Runway Riot Interview on health, wellness, and advertising....
This article was originally published on Runway Riot, read it here
Bo Stanley Isn’t Here for the Advertising BS
In short, Bo Stanley is amazing. She’s a surfer, model, activist, and former Bachelor contestant. You know that’s a great IG bio.
She makes overachievers feel like slackers and can warm up a room with her smile at the same time. Talent, girl. That’s what we call talent. So, we couldn’t help ourselves when given the opportunity to get her take a few things that are constantly plaguing women and society at large. She’s a killer role model with the self-love, but she’s also not afraid to call it when she sees it, especially when it comes to advertising.
“Some advertisers use ‘plus’ models once a year to show to consumers that they are up with the times and support size diversity – essentially to have good public relations and to earn new sales. Then, they won’t use diversity the rest of the year,” said Stanley. Preaching to the choir. We HATE that. Really, how do you expect us to buy into a brand that shows one woman who isn’t a size 2 and one who isn’t white once a year? Reality is, you shouldn’t. So what do we look for instead?
“When I see diversity consistently within all of a company’s ads, then I will know that company is promoting diversity for the right reasons – to create change and to honor beauty at any size. I think there are companies (hopefully a growing number) out there whose corporate values really do promote being change agents in the world while also being successful companies. These companies are integral players in the collective movement of corporate social responsibility,” said Stanley. Accurate. La mas accurate. We’ve said it before, you have so much power as a consumer – support the brands that support diversity.
But it’s not all bad, especially considering she’s a ray of sunshine. People aspire to that attitude, but also her physique. She is an athlete, so we get that. Her take on it?
“I am always flattered, of course, but I also want to encourage women to make themselves their own ‘body goals.’ By focusing on being the best version of just themselves and no one else. We all look different at our healthy weight, and that is a beautiful thing! I think that using women as influencers who provide a healthy and balanced message and representation can help create more of a wellness model.”
There’s that word again, wellness. We love it. We’ve heard it from ladies like Claire Fountain, Jessamyn Stanley, and now Bo. You know why we love it? Because it forces people to break down their own stereotypes. We have a mental shortcut for when someone says that a person is “fit.” But there are “fit” people who aren’t necessarily well, and wellness is hella important. Even if the industry is trying to sell you something different.
“I think there is a business in looking fit. And, with wellness – true wellness – it’s less about appearance than wholeness, health, and wellbeing. And, I believe, when people are of sound body, mind, and soul in this way, they actually become less exploitable to advertisers. They learn to find validation and happiness within themselves,” said Stanley. So, what do we do to get there?
“We focus on the markers of real health. We promote healthy eating and physical activity. We talk about risk factors. We teach nutrition. And, we show that beauty comes in all shapes, sizes, and colors. We represent beauty as the amazing technicolor dream quilt that it is.”
See why we love her? It’s easy. What isn’t easy is trying to figure out how to fix the mess that we’re all in. Publications like ours work to mend the brokenness that has been caused by years of stereotyping and shaming, but women like Bo make our jobs easier. “I think education is key. I think in order to start to breakdown the pervasive and systemic ideas and practices that keep women objectified, we need to educate girls AND boys of the dehumanizing effects of such a culture,” said Stanley.
We’re proud to be standing next to you in solidarity, Bo. Keep educating, and we will too.