An image of gentleness, “class” and delicacy comes to mind when people think of the word “lady.” Clothing retailer H&M has destroyed the social construct in its Fall 2016 video campaign.
As one of H&M’s most inclusive campaigns to date, the video features lovely ladies of all sizes, colors, backgrounds and ages who are confident in themselves. From the young woman with unshaven armpits smiling boldly into the camera as she unbuttons her jeans to indulge in fries, to the older woman rolling her eyes at the machismo around her, the women in the ad are everything that women embody.
Women are told they have to look and act a certain way to be ladylike, a word that is more than a concept than a tangible thing. Everyone has a different definition of what a lady is , or can point to examples in their life of people they think are ladies.
Men and women push what they believe a lady should be on those around them and demean those who do not fit the ideal. With the video, H&M is arguing that people don’t have to mold to society’s definition of a “lady.”
A man does not have to lift 5,00 pounds to be considered a man, and a woman does not have to appear soft or keep her legs closed on the train to be a lady. Whether it was the “lady-spreading,” or slamming a binder down in a boardroom “alpha-male” style, it’s the actions of these women that make them ladies.
You can do whatever you want and still be a lady. Women don’t have to be appealing to men or fit a certain body type or be your definition of beautiful. H&M did a wonderful job of displaying the beauty of different body types, ethnicities and sexual preferences.
Usually, when companies are trying to be “diverse” it is apparent and seems forced, so they can sell their product. H&M’s video did not feel like it needed to fill a diversity quota but instead wanted to display the variety of women in the world.
No two ladies are the same, from style to personality, and it is the admiration of themselves that makes them beautiful and lady-like. If anything, the ad reinforced the importance of women supporting each other. Women need to build each other up, especially in a world that does its best to bring them down.
Much like the little girl staring in awe of Jillian Harvey’s gorgeous fro as she picked her teeth in a restaurant, women should look at each other in respect.
Grow out your armpit hair, cut all your hair off and admire your reflection; do whatever makes you feel like a lady.
You are a lady because you say you are.