I completed this Street Survey from Models Of Diversity today. The survey asks just four questions:
Would you like to see high street stores use a wider range of models in their advertising campaigns?
Do you think that people with a disability are represented fairly by the fashion industry?
Looking at the images of models with disabilities, would they be out of place in a fashion magazine?
Do you think the Paralympics had a positive impact on people’s attitudes towards disability?
Whilst I love everything Models Of Diversity stand for and applaud their constant and continuing promotion of ‘other’ beauty and style, I hesitated at these questions because I felt they were leading to a preferred ‘politically correct’ answer and I’m not sure how useful that is. However, I figured that contributing would at least indicate the positivity of those who did respond – though that might be a given if they were there the first place … chicken&egg …anyone?! So I did it and hope you will too. Here’s the link again: Street Survey from Models Of Diversity
In the comment box below the questions, I stated my unease, explaining that the more important area to address, in my opinion, is the discrepancy between that which we say we think and our actions when faced with the reality of our logic. Most people will agree that high street stores should use more disabled models but do they buy clothes off of the back of such advertising? Research tells us not. Ditto for plus size models used in ‘normal’ size clothing.
The crucial questions, as ever, are the ‘how’ ones and these are also the most difficult to answer. For example: how do we address ‘hidden’ prejudice – which is what we display when we act against our stated inclinations?
I want to see models of all shapes, sizes and disabilities as part of a wider norm and not used only when attention is being drawn to any specific difference between individuals. We are still a long way from that reality.
Even the fab paralympians are used mainly to promote disability issues – obviously not a bad thing but a million miles away from Louis Smith and Victoria Pendleton on Strictly or Tom Daley’s diving programme. How great would it have been to see Jonnie Peacock on Strictly without them droning on about his leg every five minutes (assuming he’d be interested which he may well not have been!) Lisa Bailey was there representing – shock, horror – the fat bird who could actually dance … tho’ the judges were notably unhappy with her every attempt to shrug off her ‘funny’ fat bird image.
Over the past few centuries, we have mostly all become aware of the immense and wonderfully varied world of colours, shapes, species, environments, et al., that we are privileged to live in. We all travel miles, watch documentaries, love to read and marvel at the differences we see.
I do wonder how much longer it will take us to genuinely accept and appreciate the similar immense and wondrous variety of the human beings who inhabit our world rather than lauding this current one-size-fits-all ideal of physical beauty and rejecting all those who inhabit space outside of it? I find it odd that we do this, don’t you?