As Emma and I were sitting here watching the season finale of Survivor tonight, a commercial came on TV for a plus size women's clothing store. I've seen it a million times before. The women are beautiful, plus sized, posing in front of a peach coloured screen out in some park type location. I'm not quite sure what the point is of the random peach coloured screen just hanging out there in the middle of the park....but that's beside the point.
Emma turned to me and asked me why all of the models were bigger than the usual models she has seen on TV commercials. She didn't know that it was a commercial for a plus size closing store...but she did notice that the models were a bit larger than the typical women parading around on TV flipping their hair about as a breeze blows their clothing ever so gently.....why must there always be a breeze anyway? I haven't quite grasped the advertising advantage of that one. Anyway, I told her that these women on this particular commercial were modelling clothing from a plus size store. She seemed to accept that fact, pausing for a moment...and then asked me, "well why don't they have some of those women model clothes on TV for other things too or for other stores that have ALL sizes?"
It was a valid question. There are very few REAL looking women represented on TV. Usually there are scantily clad, extremely thin, pouty lipped women plastered all over the screen. The fact that this particular commercial warranted a comment from my daughter shows me that it is noticeable even to her.
Sometimes I wonder how much the world would change...if at all...actually if real women were represented more in advertising. Sometimes I wonder if girls like my daughter grew up with the plus size, thin, and somewhere in the middle model types represented equally....if it would change their perception of what is pretty. Sometimes I wonder if there was a better mix of body types out there on TV commercials, magazine covers, or billboards....would it help their self esteem? Would they see that all of these women are just as beautiful even though they are physically different? Or would it still be the same way it's always been? Is our perception of what is pretty or beautiful or worthy of being a model representation something that is ingrained in us from a young age?
.....and then Emma asked me, "Mommy, how come you never see models with insulin pumps on TV?"
I know some of you are probably thinking...well who cares? Why are you concerned with models and why are you making it seem like your kid is basing her self image on models on TV? Well, I just want to clarify....I make a conscious effort to build my daughter up...make her realize her own beauty...make her see that TRUE beauty comes from within. I've had many discussions with her about how a person can be physically appealing on the outside...but if they are mean or rude on the inside...it makes them less pretty...less appealing...less beautiful on the outside. I think she understands that and takes it to heart.
However, she is a young girl....growing up in a world dominated by media overload. I sometimes feel like I am fighting a losing battle. I will always reinforce to her what an honest and true beauty is. I can't help but think that it would make my job as her Mom a little bit easier though if things were different.
...."Mommy, I think it would be cool to spot a pump tube coming out from one of those models pockets."
I have to agree...I think it would be pretty cool too.