Wednesday, December 4, 2013

Analyzing the Pro Infirmis: Because who is perfect? Campaign

These people with visible physical disabilities pose as models and are measured to create new mannequins for placement in this Zurich store front. It's part of a campaign by disability organization Pro Infirmis.

What I love about this campaign is that it promotes a wider representation of beauty that reflects the diverse body types and experiences of shoppers. This campaign recognizes that by traditionally only reflecting a single, socially desirable, "normal" body type in fashion marketing, companies are not only promoting a very narrow perception of beauty and normalcy, but are devaluing the presence of people with visible physical disabilities and promoting their invisibility. I hope this campaign will also encourage fashion designs that are accessible to different body types.

By placing the new mannequins between the traditional ones, the new store front represents inclusion and places people with visible physical disabilities on the same plane, quite literally, as people who are able bodied.

I found the end scenes of the passersby examining the mannequins with disabilities quite symbolic. These passersby included visibly able bodied people and the subjects of the new mannequins who have disabilities. They are all moving on the same street, with each other and seeing the same images.

My favourite moment in this film begins at 3:55. Different angles capture the woman with the disfigured back looking at the mannequin of her body through the glass. In the first angle, we see her standing level across from her mannequin, facing the window. The composition suggests that she is looking at her reflection in the glass, but we can see the mannequin and we also see the reflection of visibly able bodied passersby in the reflection.

In the next angle, we see just her face, visibly moved as she observes the mannequin. In the next angle, taken from inside the store, we see the back of the mannequin. The woman is facing it, and the camera. I imagine all of these shots were captured at the same time to convey the different meanings of her experience as a witness and the different messages of the campaign.

In this scene, its as if the glass is a mirror and the woman's reflection is her mannequin. The store front quite literally reflects her presence. And her life. It makes her as visible to the public as she is to herself when looking in the mirror, and as visible as visibly able bodied people. I found this very moving and empowering. The look on her face.

What do you think of this campaign, or this video specifically?


  1. Beautiful. Thanks for introducing me to this, @cartooninperson
    To see the models' faces was a treat in and of itself.

  2. Tiffany - You are so welcome! Thanks for visiting my blog. I agree about the models' faces. Very moving.