Overt Sexualization + Female Olympiads

Sociological Images has an interesting post up on the sexualization of female Olympiads. The team uniforms that women wear in comparison to the uniforms that men wear is very interesting. The beach volleyball uniforms are the most striking in terms of apparel difference. The men’s uniform consists of a mesh tank top with mesh shorts. The uniform for women basically exposes as much skin as possible. I am all for the celebration of women’s bodies and am not dissing the women who are wearing the uniforms. However, when people start saying that the women’s beach volleyball uniform is all about performance, that’s when I start raising eyebrows. If it was all about enhancing an athletes playing ability, why aren’t the men’s beach volleyball players shirtless and wearing speedos?

NASPA + Abercrombie & Fitch

Update: NASPA seems to have received the message from its members that a partnership with Abercrombie & Fitch was a bad idea.

After the announcement last week about a partnership with Abercrombie & Fitch, we heard from a number of members who objected to NASPA partnering with this particular corporation. It’s important to know and to inform your constituencies that your voices have been heard. NASPA will not be going forward with the partnership. No agreements have been signed and no funds have been received. While the original decision to enter into the partnership was based on numerous conversations with the management of A&F and with many NASPA members and
leaders, based on additional information we received in regard to the business practices of A&F and the reaction of several members, I felt that it was in the best interest of NASPA not to move forward with an agreement. But most importantly, in walking away from the potential partnership, I respect the KC chairs and other leaders who, while perhaps uncomfortable with the partnership, wanted to support their professional association. I regret that they and other leaders received the brunt of some of the more vocal objections from some of our members.

Before the potential for this partnership was realized, the NASPA Board, at its July meeting, established a task force to review sponsorships for the associations. Any guidelines developed by this task force will be shared broadly with the NASPA membership.

We, in the NASPA office, want to note that in order to keep costs down for our members, we will need to continue to look for corporate sponsorships. However, we will work within guidelines established by a committee of the Board that will help us avoid situations such as we encountered with the potential A & F partnership.

NASPA remains committed to the values of diversity and inclusion. We continue to hear and respond to the concerns of our members. NASPA _is_its members and we thank you all for your support.

Apparently NASPA is for sale to the highest bidder. NASPA is one of two higher education associations for Student Affairs professionals. It was recently announced that NASPA was partnering with Abercrombie & Fitch. Specifically, A&F would be providing monetary support for the NASPA Multicultural Institute (a conference on social justice issues for student affairs practitioners.). I am stupefied by NASPA’s decision to take money from Abercrombie & Fitch. The Diversity link at the bottom of the A&F homepage focuses on the diversity (in this case, race and ethnicity) of A&F’s employees. My question to NASPA and A&F is what about the marketing of A&F products. The only people of color on the A&F site (that I see while currently browsing their site) are on the Diversity page!

A&F’s advertising (via the web and in store) is about as diverse as a klan newsletter. It appears to me that NASPA (and several other well-known and respected associations) are for sale to the highest bidder. I think that the A&F PR machine is donating large amounts of money in an effort to deflect criticism of their sales and marketing scheme. Increasing the number of employees of color from zero to more than zero does increase the diversity (see the percentage in the press release below) of the A&F workforce, but it does little to eliminate an institutionalized discriminatory corporate culture that utilizes white supremacy and sexual objectification to sell a product.

The official release from NASPA is after the jump.

Continue reading NASPA + Abercrombie & Fitch