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Disney vs. Hollister: Who Wins in Physical Image?
By: Cindy Wendland
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Hollister was just slammed for a model’s image used on Facebook and Twitter after people complained her legs were too emaciated and skinny. From a contrary point of view, the Disney channel seems to continually cast an overweight child actor in their sitcoms. Who is doing a disservice to their brand?

The use of super-skinny models in ads has been a long-discussed issue. Some models have become anorexic in order to fit the “desired” look for their jobs. As America became healthier, this seemed to become a thing of the past. From time to time, news stories appear about an airbrushing gone bad where the model’s waist loses lots of inches or the back of the thigh disappears, but it seemed to be minor. Apparently that wasn’t the case.

Hollister received a lot of heat for using a model that many viewed as unhealthy. In their efforts to maintain their healthy corporate image, they removed the picture from their social media. But, the discussions and slams had already begun. To be real on the issue is to understand there are many body types. Some are skinny, some are medium and some are bigger. What people prefer in an ad is somewhat subjective. It depends on your preference.

The important issue is what message super-skinny models portray to our children’s self-image. As parents we want our children to have a healthy self-image. That means different things to different people. We want our children to live long lives and be healthy, but they don’t need to have a certain body style. In fact, there are skinny kids who wish they could gain weight but can’t, and there are bigger kids who wish they could lose weight but have difficulty.

The Disney channel supports different body styles with their casting. In A.N.T. Farm they have a larger boy named Angus, played by Aedin Mincks. In Austin & Ally, Raini Rodriquez plays Trish, a larger girl who is Austin’s manager. Both of these children have body styles that wouldn’t typically appear on a Hollister ad. These children are not necessarily healthy either. Where is the middle ground? Hollister wants children to feel they need to be thin to wear their clothes. Disney promotes the message that being overweight is okay. 

It appears the best message needs to come from home; eat healthy and exercise no matter what you see on TV or in the media.

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About the Author
Cindy Wendland has a background in marketing and finance. She is the creative director for an online men's health magazine, BrainBrawnBody.com, and she gets to write their leisure/travel blog. She is also a web designer helping her clients with online community engagement, websitesbywendland.com. Prior to her web years, she worked in pharmacy consulting.
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