Time and time again, we hear the same old diatribes about size 0 models modelling clothing in advertisements, as opposed to using larger models who represent what women “actually” look like.
Here are a bunch of reasons why that is wrong:
The goal of advertising is not to try to realistically create everyday life, but to sell people things. That’s all advertising is—an effort to sell people things. Complaining that advertisements do not depict what “normal women” look like is like walking out of Quentin Tarantino’s “Inglourious Basterds” and complaining that you do not have a better understand of how WWII went down. That wasn’t its goal—“Inglourious Basterds” is not a documentary, and a fashion ad isn’t portrait photography.
Given the two advertisements below, whose style would you prefer to emulate?
My guess is that you said the one on the top (Cara Delevingne). She simply looks better in the clothes—that is a fact. Plus sized model, Tara Lynn, is even quoted, saying that “It is hard to make clothes look great on big women.” Clothes drape nicely on tall, slender models. And if your goal (as an advertiser) is to showcase the clothing, you want to choose a tall, slender body to drape the clothes on. After all, designers put an immeasurable amount of time and money into their clothing lines, and, as artists, they deserve the opportunity to showcase their clothing in the best possible way in order to make sales. That is not to say that everyone needs to look like Cara Delevingne; first of all that is not even possible. She is a goddess. But there is value in knowing your body and being able to dress it. Therefore, it is important to be able to separate the models in the ads from your image of women in real life; they should be looked at as models—living mannequins on which to showcase clothing, and nothing more.
The Onion recently released this article, entitled, “10 Photos of Plus-Size Models We Deserve a Pat on the Back for Running”:
Obviously, the article was written to satirize the nature of ad campaigns featuring plus sized models as an attack on the advertisements featuring slender models with the “ideal” body for fashion. Attacking those advertising campaigns is no different than attacking food advertisements for painting their food (in case you didn’t realize, none of the food that is photographed is actually edible by the time they’re through with it). However, people realize that the food is made to look nice in order to sell a cheeseburger, or a plate of ribs, not to recreate what that food looks like in real life.
Adams, R. (2013, Nov 11). Tara lynn, plus-size model: ‘it is hard to make clothes look great on big women’. Retrieved from http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2013/11/11/tara-lynn-plus-size-model_n_4254126.html
The Onion. (2013, Nov 26). 10 photos of plus-size models we deserve a pat on the back for running. Retrieved from http://www.theonion.com/articles/10-photos-of-plussize-models-we-deserve-a-pat-on-t,34700/?ref=auto