One of my favorite fashion sites is www.modcloth.com, a fashion site that has vintage and eclectic clothing, accessories, and decor. Think, Zooey Deschanel's wardrobe for reasonable prices and sizes that even us plus and curvy women enjoy. It's a fabulous company.
Not long ago, I signed on (I check it at least once a day. I'm addicted.) and saw a picture of Rye, a comedian and writer wearing a lovely cat print dress and black cardigan. She rocked the dress, wore simple earnings, a cute necklace, and black nail polish. Oh, and she's transgender. http://blog.modcloth.com/2015/04/05/fashiontruth-rye/
I doubt it's a coincidence that ModCloth is highlighting Rye at this time. So much attention has been shined on the gay community since the Religious Freedom Act made headlines earlier this spring. Companies are making bold statements on both side of the debate, allowing customers to know their POV. But whether you support the gay community or not, there is a growing media presence so I shouldn't have been surprised when I opened my favorite fashion site and saw Rye.
But I was.
"Oh, okay. ModCloth supports the LGBT community. Bold move," I thought. I instantly wondered if any of their customers would be offended and if they'd lose money over their decision to run Rye's story and photos. Personally, I admired their guts and it does take some guts to make a public statement on this issue, no matter the opinion. I also expect that more companies will follow the example, as so many already are. I remember watching a sporting program and a commercial for finding good childcare came on. Different couples were talking about how hard it is to find the right babysitter. They panned to a gay couple. Cheerios is another company taking a bold stance in support of the gay community with a Canadian commercial featuring a gay couple and their adopted child. Basically, whether you agree or disagree with mainstreaming marketing toward the gay community, it's happening.
But it raises questions. Like what type of backlash companies will face? Or on a more focused note, how do parents react when their children see these campaigns and ask questions? Imagine your child seeing the Cheerios commercial and then turning and asking you what it means to be gay? There's a decent chance, I believe, that a question like that may not have been expected at that particular moment. Meaning, you probably weren't planning to have a chat with your child about homosexuality while watching a television program.
Gay media means that parents need to talk to their children about homosexuality at a younger age then perhaps they intended, or even feel appropriate. For some parents, this conversation won't be a big deal. It could be as simple as, "Some boys like boys, some boys like girls, some girls like girls, some girls like boys." And that could be it, but others will want to explain more, and maybe the child is too young for the types of conversations parents want to have. So on that note, I can sympathize with those who are uncomfortable with the topic. Still, as parents, we talk to our kids about all sorts of issues we find uncomfortable. It's up to us to teach them what we want them to learn and how we want to present to them sensitive material. It's better that information comes from the parent than the media.
As I clicked on ModCloth that day and saw Rye, all of these thoughts came to mind. Then I realized how great it would be to one day not have any of these thoughts, to open a fashion site, see a picture of a transgender and think, "Wow, that dress she's wearing is awesome." I think some of us will get there, and others won't. We don't need everyone to accept, but we should all strive to be kind and compassionate.
As for me, I'm still a loyal ModCloth supporter.