Author: has written 57 posts for this blog.

Clarisse Thorn is a Chicago-based, feminist, sex-positive activist and educator. Personal blog at clarissethorn.com; follow her on Twitter @clarissethorn; you can also buy her awesome book about pickup artists or her awesome best-of collection, The S&M Feminist.
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40 Responses

  1. LC
    LC September 16, 2011 at 5:02 pm |

    I think we should just abandon “begging the question” and go with a better translation.

    Nancy seems deeply awesome.

  2. Autumn
    Autumn September 16, 2011 at 6:08 pm |

    I have been loving how the story has been unfolding. Whatever intellectual quibblings I might have about her work as satire (thank you for the kind words, Clarisse), I think this has been an effective tool to get people to talk about American Apparel, and to also talk about attitudes toward plus-size clothing and the women who wear them, without just seeming reactionary. She has a rare opportunity to call out what a lot of people have been saying about AA for a long time, and she’s doing it with class and is staying on-point, and it’s pretty admirable. And there’s even breaking news that came out right after this ran: AA is flying Nancy out to their factories, under (her) condition that she can write about anything she sees. The plot thickens!

    (Also, I’m a diehard language descriptivist, which, since my trade is copy editing, means I’m either radical, or bad at my job, u choose. That said, I didn’t know the proper use of “beg the question” and now I have to test how diehard I really am. Stay tuned!)

    (And ALSO also: blueberry kanten with almond cream would probably look great on Nancy.)

  3. Computer Soldier Porygon
    Computer Soldier Porygon September 16, 2011 at 6:26 pm |

    A.) Better to be descriptive.
    B.) Vegan desserts do not taste better.
    C.) Nancy is cool.

  4. Nahida
    Nahida September 16, 2011 at 6:27 pm |

    Nancy is my FAVORITE PERSON.

  5. Fat Steve
    Fat Steve September 16, 2011 at 7:13 pm |

    I would have loved Nancy to win and, Clarisse, thanks for the memories of Hank.

    The best way for me to contribute to this thread is by linking to my tumbler which contains a pic of the sexiest macarons in history. (Well, the best I have ever made…)
    http://www.tumblr.com/tumblelog/stuwhoknew

    P.S. Ignore the pic of the very unsexy guy below that (it’s me)

  6. Kristen J.
    Kristen J. September 16, 2011 at 8:34 pm |

    Clarisse Thorn: Vegan desserts DO taste better. And you know what tastes best of all? THE FEELING OF DOING THE RIGHT THING.ok, that’s all from me for now ….

    It’s not that the dessert tastes better, its just that its spiced with smug superiority. ;)

    But I did make this really awesome vegan chocolate torte about two hours ago. Hopefully it will set before our friends get here!

  7. Bridget
    Bridget September 16, 2011 at 8:43 pm |

    I think Nancy is as awesome as a vegan dessert. Which is to say, quite awesome :)

  8. Tori
    Tori September 17, 2011 at 12:54 am |

    But even if Nancy models the vegan desserts, does that actually mean they will be available in my size?

    Erm, um.

    Is it worth mentioning that this to-do (with special but not sole attention to the pushback from American Apparel) is with regard to sizes that a lot of stores and people wouldn’t even consider plus-size?

    What happens when my larger-than-size-14 ass wants to wear pie panties? :P

  9. Li
    Li September 17, 2011 at 3:51 am |

    On vegan deserts, do you know what I found out was vegan the other day? Turkish delight. Which may have led to me eating an obscene amount of it in celebration…

  10. Medea
    Medea September 17, 2011 at 5:34 am |

    Judging from that email, Dov is not the only unprofessional person at American Apparel.

  11. scrumby
    scrumby September 17, 2011 at 6:48 am |

    Clarisse Thorn:
    Vegan desserts DO taste better.And you know what tastes best of all?THE FEELING OF DOING THE RIGHT THING.

    So much effort. I just keep a jar of ground debatable moral superiority in my cupboard for when my casserole needs that extra touch of smug.

