Do you remember the game we would play in school called tug of war? Where there were two teams, a rope and often mud in the middle? - when i played this game in school we had a field of grass that was our downfall, which ever team fell first would determine the course of the win.
Well with this childhood game in mind, I feel as though we have come to a court of tension in society today and instead of a rope we battle with it all falls on the subject of diversity, and the individuals are topics or cultural extensions of different facets. We have the lack of representation, the age gap, the size issue, the gender acceptance. Whilst all these are issues existing today, I find it difficult in a time of “resistance” ( referencing the #metoo and #timesup movement ) that the above topics still haven’t been resolved to a greater level.
In particular im talking about influencers and their responsibility in changing the current format, for the longest time we have argued on the fact that representation and fairness of visibility has lacked on a mainstream level. Granted we support influencers because they don’t bullshit us the way bigger brands and publications did, we felt detached but i feel this support for influencers has somehow morphed into the mainstream understanding.
I recently watched a vlog where Aimee Song sat down with Shiona Turini and Nicole Chapoteau and the topic of her lack of awareness regarding brands and representation was brought to her attention. The incident she referred to was a recent trip she was attending with Revolve that took an Instagram picture of a group of women who namely were white. Whilst a huge fan of Aimee Song and her influence to opening the space to accepting other raises, more influencers need to create a space for brands to be aware that it takes more than one Korean influencer to attend an influencer trip or one black female to take the cover of a magazine. ( you’ll be pleased to know the backlash was a supportive movement set by @Diet_Prada ( Valerie Eguavoen) that produced a platform (@youbelongnow) celebrating other influencers who are women of colour suggesting there is a space for us all).
I then looked into press trips like Benefit’s trip to the Maldives and where representation was thought of it wasn’t inclusive to all - Grace Victory made an extremely valid point about brands only wanting to represent a certain type of woman and leaving out others and whilst women of colour were in the Maldives, it didn’t showcase the bigger problem of what brands are saying they are fighting to represent.
We understand the numbers game, the need to make a living and the need to sell but I don’t want credible influencers loosing their touch - to speak up on issues like representation with brands ( Aimee rectified the issue and sees her need to make everyone especially with brands and her influence aware) and to push the voices for women and men out there that cant necessarily say so.
For brands it the case of press trips or inclusivity running through its veins! If you invite different tones and types of women then make that be your message, make that run through your DNA and whatever press trip, paid advert or campaign you choose to run that it involves everyone or reaches to everyone - I still fail to understand the ignorance or arrogance around acceptance it is clear their is serious monetary gains by involving everyone, you see the crippling sales in H&M’s profits at the moment due to their ill-considered jumper or the fact that films like Black Panther has extremely celebratory sales in celebrating black excellence. Money exists in representation and brands need to acknowledge it and push it through their DNA if their claiming it and influencers need to use their influence as a way to push awareness to brands on behalf of the people that follow them, that can even go for white influencers who I find can often bury their head in the sand when the topic arises.
*This isn’t to target the brands and influencers that are truly representing diversity*