Recently, Swedish fashion chain H&M admitted to using computer-generated models to showcase a range of collections on its website. The virtual models look completely human. Continue reading here.
We are well aware that H&M is an international corporation. However, H&M has branches in Lebanon and the Arab world, so we feel that it is our responsibility both as feminists and as a media monitor to highlight the issues we have with the fact that H&M are using perfect, digital, computerised women’s bodies to look like real human figures in order to advertise their products.
Now we understand the necessity of advertising, but we cannot understand picking one type of “perfect” body to go with every face and skin tone and erasing the possibility of variety; forgetting to acknowledge the existence of different body shapes and forms.
Women all over the world do not, and should not, have to deal with the fact that you find it too time-consuming to arrange a photo-shoot.
The mere fact that H&M is using digital women sends a message to real women that they are not good enough to be featured in your catalogues and on your billboards. Moreover, it emphasises the fact that no matter how “perfect” a woman may be according to the sick, unhealthy, and stereotypical beauty standards, she will never be good enough.
What H&M obviously can’t see (which is a big disappointment) is that this perfect and unachievable image being portrayed in your ads has a direct effect on women’s body image and self-confidence. This leads them into a vicious circle of always trying to look like those models without success, which often may lead to unhealthy lifestyles, and even physiological and psychological problems.
Big corporations have a direct effect on society. You should all start realising the damage you are causing with irresponsible advertising, and take responsible actions to empower your biggest market consumers – women – instead of psychologically and subconsciously bashing them and targeting their bodies with such a violent discourse.
H&M, you have to be smarter than simply saying that you want customers to concentrate on the products you are selling and not your models.
If that was the case, why feature human models instead of white plaster shapes wearing your products? That would definitely give your products the most attention.
Why are your human-looking computer generated models extremely skinny with a “perfect” shape, and are dressed in extra small sized outfits? There are slim women in the world, but slim is not the only body type in existence.
Besides, if it is so easy to create computer generated models that simply, why didn’t you take larger women into consideration? Why didn’t you create different models with different sizes?
To give the benefit of doubt, maybe the whole thing really did not have any vicious intentions; maybe it was out of carelessness, thoughtlessness, lack of planning?
I am not behind the scenes, and I am not part of H&M’s marketing department, so I definitely cannot know for certain, but the one thing that is crystal clear is that your advertisements are sending one message to women, something along the lines of: you need to look perfect, literally UNREAL, in order to be up to the standards of wearing our clothes.
This matter is truly not as simple as it may seem. The social influence is very dangerous, destructive and violent.
We seriously hope that H&M gets our message and changes their policies in order to empower women instead of kill them slowly.