[Glossed Over] Eyebrows, Made in America.

Glossed Over: Taking a closer look at what advertisers are really selling.


Dov Charney, beauty guru?


I’ve tried so hard to like American Apparel, with its “Made in LA” sweatshop-free guarantees. Lately, they’ve gotten more press for thinking neon high-waisted leggings are an important fashion statement (they are not) than their pro-worker practices. But they’re still the only clothing company I’ve found that publishes their factory workers’ salary and benefits info on the website so I try to keep an open mind.

But there’s no question that founder Dov Charney is a total weirdo (remember that bizarre Jane Magazine interview? No? You’re better off). And now, his sexual harassment-fueled managerial style has extended to dictating beauty standards to his female employees, as in the above lesson on eyebrow grooming, leaked to Jezebel by an outraged staffer.

Okay, so most workplaces have a dress code. At Beauty U, we wear all black under our uniform aprons, and we’ve been given clear directives about making ourselves presentable before interacting with clients. And I get that working fashion or beauty retail means personifying the brand, and entitles your employer to a say in your appearance.

But the eyebrow thing crosses the line because American Apparel doesn’t seem to care about the eyebrows of male employees — and because it encourages female employees and customers to dress like prostitutes on clown detail. If you work there, are you just supposed to make your peace with that, the way any Dunkin Donuts employee resigns herself to the orange polyester? Uniforms serve a practical purpose in the retail workplace, enabling customers to identify employees, but they’re also a none too subtle way of making sure your workers know their place. Should that level of employer control extend to your body?

When a company like American Apparel markets extreme personal style and freedom of expression (because I can give no justification for those leggings beyond the First Amendment), they should keep their hands off employees’ brows — and bodies in general. And I’ll be bearing that in mind the next time I’m running low on baby tees and unitards.



Filed under beauty standards, Career Opportunities, Dov Watch, For Extra Credit, Glossed Over., Waxing, week 7

8 responses to “[Glossed Over] Eyebrows, Made in America.

  1. Marian

    This reminds me of the early 60s, when flight attendants had to be weighted and measured every month so they could preserve the company image ( of flying prostitutes). Airlines, thanks to EOC got beyond this and discovered that even men and older women could hand out pretzels and coffee.

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  3. So interesting to be filled in about American Apparel….. A little bit too far down on my to-do list for years has been figuring out who to complain to at U. Penn (the real estate office, the Women’s Center?) about their weird, verging on pornographic ads featuring young, beat up, drugged looking girls in their underwear in their store front windows rented from Penn, right across the street from the main campus….. So now I have to put those ads together with the fact that they pay their workers well….. Somehow seems to make the ads even more creepy.

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  5. Wow, I had no idea about the eyebrow regulations. I’m not surprised though–there’s definitely a Dov “type”. Ick. Let’s all pass on working for him.

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  7. Dawn.

    I was so disappointed when I found out how much of a creepy misogynist Dov Charney is because up until last year, I liked American Apparel. Their transparently fair wages for factory workers (but not in-store workers so much, I’ve read from various sources including Jezebel), their anti-sweatshop made-in-LA promise, and my love of monochrome basics and leggings, all contributed to my fandom.

    I even wanted to work there briefly, but ended up canceling my interview because I was hired somewhere else. Now I know they wouldn’t have hired me. (I’m a size 8, so apparently I’m a fatty.) It’s not surprising a huge douchebag like Charney would have eyebrow maintenance regulations.

    But god damn it I still like some of his clothes. My love of trashy apparel knows no bounds.

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