First off (and I've said this before), but I am so stoked and honoured to have been part of Juice Because's #gotmylk campaign for so many reasons. I have always been a huge fan of this local juice company, what they stand for, and how they've executed their shit - literally a couple of bawse babes killin' their game. The amount of milk bottles I've hoarded from consuming their juice probably says a lot about my obsession (their charcoal lemonade JUDY is the best on the market, and has gotten me out of some sticky situations *ahem teaching hungover af). Also, the premise of this campaign is iconic. Who didn't grow up wanting their own milk moustache? A lot of the celebrities I idolized at the time all had their very own milk moustache, and I used to be fanatical about buying magazines just to collect the print ads. Seems so crazy this day and age.
A couple of nights ago, I listened to the IG stories of a fitness influencer I religiously follow about the body positivity movement, and how there's a lot of controversy right now about representing the ENTIRE spectrum of diversity, specifically in women. I thought back to the time I idolized celebrities in "got milk?" ads, and recognized I never really had anyone in mass media I could relate to, except the odd token Asian, who often at that time was super nerdy and definitely not Filipino. This is probably why I favoured my Hawaiian Barbie so much - not only because my love for Hawaii started before I knew it, but she kinda sorta looked like me. This idea of diversity in race being underrepresented is not a new one. But as of late, this idea of representing diversity in female body types in the media has been an ongoing topic.
Since the release of the iconic Dove ad, the door was opened to feature many women of all shapes, sizes, colours, creeds in mass media. "Love yourself, just the way you are" is often the message given and one I also preach. But it was brought up that right now if you're not on either end of the body spectrum (slim + chiseled fit or plus size + curvy) then often you're not represented in the imagery we commonly see. My first thought? Marketers will never catch a break. There is no way to fully capture everyone, I totally get it. Imagery in the media has come along way since I was young flipping through magazines, but we still do have the opportunity to change the rhetoric around it all. Wouldn't it be nice if we got to a point where a woman is a woman in an ad and not just fulfilling a certain size and demographic quota? Reality is we still see colour, and size, and shape, and even orientation. Woof.
I then reflected on where I'm at in my journey... my best friend put it so well: I'm training for life. I mean, I get my workouts in for the most part, I'm attempting to eat more plant based but can't quite cut the chocolate and cheese, and don't get me started on my love affair with a good Old Fashioned. I mean, aren't we all trying to make better choices while still trying to live life? No, I'm definitely not the size 0-2 I once was, nor do I have the defined muscles I once did. I'm not skinny, nor am I considered large. And yep last time I checked I'm still standing tall at a mere 5'3" on a good day. I can see why marketing someone like me, to me, would not be considered aspirational because it can come across as kinda average. I'm ok with that, it's working for me. Would it be rad if a little Karleen out there saw what I was up to, and thought it was pretty cool? Absolutely. Is that a reality? Maybe, maybe not.
Where I have a tough time is what I consider normal vs. aspirational is most likely different from your idea. I willingly choose to fill my feed with things I find inspirational, people who I believe are up to cool things, or stand for ideas I can relate to. I have made a conscious effort to weed out things that have negative affect on me or on the way I think. So, I think this debate goes both ways. Those responsible for projecting imagery in the media have the duty of being inclusive, positive, and inspirational for all races, shapes, orientations (And damn well better add in a darker, shortish, Filipino gal where they can lol). But I also challenge that media doesn't entirely happen TO us. With so many outlets to receive images and ideas, we need to recognize that we are willing participants in the game too. Much like you choose to surround yourself with certain people, surround yourself with brands, companies, and accounts that put out things that excite you and align with what you believe in or that you think are straight up dope. Straight up.