  12. Fat Steve
    Fat Steve September 17, 2011 at 8:44 am |

    Clarisse Thorn:
    Fat Steve, it seems like you’re probably not a spammer, so feel free to re-post your comment with a link that works.

    Sorry, just wanted to share some baked goods I made. I didn’t realize it was the link aspect of it causing it to be kicked back! Does the one up at #3 work? if not, it’s http://www.tumblr.com/tumblelog/stuwhoknew

  13. PrettyAmiable
    PrettyAmiable September 17, 2011 at 8:47 am |

    “UPDATE: In a mad rush to not look like idiots, American Apparel has offered to fly Nancy out to observe what it’s like to work for the company. She accepts as long as she can write about it.”

    I don’t get this response. What part of Upton’s critique really had to deal with working conditions at American Apparel?

  14. Fat Steve
    Fat Steve September 17, 2011 at 8:49 am |

    Oh, and Clarisse this may not be the right place, but, how are you? The last post I remember reading from your blog detailed your cycling accident.

    P.S. I have ALWAYS worn my helmet since reading it (before that I was 50/50.)

  15. Sara
    Sara September 17, 2011 at 9:42 am |

    I agree with Autumn’s description of satire-in-general, but I disagree that this particular instance doesn’t contain “an element of the ludicrous.” It might be different if it was simply an ad made by an agency, but as a self-submitted entry in a beauty contest, Upton’s work is clearly recognizable as a joke (even without her own commentary on it). For example, I think it is safe to say that very few people would describe ranch dressing in a bathtub as “beautiful” without at least a hint of irony.

    (That said, I’ll be the first to say that the line between satire and genuine weirdness can sometimes be so hard to find that it isn’t even worth looking. Case in point, is Peggy Miller of objectiveministries.org/kidz/ aware that the audience-submitted drawings are mostly satirical? I taught a half-semester discussion course on satire and my students were unable to resolve this one.)

  16. Sara
    Sara September 17, 2011 at 9:45 am |

    [P.S. - A trigger warning should be issued for some of the drawings at the URL I posted.]

  17. llama
    llama September 17, 2011 at 10:15 am |

    “UPDATE: In a mad rush to not look like idiots, American Apparel has offered to fly Nancy out to observe what it’s like to work for the company.”

    They still look like idiots.

  18. Eric
    Eric September 17, 2011 at 2:20 pm |

    As an admittedly part time mysogynist and chauvanist, I just want to say that I wish more women both let themselves look like this, and were this proud of the fact that they do. It really isn’t healthy to obsess over being a toothpick, especially if you haven’t got the genetics for it.

    Ladies, take a page from Nancy’s book, and let yourself be you, because you’re already worthwhile.

  19. victoria
    victoria September 17, 2011 at 2:42 pm |

    @Sara, i’m fairly sure the Objective Ministries website is a very elaborate, very well done parody site, designed by people very well versed in evangelical/fundamentalist xian subcultures. One tip off: i can’t think of any actual xian org that would sell a “Baby Jesus anti-fornication thong” on its cafe press site.

  20. MH
    MH September 17, 2011 at 3:43 pm |

    I love this post so much, if only for the fact that it has both fat people and veganism in it, a combination that much of the world seems to refuse to believe exists.

  21. Kristen J.
    Kristen J. September 17, 2011 at 4:00 pm |

    Clarisse Thorn: Thanks for asking. I’m on the mend, still not terribly mobile, but feeling much better. My draft eBook (Confessions Of A Pickup Artist Chaser: Long Interviews With Hideous Men) is in consent checks, so I’ll resume posting to my blog soon.

    Oh my goodness! Well, I’m glad you’re feeling better.

    For deliciousness we had tofu poke and “hawaiian” tempeh kabobs for dinner…which was surprisingly good. M’s veg dinners are usually okay but nothing to write home about. These were actually delicious.

  22. Ashley
    Ashley September 17, 2011 at 4:47 pm |

    Eric, you are also worthwhile! Keep your head up! I’m sure there are women who find you very attractive!

