Recently an event came across my Facebook feed. It was a casting call for models for local Vancouver fashion mecca, Aritzia. It read:
We’re hosting a casting call for Aritzia models! If you’re a size small / size 4 on top and bottom and no taller than 5’10 – we’d love to meet you.
A second ad read:
Maintain personal body measurements within tolerance of Aritzia Standard Size S or 4; Waist size 25 – 27; height minimum 5’7 to 5’10 maximum
I re-posted the event on the Thirties Grind Facebook page and said:
Hey ARITZIA, how about representing girls of all shapes and sizes??!! Great opportunity here for a Vancouver company to take a stand and push back against cultural biases!!
I’m totally serious. Wouldn’t it be great – revolutionary even – for one of our local, and now world-recognized, companies to take a stand and start incorporating all body types into their ad campaigns? A recent study shows that, aside from showing greater social consciousness, it is actually good for business. “We are undergoing a shift in the mind-set of the modern female consumer,” explains Ben Barry, who conducted a study of 2,500 women, and found that “…women increased their purchase intentions by more than 200 percent when the models in mock advertisements were their size.”
So, aside from the fact that the fashion images women are presented with are representative of a small fraction of the population (and nothing is saying we should not represent these ladies, too) and, consequently, have been shown to contribute to body dis morphia issues in women (especially young girls)…these images are actually deterring women from shopping in certain retailers…not so good for bottom lines. Basically the message is, as I said above:
I don’t care if it looks good on her…I want it to look good on ME!
So…show me someone like me wearing it!
We have enormous power. Eighty-six percent of the purchasing power in this country is in the pockets of women. Well, let’s use it.
Pat Mitchell, CEO Paley Center for Media
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