November 3, 2005 • By Ed Wrather
Now whom you forgive anything, I also forgive. For if indeed I have forgiven anything, I have forgiven that one for your sakes in the presence of Christ, lest Satan should take advantage of us; for we are not ignorant of his devices. - 2 Corinthians 2:10-12.
Abercrombie & Fitch is a clothing retailer that has experienced criticism in the past for its marketing techniques, which included partially clothed models in their “magalog” in 2003. The new controversial marketing technique is aimed at teenage girls. The company is selling T-shirts with slogans on them, which are demeaning and even mean spirited in some cases. One example is the T-shirt that has the statement, “I had a nightmare I was a brunette,” and another one even more inappropriate states, “I’d look great on you.” One Psychologist, commenting on all of this says that the shirts can be mentally detrimental to teenage girls who may already be struggling with their self-image.
There is a group of girls in Pittsburgh who have started a boycott against Abercrombie & Fitch although they are calling it a “girlcott.” Watching a story about this on NBC’s Today Show I was particularly impressed with one young lady who said that they were already exploited enough by others and so why should they exploit themselves by wearing these T-shirts. Looking up exploitation in the dictionary, I found this definition: “utilization of another person or group for selfish purposes.” Therefore, self-exploitation (Did not find such a word in the dictionary.) must mean that you facilitate your own exploitation by purchasing products or participating in activities that further someone else’s or an organization’s selfish purposes to the detriment of your own.
We have an enemy who is constantly looking for any kind of opening in our lives to attack us and exploit us for his evil purposes. He will use groups, organizations, individuals, whoever or whatever is available to try to take advantage of us. To wear a demeaning or mean spirited T-shirt would be doing the devil’s work for him. We would be exploiting ourselves on behalf of the enemy and causing pain to others, which would bring a smile to the faces of demons. In doing so we would be having fellowship with demons (1 Corinthians 10:19-21).
How else can we exploit ourselves? Watching immoral shows on television and then buying the products of the companies sponsoring them would be self-exploitation. Buying books or magazines that are immoral or inappropriate for Christians would be self-exploitation. Using addictive substances, which are damaging to our health and testimony as a Christian is self-exploitation. Going with your friends to a party that will have an immoral flavor and participating in it is self-exploitation. I think you get the idea. Why are these things self-exploitation? Because you have a choice - you do not have to do it.
The apostle Paul says about Satan, “for we are not ignorant of his devices.” You do not have to be ignorant any longer of Satan’s desire to take advantage of you for his own selfish purposes and of how he wants to use you to exploit yourself. You do not have to allow this to happen! Join the “girlcott” and say “NO!” to Abercrombie & Fitch along with all the other countless attempts to push you into self-exploitation.