Sunday, March 16, 2014

Why I let advertisements and the media influence where I shop

My entire life, I've been told to not judge myself based on what I see in the magazines. Through a vicious combination of Photoshop, white-washing, and the eating disorder dilemma in the fashion industry, most women in the public eye look nothing like the women I know in real life. So, then why do magazines show me such unrealistic examples of women? 
Recently, however, a shift has started in the media. Instead of relying on Photoshop and the small-bodied women to portray a message, companies are beginning to catch on to what the consumers want to see: real women. Whether that means a ban on Photoshop, a variety of sizes and shapes and colors in the model, or a general all-accepting message, body positivity is no longer something only found in our dreams.
While it's still fairly rare, body positivity is starting to show up in everything from clothing advertisements to magazines to celebrity interviews. For every twenty negative advertisements there will maybe be one positive one. Certainly not the odds we're looking for, but much better than in the past.

The crazy contrast of both body positivity and negativity in advertisements

I've heard from many skeptics that this trend is simply an attempt by clothing companies to appeal to those of us who are sick of the effect that the media has on women of all ages. However, I don't see why that's such a bad thing. If supporting these companies in turn supports a better portrayal of women in the media, I'm willing to do so. I'm willing to shop at these stores that have banned the use of photoshop in their advertisements, or who use different sized models or mannequins if it leads to the adaptation of these same marketing tactics by other stores.

This is not my list of companies I refuse to shop from (though I'm more than willing to offer that up so long as it promotes more socially aware and feminist brands), as I'd rather not focus on the negative in this issue. Instead, here are a couple clothing stores with great advertising that I'd like to see rewarded for their good message:

Aerie by American Eagle:
Sweats ➸➸➸➸➸➸ Sweater ➸➸➸➸➸➸ Shirt

Debenhams US:
Skirt ➸➸➸➸➸➸ Swimsuit ➸➸➸➸➸➸ Jumpsuit

Shirt ➸➸➸➸➸➸ Training shoes ➸➸➸➸➸➸ Bra

Dress ➸➸➸➸➸➸ Shorts ➸➸➸➸➸➸ Boots

We undoubtedly have a long way to go until the women portrayed in the media reflect the women in today's society, but until then, I'm going to try my hardest to support anything which takes us even just a step closer.