Good for Clementine Ford at Daily Life*, Australia (see the link above). I really agree with her points here on PR stunts in fashion and media (publishing images of women with wrinkles, banning low BMIs on the catwalk) and on ‘Real Woman’ marketing. Why, when changes are made to policy on photoshopping and airbrushing, do editorial boards gently switch back to the emaciated and sand-coloured model? They’re obviously PR stunts, flighty and fashionable gestures that could win a magazine new supporters, but don’t count after one issue.
It’s also incredibly contradictory to promote ‘real’ women (I think that means you are ‘curvy’, ‘hourglass’ etc), while selling a product which supposedly makes you even more beautiful, flawless, perfect (as with the Dove campaign).
I think her feature provokes a really interesting question – is it better to promote diversity within marketing of the ‘beautiful woman’ or not?
You could argue that more diverse portrayals of women within mass marketing and media is an important, and these are tiny steps towards a greater goal. However, I’d agree with Clementine that being beautiful, in any guise, shouldn’t be the primary currency, and I also think the channels in which these tiny steps are made (banning size zero etc) are inappropriate.
If we want ‘real’ women, we’re never going to find them on a billboard or a glossy magazine, it’s crazy for us to go on this unfulfilling manhunt. It’s crazy for us to compare ourselves to catwalk models even if they are more ‘curvy’, and similarly crazy to think that a woman in a Burberry advert is anything like ourselves, even if she has a higher BMI.
It would be more appropriate to promote looking at our friends and family for inspiration about what being a woman really is, rather than looking at the warped media, marketing and fashion worlds.
(*It’s a shame the Daily Life is saturated in beauty/healthcare ads).