H&M’s newest campaign for their fall collection was just released, and it’s less than traditional. If you haven’t seen it check it out here.
We’ve come to recognize fashion campaigns as always being the same: stick thin girls in fabulous clothing telling us exactly what we “should” look like. H&M’s campaign completely changes what we thought we knew about fashion advertising, and that’s fantastic.
Many people were upset when they saw the new ad campaign. In contemporary fourth wave feminism, which has been focusing on the intersectionality of women, many women are pushing back against the traditional tide of skimpy clothes on thin white women that we are bombarded with daily. So why fight the advertisement that seems to support women in all of their forms? H&M is taking feminism and commodifying it, selling it to the same women who are tired of seeing models that they could never look like. H&M has a target audience, and is using contemporary feminism to sell their products.
I have to argue that this is a good thing. The campaign shows women of different races, different sizes, with natural hair and dyed hair, shaved heads, big boobs and small. Yes, this variety of women is a smart marketing ploy for H&M because connects with more women. The representation has caused the campaign to be widely shared and connected with by a variety of women. It’s also important in the fight to increase the representation of women.
We could be mad at H&M for appropriating feminism in order to sell their products, or we could appreciate the fact that feminism is becoming important enough that companies are recognizing the need to represent a variety of women. Most advertisements continue to stick to traditional means of selling, and in a world comprised of advertising, this is harmful for girls and women who are surrounded by these images. H&M’s ad shouldn’t surprise us because we’re more likely to see these people on the streets than traditional models. These are people we feel we know, yet seeing them in an advertisement is shocking because we’re used to traditional models. That shouldn’t be the norm.
I look forward to the day that representation on television and in advertising is representative of all groups of people. In order to have this we need to accept the first steps. Whether H&M’s intentions were good or bad, it’s important to see these women and know that there are more types of women in the world then Victoria’s Secret models.