Tag Archives: disabilities

Awesome New Diesel Ads Feature Model In Wheelchair

Diesel Ad Features Fashion Blogger In Wheelchair

See that gorgeous lady starring in one of the new spring/summer Diesel ads? That’s a New York fashion blogger named Jillian Mercado. She’s been a fixture in the fashion industry for years, graduating from the Fashion Institute of Technology, working at magazines like Allure, and never letting her muscular dystrophy — or the wheelchair it requires her to use — slow her down. When Diesel artistic director Nicola Formichetti was casting for the brand’s new campaign, which is focused on community and connection, Mercado’s bold style and attitude was a perfect fit, and the response to her ads has been great. “You don’t have to be a conventional model type to represent a brand,” Formichetti told Women’s Wear Daily. I love that companies are finally, finally starting to get this. [Jezebel]

Watch This: Mannequins Modeled After People With Disabilities Challenge Fashion Industry’s Definition of “The Perfect Body”

Mannequins Modeled After People With Disabilities
"It is special to see yourself like this."

The traditional body shape of store mannequins is so restrictive and unchanging that a Swedish store’s decision to display a curvy mannequin was enough to cause an uproar. It’s rare enough for people with “average” bodies to see themselves represented in the fashion industry, but for people with disabilities, the chances of seeing a body that looks like theirs when they walk past a department store window hover somewhere around zero. To increase visibility and confront these exclusionary body standards, an advocacy group called Pro Infirmis hired an artist to create mannequins based on the exact measurements of people with physical disabilities, which were then displayed in a Zurich store window. The results were captured in this beautiful four-minute video. Here’s hoping the fashion industry takes the message to heart, because diversity — in any form — is always a good thing. [Huffington Post]

Pittsburgh Mom Creates Dolls For Children With Down Syndrome

Down Syndrome Child Model
Ryan Down syndrome model photo
Meet Ryan, a 6-year-old model with Down syndrome. Read More »
Mommie Dearest...
The year in motherhood headlines. Read More »
Remixed Toy Ads
Remixed toy ads tell the truth about gendered marketing. Read More »

Connie Feda wanted to create an educational, engaging, and relatable doll for her 13-year-old daughter Hannah, who has Down syndrome. With the goal of capturing “the beauty, vivaciousness and spunk of kids with Down Syndrome,” Connie created Ellie, a doll with Hannah’s almond-shaped eyes and button nose. She soon realized that other kids could benefit from a doll that looked more like them, so she created Dolls For Downs, a new line of dolls for children with Down syndrome. Keep reading »

Finding Freedom: Artist Explores The Ocean In Underwater Wheelchair

Photoshopped Venus
Check out Venus without her curves. Read More »
Breathtaking.

Sue Austin is a performance and installation artist based in the UK. She has been wheelchair-bound since 1996, and dedicated her artistic work to “finding ways to understand and represent my embodied experience as a wheelchair user.” Most recently this goal has led her to team with scientists and diving experts to create a self-propelled underwater wheelchair. Using fins and a propeller, Austin is able to steer the machine with her feet and navigate a beautiful underwater world that was previously off-limits. Seeing her move through the water with ease and grace is both unexpected and powerful. Check out the video to see for yourself. [YouTube via Smithsonian]

Meet Aimee Mullins: Athlete, Model, Actress, Muse, Double Amputee

If you’ve not previously encountered Aimee Mullins, she’s a pretty extraordinary woman. Born without fibulae, she had her legs amputated below the knee as a toddler. She went on to become a track and field star, a model and muse for designer Alexander McQueen, and performed in artist Matthew Barney’s “Cremaster 3″ movie. In a recent interview, she discusses McQueen’s death, how she “uses her birth-given disability to make others see what is possible when they rethink their notions of beauty and opportunity,” and what makes her a lucky girl. [Of the Minute] Keep reading »

