Representation is so important. We are seeing more diversity within the media and on our television screens than ever, but I still think we need more.

When I was growing up the only advertisement, I saw disability in the media once every four years (we only had free-to-air-tv) and that was the lead up and during the Paralympic Games, otherwise there was nothing around disability in the media.

The front of a Target catalogue which has two girls in the middle and two boys one on each side of the of the boys is sitting on a red block smiling at the camera, while the two girls in the middle are standing on a lower block and the boy to the side isn’t standing on then block. Up the top left-hand side is Target’s logo and next to that are the words “Lastest kids’ fashion”. On the block to the left where a boy is sitting on is a circle ajnd the words “boys’ shorts from $12 EVERYDAY” and on the block where the girls are standing on it says in tiny words “Thursday 28 July – Sunday 7 August 2016” below that is some words in bold “”
Image 1: One of 2016's Target Australia catalogues that features Emily Prior

Emily Prior first appeared in one of Target Australia’s biggest catalogues of the year, the Mid Year Catelouge in 2015, a few months later she appeared on the front of Target kid’s fashion catalogue, along with their advertising store. She became the first disabled cover girl. She featured again on the front cover for their Back to School campaign in 2017, as well as in store advertising, as well as other catalogues in 2018, 2019.

Up the top left hand side it says “new season activewear”. And underneath that is says in bold “with Robyn Lambird – International wheelchair athlete, disability advocate, blogger and fashion-lover. “As a para athlete I practically live in active wear. That’s why I love target’s range – it’s got me covered for the whole day. with plenty of options for working out, and fashionable pieces, that are perfect for busy days in between training sessions.” And underneath that is says Robyn Lambird.” Underneath that is two pictures the first one is of a young lady with short hair smiling in the camera. And the other one is underneath that picture of the same young lady smiling at the picture while playing with her wheelchair. Next to that is a column which is has two pictures of activewear women’s tops. One of them is 3 tanks and says and the second picture which is below it has 3 activewear women tops. underneath that there is a tall lady posing for the picture and having her hand on the bar behind her.
Image 2: A page of the active wear section of a 2016 Target Australia cataloug.

In 2016 Robyn Lambird been featured in a Target campaign for active wear. Robyn become the first disabled adult that uses a wheelchair to be featured in a nation-wide campaign.

Through seeing these girls in campaigns, other brands have done the same. With people’s help/experience the message is getting across that there are others and it is okay to be different. Diversity is showing up in the media more and more and therefore we are educating others, but we need more than this.

Late last month I did a social media course and through this course I met a wonderful kid Imani, they it’s a kid who writes middle grade books about diversity. Before this I didn’t realise that there isn’t enough of children’s picture books with diverse characters in them. As a child we read a lot of books, it’s either told to us by our parents or we read them ourselves. There isn’t many books out there tell about diverse character.

Click here to find out more of this book.

A cover of a book that says "Mysteries of Maybelle" and at the bottom it says "Imani Benfell" on the cover is also has an alien city with purple sky.
Image 3: A book which called Mysterieis of Maybelle written by Iamani Benfell.

I believe that education throughout the media and in books is so important. Not only for disabled people, but also for the diverse community. If people know more about diversity, then I believe that one day there will be a world where everyone is included, as we are all different and unique in our own ways.

Tags: #diversity #representationmatters #afutureforallofus

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