Example: [WorldNetDaily.com, 2003]
Forty-five specific portrayals of sexual imagery in the first
[Rest of article here]
Origins: Barbara had reason to question my sanity when I woke her up this afternoon (she'd stayed up very late to accommodate a
The A&F Quarterly available at
As a prelude, we have to say that we saw nothing to indicate that the A&F Quarterly is "targeted to your 10- to 13-year-olds." It isn't given away for free in
The "Christmas Field Guide" comes packaged in an outer sleeve which identifies it as "280 PAGES OF MOOSE, ICE HOCKEY, CHIVALRY, GROUP
All of the models pictured in the A&F Quarterly appear to be adults (i.e., at least
All that said, we'd venture to opine that much of the content in the A&F "Christmas Field Guide" could accurately be characterized as "soft-core porn." We're only going to reproduce one of the pictures here (because the photographs are presumably protected by copyright, and because our site can't support traffic from thousands of porn-seeking web surfers), but we'll try to accurately describe what they depict. This will all sound ridiculously prurient, we know, but it's the best we can do without reproducing the catalog itself:
- Two photographs show four smiling, topless young women in reclining positions around a smiling, naked young man who is lying with his back to the camera (but with his face turned towards it). Although all of the young women are topless, only one of them has her breasts exposed to the camera. In the
first photoa bare-breasted young woman is playfully pulling off the young man's pajama bottoms (exposing his buttocks), and in the second photo she holds the now completely-removed pajama bottoms (exposing all of the young man's backside).
- A photograph shows a naked young woman sitting on what looks like the window ledge of a castle turret, grasping a horizontal flag pole. The picture is taken from a distance to include the whole turret, so the woman's image is only a very small portion of the entire picture.
- A photograph depicts two young women lying next to a young man, all of them sleeping in a canopied bed accompanied by four collies (of the canine variety). All three of the young people are shirtless; one young woman exposes both breasts to the camera, and the other exposes one.
- Two photographs feature two different young men posing separately with medieval military gear (i.e., a suit of armor and a sword). The first young man is completely unclothed but is posed in a sitting position, so neither his crotch nor his buttocks are exposed. The second young man is naked except for a velvet cape; both the cape and his hand are positioned to obscure his crotch.
- A two-page spread shows a young couple wading into a lake or river, both with their backs to the camera. The young man has his jeans pulled down to his knees, exposing his buttocks, and his left hand is pulling on the young woman's bikini bottom (which has the words "unwrap me" printed on it).
- A photograph shows a profile shot of an unclothed young man walking towards the shoreline with his shorts in his hands.
- A black-and-white photograph shows side view of a naked young man standing in a rowboat, with his face and upper chest turned towards the camera.
- A photograph shows a young couple standing atop a rocky cliff; the young woman is topless, and the young man is unclothed but clutches a blanket which covers his crotch and all of his right leg.
- A two-page spread shows a semi-reclining, shirtless young man with his shorts pulled down around his ankles. The young man's knees are pointed upwards, thereby obscuring his groin.
- Two photographs show a topless young couple standing face-to-face with each other and then kissing. One of the young woman's breasts is visible in the first picture.
- A photograph shows a young couple facing the camera with their eyes closed. Both of them are topless; the young woman's arms are placed over her head and around the neck of the young man behind her, exposing both her breasts.
- A photograph shows an embracing young couple with a blanket wrapped around the lower halves of their bodies. One of the young woman's breasts is exposed, as are the young man's buttocks.
- A photograph shows eleven young people (seven men and four women) sitting naked in a shallow pool of water. All crotches are obscured by legs, water, or the positioning of adjacent bodies; one of the women exposes a single breast to the camera.
The text at the bottom of this two-page spread reads as follows:
Sex, as we know, can involve one or two, but what about even more? The ménage à trois (three-way) is not an uncommon arrangement. An orgy can involve an unlimited quantity of potential lovers. Groups can be mixed-gender or same-sex, friendly or anonymous. The risk of pregnancy and of STD transmission, including HIV, increases with each additional partner. A pleasant and supersafe alternative to this is group masturbation — sometimes called a circle jerk or Jack-and-Jill-Off. Orgies and group sex were common in the Middle Ages. Promiscuity was popular with both the peasantry and the nobility. Since divorce was forbidden by the Church, adultery was common and socially accepted. Did you know? Both humans and porpoises have one sex act in common — group sex. So that's what they keep making those noises for.
- A two-page spread shows a naked young couple frolicking in the water and then kissing in a reclined embrace. The young man's buttocks are visible in the first photograph, and one of the woman's breasts in the other.
- A black-and-white photograph shows a different naked couple frolicking in the water; one of the woman's breasts is visible.
- A series of four pictures shows several skinny-dipping young people sliding on wet rocks and cavorting in a pond. A couple of female breasts are visible.
- A two-page spread shows three skinny-dipping couples embracing and kissing while standing in water up to their waists.
- A black-and-white photograph shows a kneeling young man reaching his hands towards a young woman's foot; the young woman has pulled off her bikini top and is clutching it in her left hand, exposing her breasts.
- A photograph shows a naked young couple standing one behind the other along a shoreline. A large tree stump obscures their crotches, but both the woman's breasts are exposed.
- A naked young man is posed sitting in front of a fireplace; he clutches a strategically-placed pair of shorts and a gift-wrapped box over his crotch.
- A two-page spread shows six young people in various states of undress lying on their floor with their bodies intertwined amidst a mass of presents, clothing, and Christmas trees.
Some of the catalog's non-pictorial pages also encompass sexually-oriented themes. On
What to make of all this? Whether something like the
P.S. Although we left
Update: Abercrombie & Fitch pulled the "Christmas Field Guide" from their stores in early December. Protest groups claimed the act was a result of their campaigning for a boycott over
Then, on 10 December 2003, Abercrombie & Fitch announced it would stop issuing its racy quarterly catalogues and instead would be unveiling "an innovative and exciting campaign in the spring." Some industry analysts said the Christmas 2003 edition of the publication may have offended too many people, prompting this change.
Last updated: 27 November 2007
Bhatnagar, Parija. "Abercrombie: What's the Naked Truth?" CNN/Money. 2 December 2003. Howard, Theresa. "Marketers Decide Ads Too Sexy for Teens." USA Today. 5 December 2003 (p. B4). Piccalo, Gina. "Clothing Retailer Pulls Controversial In-House Catalog." Los Angeles Times. 3 December 2003 (p. E6). Associated Press. "Abercrombie & Fitch Pulls Racy Catalog from Stores." USA Today. 3 December 2003.