American Apparel stirs up controversy for giving storefront mannequins pubic hair

American Apparel has stirred up quite the controversy for decking out its mannequins with very visible patches of untamed pubic hair.

As of this morning, the storefront at the retailer's East Houston location in New York features three mannequins clad in transparent white underwear, exposing their unkempt bikini lines and stopping window shoppers dead in their tracks.

But while some Twitter users have labeled the exhibition 'kinda pervy', the retailer has defended it by saying it is intended to start a conversation about society's concept of feminine beauty.

District Visual Manager Dee Myles told the Observer that the display is meant to 'bring rawness and newness to a holiday thought of as a romantic Hallmark holiday. . . by exploiting the lust of Valentine's Day.'

She added that it's important to 'have instances spark up curiosity and conversation about what we deem beautiful and sexy.'

The mannequins - all of whom are bespectacled brunettes - also expose their nipples in see-through bras. An employee at the location told the Gothamist he had never seen the mannequins before this morning, or at least 'not in this configuration'.

Shoppers have had mixed reactions to the window display, with some agreeing that it' a positive move for feminism and others believing it is too graphic.

'Slightly disturbing,' wrote one Twitter user, while another called it 'kinda brave, kinda pervy [sic].' But one fervent fan of the mannequins tweeted simply: 'LOVE IT.'

It seems the retailer has taken its defense of the 'bush' online as well; a quick browse on the website reveals several models exposing their unwaxed bikini lines in the lingerie section.

American Apparel is no stranger to provocative marketing; the retailer most recently found itself in hot water over a T-shirt featuring a drawing of a menstruating vagina.

The garment was designed by Toronto-based artist Petra Collins, who told MailOnline that it was intended to open three taboo topics for discussion: 'pubic hair, masturbation, and menstruation.'

'This image is stating that women are not a subordinate creature to just be entered,' she explained.

'We are our own beings in control of our own sexuality. I find it interesting that images addressing sexuality and reproduction are hidden and often looked at as disgusting.'

The company has also come under fire several times in the past for featuring half-naked models who appear to be under-aged on its website.

Tagged: ,