Social media flub
Clothing retailer Forever 21 seemed to be on the right track when it created an Instagram account to promote its new plus-sized clothing line. The account was opened just this month and has already gained 10,000 followers.
Unfortunately, the models depicted on the account are, well, distinctly not plus-sized.
Expanding representation beyond “average”
The brand has already been slammed with dozens of comments complaining that the models on the site are, at best, average sized. “I don’t understand how this girl is plus” someone challenged. Another angry viewer said, “this pisses me the f— off she’s average size not plus.”
Featuring medium-sized models on the page may seem innocuous, but it can be a real confidence killer for larger women, who already face weight-based discrimination. The movement for fat acceptance (Queer Fat Femme is a great resource if you’re unfamiliar with fat positivity) has made much progress in encouraging clothing companies and media to expand their representation of women beyond the stick thin super model type.
An insult to customers who increased their revenue
That’s why it’s, frankly, insulting that Forever 21 got it together to start producing plus-size clothing (and to increase their revenue by gaining plus-size customers) but insists upon using skinny models to display the clothing. If average sized women are being presented as plus-sized, where does that the leave the genuinely big girls? Said one Instagram user, “Wow I must be mega-size.”
Part of the problem is that there is really no industry standard for the use of the term “plus-sized.” Forever 21’s plus-sized clothing line starts at a size 12; other companies often start categorizing clothing as plus-sized at size 14 and up.
Embracing all beauty
The good news is that, in response to the outcry, Forever 21 deleted some of the postings with “average-sized” models.
Linda Chang, Forever 21’s vice president of merchandising, told Digiday: “We always appreciate our customers reaching out when they have a concern and therefore have removed some of the images and are working to ensure all of our future posts accurately represent the Forever 21 Plus customer. As a majority of the content on our social media accounts are user generated by our loyal customers, we encourage them to continue to share their own photos to provide a true representation of our clothing, embracing beauty in all shapes and sizes.”
Gloves that translate sign language in real time
(BUSINESS MARKETING) A new wearable tech translates American Sign Language into audible English in real time.
Advancements in technology never cease to amaze. The same is true right this moment as a new technology has been released that helps translate American Sign Language (ASL) signs into spoken English in real time.
This technology comes in the form of a hand glove – similar looking on the front side to what one would wear in the winter, but much more advanced when in view of the palm. The palm side of the glove contains sensors on the wearer to identify each word, phrase, or letter that they form via ASL, and is then translated into audible English via an app that coincides with the glove.
This is all done in real time and allows for instant communication without the need for a human translator. The signals are translated at a rate of one word per second.
The project was developed by scientists at UCLA. “Our hope is that this opens up an easy way for people who use sign language to communicate directly with non-signers without needing someone else to translate for them,” said lead researcher Jun Chen.
The hope is to make communication easier for those who rely on ASL, and to help those unfamiliar with ASL adapt to the signs. It is thought that between 250,000 and 500,000 people in the United States use ASL. As of now, the glove does not translate British Sign Language – the other form a sign language that utilizes English.
According to CNN, the researchers also added adhesive sensors to the faces of people used to test the device — between their eyebrows and on one side of their mouths — to capture facial expressions that are a part of American Sign Language. However, this facet of the technology is not loved by all.
“The tech is redundant because deaf signers already make extensive use of text-to-speech or text translation software on their phones, or simply write with pen and paper, or even gesture clearly,” said Gabrielle Hodge, a deaf post-doctoral researcher from the Deafness Cognition and Language Research Centre (DCAL) at University College London. “There is nothing wrong with these forms of communication.”
What are your thoughts on this advancement? Comment below!
Stand out with video as part of your resume (but be careful)
(MARKETING) This new tool helps you stand out in the job market, as video now dominates – so it’s possible to use this to your advantage (with caution).
In the midst of a pandemic, people are finding themselves thrust back into the job market sooner than expected due to mass company layoffs or underemployment as a freelancer. Fields are oversaturated and jobs are sparse so it can be hard to stand out in today’s job market.
Although standing out in the job market is hardly a new problem, that doesn’t mean it couldn’t use some new and creative solutions. One company, VCV.ME has designed a tool to help you get creative and stand out from your competition.
VCV.ME turns your traditional resume into a video à la Instagram stories.
The process is simple. You answer a few questions and upload a video of yourself then the tool will provide you with a sharable link.
VCV Founder and CEO, Arik Akverdian, believes that video is the future saying, “Video will represent 80% of all internet traffic by 2021 according to Cisco, and according to eMarketer 94.1% of millennial internet users were streaming digital video in 2019. With growing demand for video social media such as TikTok, Snapchat, Instagram stories, and others, we’re bringing the short video format to the job market.”
There are some obvious limitations to using this tool in your job hunt.
First, not all employers will take videos as part of an application both for technical and legal reasons.
On the technical side, many automated tracking systems are not designed to filter that kind of file, so there may not even be an opportunity to showcase it. That’s not to say there aren’t some work-arounds. Many job applications will have a place for applicants to link to their portfolio or websites. An alternate option for this tool could be to place the video introduction on your website.
Another problem with the tool is how it exposes candidates and hiring managers to bias.
As more companies work to remove bias from their hiring practices and hire more diverse candidates, a video intro just won’t fly. Some companies have removed names and even alma maters from their applicants in order to make more unbiased hiring decisions. A video introduction would expose many characteristics that people have conscious and subconscious biases towards such as race, gender, age, and ethnicity.
Although VCV.ME’s intentions are to help candidates stand out in the job market, it’s worth questioning whether they would be standing out for the right reasons, so tread carefully.
Why should you take Facebook’s ‘Summer of Support’ courses
(BUSINESS MARKETING) Every company can use a little marketing advice, well Facebook has partnered with big companies to give you some free digital marketing courses.
Our world has turned into a place of upheaval and unrest and we are continuously surrounded by more and more evidence of it. One thing that the majority of us are constantly seeing is announcements from companies. Some of those are about closing hours, but others are more helpful. As they all attempt to get used to this new world that COVID-19 has created we begin to see some different tactics. Some are only politically motivated, but others are more focused on helping out their communities.
Earlier this week Facebook announced that they will be putting on a six-week digital marketing education series. This series will be an extensive collection of videos with a full in depth set of courses that will cover a large amount of topics. The company has put together a cast of renowned entrepreneurs for the presenters as well.
The topics will be done in themed weeks starting on June 24th, and running through the month of July. They include categories such “The Changing World” & “Resilience”. Focusing primarily on the world that is here and now, with recommendations on how to adapt to it. With this world in a constant state of flux the push for adapting to change and staying in front of the tide is crucial for a small business.
The next two courses will be going forward with discussing “Reinvention” & “Re-Emergence”. Encouraging struggling companies to take a serious look at their potential for moving forward, or changing the things that they can to stay more on top of their client base. They also plan on attacking the confusing world that we will have when things get closer to normal.
The last two weeks are focused on community and customer care, which is actually their names as well: “Customers & Commerce” & “Community”. These will help develop a sense of how your business affects your community and the impact you have on it. Keeping that in mind you can then develop a plan for how you want your community to see you and shape things within it.
These courses are all set up for free and open to anyone. With a completely online set up with their new “Summer of Support” mini-site they are prepped to reach millions of people. They’ve organized this with a range of partners as well: Dell, PayPal, American Express, & Small Business Roundtable. A helping hand for people who wouldn’t currently be able to source things like this.
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Ladies and gentlemen, the U.S. National Anthem
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