  23. LC
    LC September 17, 2011 at 6:20 pm |

    Clarisse Thorn: Thanks for asking. I’m on the mend, still not terribly mobile, but feeling much better.

    Glad you are on the mend, and looking forward to the book.

  24. Anonymouse
    Anonymouse September 17, 2011 at 8:46 pm |

    Well, that’s an obvious attempt to get some good publicity out of Nancy. Her critique had nothing to do with the working conditions at AA. And if their factory is truly as they claim it is, she wouldn’t have anything negative to say about it. Pretty transparent ploy to co-opt a critical voice and then say “see, even people who hate us think our labor policies are great!” Frankly, I wouldn’t go if I were her. But she’s been so on-point in her critique, I’m curious to see how this plays out.

  25. DoublyLinkedLists
    DoublyLinkedLists September 18, 2011 at 2:46 pm |

    “Vegan desserts taste better”

    This is the most unbelievable statement in this article. Because it’s one thing to be like “I can make a good dessert without butter”, but its a whole ‘nother thing to be like “dessert is better without butter”. Because you can’t make puff pastry without butter.

  26. PrettyAmiable
    PrettyAmiable September 18, 2011 at 6:25 pm |

    Is there a mass-produced vegan unsalted margarine? That is something I’ve had trouble with when trying to convert baking recipes to vegan styles. I also frankly never understood salted butter. If I wanted my butter salted, I would salt it my goddamned self.

  27. Li
    Li September 18, 2011 at 7:15 pm |

    DoublyLinkedLists:
    “Vegan desserts taste better”

    This is the most unbelievable statement in this article. Because it’s one thing to be like “I can make a good dessert without butter”, but its a whole ‘nother thing to be like “dessert is better without butter”. Because you can’t make puff pastry without butter.

    Oh really?

  28. DoublyLinkedLists
    DoublyLinkedLists September 18, 2011 at 9:17 pm |

    Margarine is no subsitute.

  29. Fat Steve
    Fat Steve September 18, 2011 at 10:55 pm |

    Clarisse Thorn: Thanks for asking. I’m on the mend, still not terribly mobile, but feeling much better.

    Good to hear…and though I’m sure we all wish you were 100% healed, it’s nice to know the painkillers you mentioned aren’t being taken recreationally ;)

  30. Tori
    Tori September 18, 2011 at 11:15 pm |

    DoublyLinkedLists:
    Margarine is no subsitute.

    Well, maybe if butter makes one shit blood.

  31. DoublyLinkedLists
    DoublyLinkedLists September 19, 2011 at 8:27 am |

    Well yes. In that case, margarine would have to do. Thankfully, I don’t have to deal with any sort of real lactose intolerance. Still though, it doesn’t stop being far more delicious.

  32. Brandy
    Brandy September 19, 2011 at 9:06 am |

    PrettyAmiable:
    Is there a mass-produced vegan unsalted margarine? That is something I’ve had trouble with when trying to convert baking recipes to vegan styles. I also frankly never understood salted butter. If I wanted my butter salted, I would salt it my goddamned self.

    Hmm, I wonder if Earth Balance has an unsalted variety? I have only used salted margarine, but then I’ll leave out (or reduce) the salt that the recipe calls for.

  33. Bridget
    Bridget September 19, 2011 at 9:07 am |

    Interestingly, Pepperidge Farm’s frozen puff pastry also happens to be vegan. Not at all healthy, but vegan.

  34. MH
    MH September 19, 2011 at 8:52 pm |

    Fleishmann’s makes a widely available kosher margarine which is vegan except for the vitamin D, which is lanolin-derived. If the vitamin D is a concern, I would just use Becel Vegan and reduce the recipe’s other added salt by a little.

  35. Denim douches | Critical Sass
    Denim douches | Critical Sass September 21, 2011 at 1:25 pm |

    [...] other ad news, also covered by Feministe, the size-twelve model Nancy Upton, who entered an American Apparel contest, was deemed the winner [...]

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