Photo Credit: H&M
A demand for more "real women" in the media is usually one of my biggest pet peeves. Yes we need more body diversity in our ad campaigns, TV shows, and fashion spreads — but when women say, "I don't want to see skinny models, I want to see real women," it implies that anyone who gets paid to pose for a living is somehow not an actual human being. And that's the kind of demeaning reverse discrimination that we just don't need.
Well, today I stand corrected because it turns out that sometimes models really aren't actual human beings.
Jezebel broke the story in English via Swedish newspaper Aftonbladet: The models in H&M's new holiday lingerie campaign are entirely computer-generated. The company designed an ideal model's body from the neck down, then pasted on photos of real (as in once human, though heavily Photoshopped) models' heads and the underwear collection.
H&M says that the tactic isn't supposed to make you feel bad about your living, breathing body or bemoan its lack of digitally created body parts -- it's just supposed to show off the clothes to their best advantage without you getting all distracted by looking at an actual person. Their preference for cyborg models is also equal opportunity -- they use them in men's campaigns and they went to the trouble to make one of their lingerie 'bots black!
The idea is so brilliant, I almost can't even be mad about it. Here we get all worked up about whether girls can spot the Photoshop and understand that the images in ad campaigns are not to be aspired to because they do not represent reality. Then, H&M decides to just make an ad campaign without using any elements of reality at all. Spot the Photoshop? The whole thing is Photoshop! There was never an original flawed version to be cleaned up -- these models don't even exist. Gah!
Of course, I am annoyed because it's not like H&M bothers to label the digital models with an "almost no humans were harmed in the making of this photo" disclaimer. And when you're stuffed into one of H&M's tiny, overheated dressing rooms with armfuls of their cute but awkwardly cut clothing, trying to figure out why you're a size 12 in one dress but a size 4 in another...it can be hard to remember that they never considered how a human body of any size would fit into their real clothes in the first place. That's why we end up feeling like dog poo and they had to resort to an army of creepy cyborg models.
So my suggestion to H&M is this: Instead of making a model that fits your underwear, why not get some one to design some underwear that actually fits human bodies instead!