By: Kate Krassowski, Regular Contributor
“To free us from the expectations of others, to give us back to ourselves- there lies the great, the singular power of self-respect.” –Joan Didion
My whole life I’ve purchased women’s magazines, watched countless commercials during whatever my favorite show was that week, and have viewed endless You Tube videos with advertisements at the beginning. I don’t recognize 80% of the women that are selling me products off of all those ads. I’m not connected to who they are or what they’ve done.
The girls, myself included, who look up to these models are looking up to them because they are beautiful. What do these women do for others, what are they passionate about, and what makes life worth living for them? That’s what I want to know about a role model. I don’t think I’m okay with continuing the trend of teaching our future generations that outward appearances are what make a role model.
I don’t choose my friends based on their outward appearance; why would I choose a pair of jeans because their model was thin and beautiful? I fall in love with my friends because of who they are and how they treat others. I am attracted to their heart and to the kindness in their soul.
To all the ad agencies out there, take note, we would rather see strong women who are changing the world up on a billboard. Because honestly, all I know about the Carl’s Jr. model is that she doesn’t eat Carl’s Jr.
For Celine’s spring campaign, they inspired this change and are making a statement. Celine used Joan Didion as their model and I couldn’t be happier to support such a company and such a woman. You have my attention for your product much quicker if I look up to the woman who’s modeling for you. If I can relate to her. If I can respect her. If I can aspire to be her.
At first glance it catches you off guard because we aren’t trained to be okay with seeing such an ad. Joan Didion is a famous writer who overcame her shyness in her earlier years, and she found her bravery in the midst of grief. She is strong, beautiful, and inspiring. There is nothing sexier or more admirable than a woman who is hard working and has a vulnerable heart.
An observation I made about my own reaction to this ad is that my first thought wasn’t, ‘I wish I looked like her’. I wasn’t immediately thinking negatively about my own body. Instead, I thought, ‘I wish I could BE like her’. Those are two very different statements. I was motivated to be a better person, but to still be my own person. I didn’t value a body type over a beautiful soul.
My hope is that this becomes the norm; that we no longer put such an emphasis on being the right size and looking a certain way. I’m excited for what our future holds as women. I’m ready to replace thoughts of insecurity and doubt with confidence and endless possibility.
Who would inspire you to become a better person in advertising or media? Do you always prefer brands who use more "real" or accomplished women as models?
She moved to Los Angeles from Cleveland, OH after graduating with a B.A in Film Production from BGSU. She is passionate about speaking out against how women are viewed in the media and being part of changing it.