How Does Panache’s ‘Modeled By Role Models’ Campaign Fare Against All The Others?

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At this point you’re probably fed up of some big brand trying to force feed you a message about body image an empowerment, right? It seems society is a little fatigued of its “femvertizing” fever, largely thanks to one or two brands which have steered the positive messages way off course.

Victoria’s Secret’s ‘Perfect Body’ blunder, Dove’s ‘Choose Beautiful’, and even ‘Lane Bryant’s #ImNoAngel have made us think that perhaps the short-lived golden age of female representation in advertising is over.

It really really sucks, because Dove’s early messages with their ‘Real Beauty Sketches’ campaign and the way they infiltrated the market 10 years ago showing a diverse range of bodies in beauty advertising that hadn’t been commonplace was revolutionary and needed!

However there are certain brands that hit the nail on the head in the right tone: Under Armour’s campaign featuring Misty Copeland, and Always’ ‘Like A Girl‘, which got some major attention at the 2015 Super Bowl, have the right idea in the way they send their message.

For us, even though a brand is selling a product, if they want to appeal to the feminist side of women and customers, they have to go beyond just the physical. The message cannot be a sugar-coated dreamy narrative about how being beautiful on the outside is what you will achieve as long as you believe in yourself.

Beauty is from within and the more these brands start focusing on the multitude of aspects that inspire and empower women, the more authentic it will be.

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Take for instance lingerie brand Panache’s new campaign ‘Modeled by Role Models‘ featuring plus size model Marquita pring and a handful of women who are doing some badass things in the world.

It is promoting a line of underwear that is put on a physical body, yes, but the message goes much deeper than that.

In the campaign video below we see Marquita talk about her insecurities as a child, her love of basketball and why she is proud of her career achievements despite feeling like she wasn’t the “prettiest” at school.

She also mentions the modeling advocacy group she co-founded with other models, called Alda, which was created to teach young girls about beauty beyond size and help them feel confident about their bodies.

“I like to think there’s so much more to me than just the way I look,” she says in the video.

Exactly! And out of the 6 women featured in the campaign, Marquita is the only model.

“At Panache, we believe change in the world only happens through individuals leading, inspiring and influencing. We like to call those individuals ‘role models’. But did you know that despite the fact that 81% of women today agree role models raise aspirations, 75% of them think there are no aspirational female role models. We want to help change this by shining a light on some of the incredible achievements of women today,” says the website about the campaign.

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And we should be clear that Marquita is a role model too, not just a role model, because of her advocacy work.

Here are the other women featured:

Rachel Elliott – a nurse at the Royal London Hospital as well as a volunteer who worked in an Ebola treatment center in Sierra Leone.

Amy Hughes – a sports therapist from England who raises awareness about healthy, active lifestyles as well as raises money for the Isabelle Lottie Foundation. She recently broke the world record for running 53 marathons in 53 cities in 53 days around the United Kingdom.

Mica Paris – a singer from the United Kingdom who is an ambassador for the Amy Winehouse Foundation, and who also supports the “No Means No” campaign, which strengthens sexual assault prevention for women of all ages.

Hannah Cockroft – a British wheelchair racer who specializes in sprint distances in the T34 classification. She was appointed “Member of the Order of the British Empire” (MBE) for service to athletics and is the world record holder for T34 100M, 200M, 400M and 800M.

Martyna Kaczmarek – the founder of Poland’s “Day for Life Campaign,” which promotes blood, bone marrow and posthumous organ donation.

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“Each of these extraordinary women was chosen for their individual strengths, achievements and contributions to society as well as their healthy approach to body image. We want to celebrate both the beauty of women’s bodies as well as the wonder of their success, championing the next generation of female role models and hoping to inspire others.”

For us the effect is double fold: we are enlightened about a group of women in society who are changing the world around them while also seeing ordinary women portrayed as bastions of beauty, held on a pedestal normally reserved for size zero Caucasian able-bodied women only.

When brands want to empower or embrace diversity, they have to do it in a way that doesn’t pander. You can’t straddle both sides of the fence. Either stick to the narrow-minded way of advertising that seeks to portray some “fantasy” or be aspirational and use authenticity as the riving vehicle.

We’re definitely fans of this Panache campaign, and hope that dismal statistics about 75% of women not thinking there are enough role models in the world are changed by what they see.

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