My two beautiful daughters are half filipino, so bringing them up to understand their place in the world can be a tricky exercise. My 7-year-old daughter hopped in the car after school one day and told me she wished her skin was white. It broke my heart to hear these words come out of her mouth. She is so perfect to me in every way but sometimes it is hard to fight the ideas the world throws at her everyday.
She knows she looks different from her friends, and her hair and skin are so much darker than her favourite dolls. I’ve tried to make sure the toys she has and the movies she watches reflect different cultures, but sometimes I feel like I’m fighting a losing battle. Australia is such a diverse country but what we see in the media isn’t always reflective of this. So when a major Australian brand chooses to lead the way in representation of diversity then I for one am bloody rapt.
Target Australia’s latest catalogue features Julius Panetta playing Barbie dolls with his mum, Catia. As much as it’s totally ace that Julius is a boy playing with pink barbie dolls, because I am SO over telling my girls pink is for boys AND girls, the catalogue is going viral around the world for another reason. Julius has Down syndrome.
One in five Australians has a disability but that is definitely not reflected back in advertising or on our TV screens. “Having both of us in the ad was so nice.” Julius’ mum Catia told Daily Mail Australia. “When Julius was born I didn’t see any other families like ours being represented.”
Families come in so many different shapes, sizes and colors. This is not the first time Target Australia has led the way, causing controversy in January when it published it’s ‘back to school’ catalogue featuring a Muslim mum wearing a hijab as she sent her son to school. Target saw backlash on their Facebook page for trying to appease a minority, which is just a total load of crap. I’ve seen many mums in hijabs wave their kids off at school so why shouldn’t that be represented also?
I love that Target is using its platform to promote diversity of all kinds. This is the Australia I want my kids to see and the Australia that I know they can relate to. Children are such sponges; they soak up the environment around them without us even realising half the time. I already loved Target, but now I’m an even bigger fan. This might be one catalogue that gets left on the kitchen table instead of getting thrown in the bin.
Are you a fan of the Target catalogues?