The fashion industries have been criticised primarily for excluding three groups of individuals from Black, Asian, and Minority Ethnic (BAME) backgrounds, older women and individuals with disabilities. Research has found that in eight fashion magazines studied in December 2007, more than three-quarters of the images were of White females, a figure which does not reflect the population of Black, Asian, and Latina in the US population. Similarly, a content analysis of adverts appearing in five beauty/fashion magazines and five fitness/health magazines in June 2007, showed that 91.28% of the female models depicted in both magazine types were Caucasian. The lack of representation of ethnic minorities is not restricted to magazines. Fashion brands such as Prada have been portrayed as racist for their lack of diversity in their models.
The second group that tends to be excluded from fashion and the media involves older women. Very few images in fashion magazines are of older women, although a significant portion of the readers of these magazines are aged over 35. In addition, older women are underrepresented in major roles in UK prime-time TV advertising, even in adverts for fashion, clothing, and cosmetics. Although research has found that women over the age of 60 want to “look good,” not good for their age, young or younger, older women experience similar levels of body dissatisfaction to younger women and that societal influences predict body dissatisfaction in these women. Perceptions of the ageing body as unattractive and undesirable may also be related to increasing endorsement of body alteration through surgical and non-surgical interventions in middle-aged and elderly women.
The third group of individuals that are excluded from the fashion industries are those with disabilities. The Office for Disability Issues at the Department for Work and Pensions (2014) reports that there are 11.6 million disabled people in the UK (5.7 million adults of working age, 5.1 million over pension age, and 0.8 million children). Despite this potentially influential demographic, individuals with disabilities are typically ignored as fashion consumers and in fashion advertising. The Diesel spring/summer 2014 advertising campaign featuring Jillian Mercado, a wheelchair-using fashion editor and blogger, is a rare exception.
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