Already, critics are out on Twitter wondering why Reebok chose a supermodel to be the face of imperfection, admittedly making some valid points, like this post calling Reebok hypocritical.
Even though I see their points, I disagree that Hadid is a bad choice. I think Gigi Hadid is a fantastic choice because she is who little girls (and big ones too) look at as the (super)model of perfection. The more we see Gigi and other models as humans, rather than these idealistic points of reference that all girls and women should measure themselves against, is a good thing.
As Yan Martin, vice president of global brand communications for Reebok, told Marketing Daily:
“We know there is that expectation that women are supposed to be perfect, and that standards may be unfairly high. And women put pressure on themselves. We need to talk about things in a way that’s more real.”
It’s like Dove’s Real Beauty campaign from a different, sportier angle. Speaking as a woman who took years to train herself out of needing to be a perfectionist, I absolutely love the positive messages Reebok, Dove and other brands are pushing out to women and girls.
Gigi herself understands the power of this message, as she explained in Reebok’s announcement:
“When I was a competitive athlete, I used to be so focused on being perfect that my coaches would take me out of competing all together. I’d focus on my mistakes which would breed more missteps – a domino effect. Until I learned to change the channel, to re-focus, re-set. It was my mistakes, my imperfections that motivated me most.”
I want my five nieces to all hear that and know that having a bad game is okay, making a mistake is okay and to see themselves as human, not striving to be perfect, but striving to be their best. And knowing that some days your best doesn’t look or feel so good–but that’s okay.
Reshma Saujani, founder of Girls Who Code, says, “We’re raising our girls to be perfect, and we’re raising our boys to be brave.” In her TED Talk, Teach Girls Bravery, Not Perfection, which has been viewed (as of today) over 2.5 million times, Reshma tells the audience, “I need each of you to tell every young woman you know to be comfortable with imperfection.”
Perfectionism is not just a trait a supermodel or athlete has–girls (and women) are, as the Philadelphia Inquirer put it two years ago, plagued by their pursuit of perfection. The article says: “The result is that girls today are exhausted. They pursue perfection, some to the point of eating disorders [President of Barnard College Debora] Spar dubs, ‘the disease of the perfect girl trying to do everything right’.”
Well, I think that so far in this campaign Reebok is doing everything right and I can’t wait to see who they choose next. After reading Abby Wambach’s Forward, I think she’d be an excellent choice and certainly embodies the #PerfectNever tagline.