For too long, there's been a 'one size fits all' approach to the people we see on TV, in film, in the media and in advertising campaigns. While there's still plenty of work to be done, it's clear that representation is increasingly broadening - and it's so important that it does. For a person to see someone they relate to in the public eye - be it in shape, size, skin colour, disability or anything else - sends a powerful message of inclusivity and belonging.
Over on Twitter, ASOS is being praised by customers after one woman shared her delight at seeing a model with a cochlear implant - a type of hearing device that turns sound into electrical signals - being used to show off earrings.
"Definitely not crying because of ASOS using an earring model with a hearing aid," wrote Twitter user Asia, before correcting herself that the model was in fact wearing a cochlear implant. This is worn similarly to a hearing aid, but is different because rather than simply making sounds louder, as a hearing aid would, the cochlear implant stimulates the auditory nerve using electrical signals, giving the sensation of hearing.
Asia continued: "It's the first time I've ever seen a model with a hearing impairment, let alone an earring model and its so refreshing to see this kind of representation for people like me."
She went on to explain that she was born with a severe hearing loss in both ears, and got hearing aids at 11 months old - so it's "all I've ever known." But for this to be the first time she's seen someone so proudly representing hearing loss for a major retailer shows just how much it's necessary to diversify the people we see in these campaigns.
Others agreed. "That's so amazing. [I've] never seen any models on any sites with a hearing aid in. I always wear my hair down because I'm still so self conscious of it," wrote one person. "I love this. I’ve also got hearing aids and I never thought anything like this was possible," shared another.
One follower pointed out the strange stigma there is with hearing devices in comparison to something like glasses, which have essentially the same purpose but for vision loss. "Isn’t it funny... no one thinks twice at a pair of glasses but hearing aids and cochlear implants are still a bit taboo," they wrote.
Asia's tweet has been so widely shared that even the model herself, Natasha Ghouri, responded, praising her modelling agency, Mmodels for "[believing] in me from the start." She also added that she's been modelling their clothes too, not just earrings. "[It's the biggest achievement I’ve done! Proving out there that no matter what disability you’ve got.. you can do it," Natasha wrote on Twitter.
It's so positive to see that ASOS' choice to use a model with a cochlear implant has been appreciated by others with hearing loss, making them feel rightly represented. More where that came from, please 👏 .
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