate the fact that someone’s religion has become inconvenient in the pursuit of cool.

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  • zabrina

    Hey, Book, maybe you and I should both apply for work at topless clubs, and then when turned down, file lawsuits and get plenty of splashy media coverage for our assertions that we were inspired by Muslims to force businesses to comply with our demands. The more people start thinking about the premises of this debate, the better.

  • Charles

    Two points:

    First, there is this – “The manager asked her if she was Muslim, then marked “not Abercrombie look” on her interview form, the agency said.”  This is something that always gets me about the news media.  They are reporting this as “fact.”  Just where did the agency get this infomarion – who saw the form, who saw the manager mark “not Abercrombie look”?  Is this something that is in fact “fact,” did the manager admit doing this, or is it what the hijab wearer claims? I guess, I am just suppose to take the news media’s word for it.  Afterall, they are more elite than I am.

    Second, this is why so many folks on the left seem to be on the side of radical Islam.  They BOTH want to control what others do.  This really isn’t much different (as you allude to) than those “feminists” who sued Hooters because they didn’t hire men or hire woman who didn’t have the Hooters look.

    You’re right – our founding fathers (oops, I mean our founders) didn’t expect this kind of nonsense.  Although I have a feeling (no pun intended) that many of the founders would not have been caught at Hooters except good ol’ Ben Franklin.  And he would have had several Hooter’s girls around his table!

  • David Foster

    Potential blog post or magazine article: “Ben Franklin’s Babes”
    I wonder if pictures & biographical information are available for many of them?

  • garyp

    I wonder if Hooters is next.  I think it would be great if they had to hire the morbidly obese or octogenarians to wear those shorty shorts.  (No insult intended for either group)  Certainly, businesses always hire the people “out front” based on their looks (mostly) and personal charm.  Take a look at the resturants “greeters” next time you eat out.  90% are cute, young women.  Nothing wrong with that but I bet a lot of young women who aren’t cute would love to have those jobs and could do them just as well.  However, life isn’t fair and it isn’t possible to make it so.

    I don’t shop at A&F (or Hooters) but hiring someone to be the public face of any company should be entirely up to the company. 

    Also, if it isn’t right for business to do this, why can professional sports, movies, TV and the theater discriminate on the basis of athletic ability, looks and talent.  Applicants could make a case that their failure to make the cut is entirely based on factors outside their control.  At least the Muslim applicant could simply take off the head scarf and get the job. 

    That being said, it is interesting to me that the Congress, the current administration (and the govt bureaucrats that love it) seem to have a blatent “death wish” (metaphorically speaking, of course).  They constantly go around saying and doing things that seem calculated to insult and anger most Americans.   The UN report condeming AZ, Fearless Leaders’s comments on the 9/11 mosque, Marie Antoinette’s (sorry, Michelle’s) lavish vacations are examples.  What purpose do such insults serve.  Is the goal to bring our government into such disrepute that a revolution is triggered which they expect the US Military will brutally put down, leading to a leftist dictatorship?  Or are they just stone idiots?  It is beyond confusing to me.  Either they are the most Machavelllian administration ever or the dumbest.

  • Ymarsakar

    The Left and the Islamic murderers are allies. They work towards the same goal. As far as we are concerned.

  • Ymarsakar

    ” Either they are the most Machavelllian administration ever or the dumbest.”
    They are riding a tiger. They cannot stop, else we will destroy them utterly or their transgressions against humanity.
    The aristos have to tighten the grip. They have to separate out the wannabes from the true blue blood rulers. They have to. Because to do anything else, ensures their self-destruction. They want to survive. And they’ll do anything to survive. Including what looks stupid to others.

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  • jj

    I have to cut A & F a little bit of slack here, though – about a 64th of an inch, maybe, but at least that much.  They get it for – if nothing else – having survived as a brand at all.
    Those of us of a certain age will remember that their core business changed out from under them a few decades ago.  Abercrombie and Fitch, in New York, came into business, and spent their first hundred years as outfitters for those going on safari, or serious mountain-climbers – and they were the best, too.  They sold camp supplies.  Tents, of all sizes, (little ones for one person, and big ones, the kind that could fit fifteen or twenty cots inside, to both the cavalry and those hitting the back country); guns and ammunition of course – all kinds, from those for shooting pesky hyenas to those capable of bringing down charging elephants and rhinos; cooking supplies; short-wave radios to stay in touch with the world when in darkest Wherever; boots; clothing for all weathers encountered in every climate; knives for doing everything from pen-knives to skinning knives to small swords; cans and containers of all sorts for liquids – in short, everything you’d need for yourself, a few companions, and twenty native bearers to wade out into the bush for a few weeks in search of your trophy whatever.
    Most everyone’s forgotten today that that’s what A & F came into business to do, and that’s what they did – for decades.  (Ernest Hemingway was a major A & F customer, complete with house charge, for his various expeditions to Africa.)
    But then the business began to change, as society decided the animals were better left alone.  A & F kept the supplies, the clothes, etc., but got rid of the guns and went to cameras for photo safaris in the mid-sixties.  But by the mid-seventies even that business was pretty much done, the world had been fully explored, nobody was mounting expeditions to go anywhere any more.
    So they reinvented themselves, and became competitors to Brooks Bros. as purveyors of classic high-end every day clothes.  However, that world has also been steadily shrinking, and it became fairly clear fairly quickly that there was room for only one Brooks Bros. – and it would be them: they’ve been doing it for a long time.  (And, importantly for their business, which many people do not seem to know, Brooks has had the contract with the military for a hundred years.  When Custer went to balls in Washington in full-dress formal uniform, it was probably made for him by Brooks.  When Petraeus goes to full-dress occasions at embassies, etc.  He does so, I will take a sizable bet, in a formal uniform made for him by Brooks.  The upper echelon military is one of the last places in US society where clothes count for something, and Brooks still has that business.  It contributes a lot to keeping them going.)
    So A & F had to change and adjust again, and have had to do so several times in the last thirty years.  I don’t like anything they’ve done – for my money they’re just another twerp clothing store for graceless twerps these days, and their taste is deplorable.
    But, with what they’ve been through, with the seismic shifts they’ve weathered (and I’m sure someone else owns them now, they’re not independent), I find myself tending toward a smile when I see the name above the door.  (Okay, admittedly, I don’t look at what’s in the windows!)  But I give them a little smile just for having kept the name alive.