While those assertions assume an insulting lack of agency on the part of young women, the recent wariness over Forever 21’s maternity line is much more in line with reality. Forever 21’s most recognizable model is Kendall Jenner, the 14-year-old half sister of Khloe, Kourtney and Kim Kardashian — suggesting that the brand makes a concerted effort to court customers who can’t yet drive themselves to the mall. Magazines targeting adolescent girls, like Seventeen, are constantly promoting Forever 21 goods in spreads on affordable fashion finds.
Much has been made of Bristol Palin, who has parlayed her ordeal as a teen mom into lucrative speaking engagements, TV appearances and magazine covers – gigs that carry an underlying message about the possible benefits of teen pregnancy no matter how many abstinence PSAs she phones in. The same is true for Forever 21. Of course they’re not explicitly endorsing teen pregnancy, but by nudging teens and saying “If you do find yourself pregnant, looking fashionable is one less thing you’ll have to worry about!” the chain is going the Bristol route of unwittingly glamorizing teen pregnancy.
The reader who sent me this link to the Salon.com story is a man whose teen daughter got pregnant out of wedlock. He comments
I guess no sense letting any market go unexploited. I wonder what’s next. Maybe pitching condoms to teen boys in the colors of their favorite sports team?