One of our most favorite parts of doing what we do is celebrating the beautiful spirit of girlhood. And for us, that means meeting and interacting with girls from all over, with all kinds of backgrounds and interests, likes and loves, and hopes and dreams. All of this makes us so very proud to be a partner of Changing the Face of Beauty, an incredible non-profit that is committed to equal representation of people with disabilities in advertising and media.
This Spring, we had the pleasure of working with Ellie – one of our May models who stole our hearts away with her infectious smile and sweet spirit. After the photoshoot, Ellie’s mom, Miranda, reached out to us to share why inclusive advertising is so important to her family. We loved her letter so much, we just had to share it with you!
This week my daughter, Ellie, took part in a photoshoot for your upcoming line. I just wanted to thank you all for the commitment that Matilda Jane Clothing has shown to inclusive advertising, and let you know exactly why it means so much to our family.
I have seen it said that everyone should see themselves represented in the media. I suppose there is some merit in that, but that isn’t why it is important to me. You see, Ellie already knows who she is, and that won’t change whether or not she sees people like her in catalogues and TV commercials. The reason people like Ellie need to be included isn’t so they can see others who are like themselves, it is so that able-bodied people can see others who are NOT like themselves.
Let me explain … Have you seen the movie Wonder? If not, make it a point to see it. Wonder is about a boy with a craniofacial condition that causes him to look quite atypical, and he is starting school for the first time. Ellie and I saw the movie recently, and afterwards I asked her what she thought. Here was my 7-year-old child’s take on the movie—
“I get it, I know what it’s like. It’s hard on the first day of school when you’re covered in stares and everyone treats you awkward because they’ve never seen such a thing.”
They have never seen such a thing. And therein lies the crux of a big problem in our everyday lives. Ellie cannot go anywhere, be it the grocery store, the playground, or a restaurant, without seeing children pointing and muttering, and sometimes outright circling her to get a better view, or dragging a friend over to gawk at “the kid with no legs.” We hear children loudly ask their parents, “What happened to that girl’s feet? Why is she wearing those things?”
My hope is that one day most children will have encountered a child with limb differences in an ad at a very early age. They will ask their parents what that is all about, and the discussion and learning will take place at home. The next time they see it in an ad, they will say, “Look, there’s another one of those people …” and by the time they encounter my daughter in a store, the dialogue will be all internal. They will simply think to themselves “yeah, I know what that is all about” rather than saying to her “what is wrong with you?”
And it is companies like yours that are slowly making that a reality. It really does mean the world to families like ours that “typical” children have a chance to see that our children are just like them in all the ways that count. From your ad, kids will see that a girl with “robot legs” is still just a girl who likes to play and hang out with other kids. They will see that “different” is still “normal.”
We love this so much! Learn more about the wonderful work Changing the Face of Beauty does here: http://changingthefaceofbeauty.org.
And don’t miss your chance to join in on an upcoming day of fun as we help support our friends at Changing the Face of Beauty and Infantino! The Everybody Plays celebration is an event in June dedicated to the simple idea that no matter our difference, every child is united in play. Be sure to click here to learn more and submit your entry today for this fabulous event in southern California.