How Hollywood Is Breaking the Mold
BY CAROLINE HAYWARD
We feel it every day. The need to prove to the world, and ourselves, that we have it all under control. The hope that if we push ourselves just a bit more, we too can be the perfect “it-woman” that we so often see featured on social media, the TV shows we stream and in every magazine we see.
But who is this woman, really? We edit our interests, styles and sometimes personalities around the “it-woman” image with the hopes that we can embody it. However, the person that this image presents does not exist. More women, both in and out of the limelight, feel that we are chasing something unattainable. In many cases, this causes deep anxiety and depression. The good news, though, is that these anxieties are increasingly being brought to the forefront of mass-media discussions. And the best part? These discussions come from the place where the “it-woman” was first cast: Hollywood and the entertainment industry.
In this past year alone, female celebrities have made impressive shifts in shattering this image of perfection. Though I could fill an entire magazine’s pages with stories about how actresses have made positive change, the following particular women have incorporated oft-ignored, real narratives into their work. Let’s start with Troian Bellisario, an actress known for her leading role on the CW show Pretty Little Liars. She has recently struck out on her own to produce and write a new film, Feed, that follows her own journey through mental illness and an eating disorder. Earlier this summer, Mindy Kaling announced her pregnancy to the tune of “Who is the father?” The latest newcomer to Hollywood, Wonder Woman’s Gal Gadot, makes a point to tell her fans that she is not perfect, and based on her past service in the Israel Defense Forces, champions the message that girls have the power to do whatever they want. Despite pressures to follow a certain standard, these actresses do not hold back in the telling of their stories. These simple statements about their lives are not just brave but also relatable. They take fans into the territory of owning their own identities.
As advertisers and marketers, we have the power to take up the role of advocate. What we say and how we say it can make or break a brand message and is the ultimate image for how the rest of the world sees a product, a lifestyle or, in many cases, a person. A new standard is appearing in Hollywood, as well as in the advertising world. Recently, the clothing brand, Diesel, released a short film, “Go With the Flaw,” which revels in imperfection and praises the rebel who dares to be confidently different. This new standard is one that we at Frank About Women also uphold: Reduce the pressure to be “everything,” and recast the Hollywood “it-woman” mold into messaging that celebrates the unique challenges, complexities and choices of every woman.
Sources (and for more reading):
- Graham, Ruth. (July 20, 2017). Can Mindy Kaling Thwart the Media’s Sick Obsessions with the Contents of Celebrity Uteri?
- Miller Archer, Teresa. (July 18, 2017). Troian Bellisario’s New Film FEED Has a Very Important Message for Fans.
- Natividad, Angela. (September 12, 2017). This Gorgeous Ad From Diesel Is Packed With Flaws, and It Regrets Nothing.
- W Magazine (April 12, 2017). Our Gal Friday.