One-Legged Stripper Can Work The Pole Better Than You

I don’t watch “Maury,” so I missed this remarkable video when it aired, but if you can work the pole better than Lil’ Mama, aka Amber, who likely has one less leg than you, seeing as she only has one, and you probably have two, I’d like to see it. According to the accompanying story, Amber was on the show to meet up with an old flame, her high school sweetheart, and she wanted to show him how she could work it, work it as a dancer. I don’t know how that romantic reunion panned out, but TV Squad reports, “she didn’t let her prosthetic leg get in the way of her hot body action.” You go, girl! [TV Squad] Keep reading »

Athlete Kyle Maynard Is A Congenital Amputee, Also Hot

If you watched HBO’s most recent episode of “Real Sports with Bryant Gumbel,” you met Kyle Maynard, 24, an athlete and congenital amputee born without forearms and lower legs. It’s a pretty amazing story. The show first profiled Maynard several years ago when he arose to national prominence as a college wrestler with a 35-16 record — no easy feat when you’ve got 50-percent less in the limbs department than your every competitor. Since then, he’s written a best-selling book about his life, opened a gym, became a motivational speaker, and started competing in mixed martial arts cage matches. Next, he plans on climbing Mt. Everest. On top of all that, he’s a hottie. Check him out on “Larry King Live” after the jump. Keep reading »

American Able Photo Series Spoofs Hypersexual American Apparel Ads Using A Disabled Model

Photographer Holly Norris says on her website, “Rarely, if ever, are women with disabilities portrayed in anything other than an asexual manner, for ‘disabled’ bodies are largely perceived as ‘undesirable.’” To combat that perception, Norris has chosen to spoof the highly identifiable American Apparel ads, which the company claims feature “real women,” though only real women who fit a very specific look — young, thin, and uber-sexual. In her series “American Able,” Norris has photographed Jes, a disabled woman, in American Apparel clothes and in the style of AA ads, in order to “reveal the ways in which women with disabilities are invisibilized in advertising and mass media.” Norris’ photographs are beautiful and I love the positive and forward-thinking mission of the work, which doesn’t just criticize mass market thinking but also presents an alternative. As for Jes? Her photographs have more personality than all the AA ads I’ve ever seen put together. Take that, Dov Charney.

Check out a few more photos after the jump and then check out the entire series on Norris’ website. [Holly Norris] Keep reading »

The Strength Of A Mother’s Love

A Chinese mother has carried her son on her back for 35 years in order to give him a more enriched life. Xiong Mingqiang was born with a deformity that has caused his head to grow disproportionately large for his 80-centimeters-tall (31.5 inches) body, making him unable to stand. His mother chose to carry him in a bamboo basket, so he says he’s more familiar with the back of her shoulders than her face. For decades, Wen Qizhen hauled him up stairs and slopes with her hands on her knees for more strength and her body bent forward for balance. She’s transported her son to village fairs and other events and taken him to visit friends and relatives in order to widen his view of the world. “Because I’m dying to see what’s there outside. If I had sealed myself up in home without learning, I would even be mentally disabled,” said Xiong to China Daily. But Wen, who says she was advised by neighbors to abandon Xiong for his sake and hers, says any mother would have done the same thing. [China Daily via Impact Lab] Keep reading »

Next On The List Of Exploitative Reality TV … Disabled Models?

Do we really need yet another modeling reality TV show clogging the airwaves? I was seriously disturbed when I heard about BBC America’s new reality TV series, “Britain’s Missing Top Model.” The show gives disabled models a chance to compete for a spread in Marie Claire UK. The premise of the show seems cruel and unusual to the core—to boost the acceptance of disabled women in an industry that is based solely on physical perfection. Can you say “pleading for rejection and humiliation”? This merciless irony plays out in the show over and over again. A photographer says of contestant Rebecca, a 27-year-old with a prosthetic leg, “Rebecca’s disability didn’t cause me any problems. It was just the fact she’s not really in shape.” So, aside from learning to model with a prosthetic leg, Rebecca must also be crazy thin? And it gets worse. In a scene where a contestant with a stump models lacy lingerie in a store window, a young man comments, “She’s beautiful, so she’s got nothing to hide.” But a middle-aged woman adds, “But if it’s to sell something like lingerie I think people are going to be troubled.” Keep reading »

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