This is not a sponsored post though it was inspired by a recent hosted trip
This past week I had the privilege of being invited to a conference in Ohio for a brand called Cacique (pronounced Cah-seek). I wasn’t very familiar with the brand but I’d seen it in its sister store when I went into Lane Bryant (typically shopping with friends or buying a gift). Lane Bryant is a plus sized clothing store for those not familiar. I would see the pretty intimate wear but never spent much time thinking about it, as they didn’t carry my size.
When they reached out and asked me to attend a brand event I took a second look. I was pleasantly surprised to see that they now carried sizes 0-28 and cup sizes A-K. I couldn’t wait to learn more.
Walking into their headquarters I was so excited to see the beautiful women of all shapes, shades, and ages staring back at me. This is what body positivity looks like I thought to myself. We often see that hashtag attached to a particular body shape. An effort to say me too. I matter as well. But, the reality is everybody should be using that hashtag. No one group owns body positivity. If you have a body celebrate it positively!
Growing up there weren’t very many other girls who looked like me living on my Air Force base in Northern California. There were some, but we were definitely in the minority. I didn’t grow up in a community where I saw myself reflected everywhere I went. For me this was a double edged sword- on one hand my differences became normal so I don’t typically feel out of place no matter where I am. I learned to be comfortable in my skin. But I also know that part of what helped me feel that way was seeing myself represented in media and marketing.
I was fortunate to grow up in an era where Oprah Winfrey looked back at me from the television every day and Naomi Campbell glared at me from magazine covers. I saw Ola Ray play the love interest in what’s still arguably the greatest music video ever, and Diana Ross winked at me from a huge glass (yes, glass-it was the 80’s you guys) photo that hung in our den. I was able to see the beauty that looked like me pretty much every day.
I thank goodness for that beauty bubble I came of age in, but I don’t think as a society we’ve been consistent with our beauty messages. We’ve had periods of time where differences were celebrated or In Vogue but they were always short lived.
Many companies are starting to embrace and push back on the one size fits all body, color and age standard that we’ve allowed to permeate our culture in a way that I haven’t seen before. I’d dare say, that it’s important to champion this whether you fit into the standard mold or not because more opportunities to create images that all little girls can see themselves in means we’ll have more confident women in our communities.
And if we’re being honest, this isn’t just about our girls. I believe the reason that influencers are taking over the marketing world is that people want to see themselves. We want to feel represented. Whether you’re 14 or 74 you want to see images that reflect the stage of life you’re in. I know I am always looking for inspiration and it feels so much better when I can relate- be it to a woman’s personality, shade, shape or age. We are all just looking to feel a part of something bigger, but similar to ourselves.
I’m excited about this shift and I am going to continue to champion it because…inclusivity matters! I want to see more tables where all people are welcomed and represented. Where “you CAN sit with us” is the norm.
And, If you’re looking for beauty inspiration on the gram or anywhere else make sure that some of the women you follow speak to you. Whether it’s their sunny disposition, their dry sense of humor, their body shape, shade or age make sure you see a little bit of you in them too!
I’d love to hear what you think about beauty inclusivity.
Until Next Post!
xo, Tonya Parker