Social media is often criticised for the damage it can do our mental well-being, especially with regards to depression and feelings of inadequacy in teenagers and adults alike increasing. But what about the positive impact that social can bring to our lives, where we truly feel that social is a power for good that unites us and allows our voices to be heard?
It started with an image
Last week we saw a huge rise from the body positive movement lashing out against the cruel tirade that was Tanya Gold’s article in the Telegraph. In the piece, titled “Obese mannequins are selling women a dangerous lie,” Gold rails against Nike for the inclusion of plus-size mannequins in their flagship London store. She goes on to fat-shame women wanting to get access to activewear that fits them. The article was nothing more than a cheap clickbait attempt and it’s in several articles that she is heavily contradicting herself by calling for people to lose weight while also criticizing a sportswear brand for advertising to plus-size people.
Speed of social
The reaction on social media in real time was nothing less than astonishing. Even if you’re not a devoted follower of all things social, you couldn’t help but notice the rise of voices in a triumphant wave against Gold’s tyrannical approach to critiquing women of a larger size.
An onslaught of influencers rallied against Gold’s article. Jameela Jamil – a trailblazer in the support of equality and positive representation of all shapes, sizes and genders called out the Telegraph to apologise to everyone for using their platform for bigotry and hatred. Jada Sezer, a plus size model posted an image of herself next to the mannequin in question and encouraged more brands to follow suit and to step out of their limited marketing approach.
Someone is always watching…
From retail to social media, the conversation was immediate. Brands can no longer assume the world isn’t watching when it comes to thought-provoking and controversial conversations that have the power to divide or unite us. Whether Nike were pleased with this lightning fast response on social (very likely given the equivalent advertising value), or not, we are living in a world of blurred lines when it comes to messaging, product marketing and audiences. And if someone makes a rallying cry, with the relevant hashtags and influencers jumping on board, the groundswell can be both immediate and impactful.