Wednesday, August 2, 2017

This catalog cover gets diversity right. Do you get why?

Workplaces, universities and advertisements all strive for diversity. They typically fail, because of one omission: people with disability. In fact, a report released yesterday that examined 900 films found that just 2.7% of all speaking characters were depicted with a disability—although 18.7% of the U.S. population identifies as having a disability. 

This lack of diversity is glaring to parents like me, who have children with disability, as well as people with disability, I'd imagine. And so, when I come upon full-fledged diversity, I get gleeful, like I did when I saw the cute blonde grinning on the cover of one of the latest Kohl's catalog. "I didn't even notice that one of the kids on the front cover has DS until about the third time picking it up," says mom Susan Osborn Hoyt, who shared the photo on Facebook. "This is inclusion." Put another way, this is equality.

Inside the catalog, there's a young woman modeling clothes who also has Down syndrome.

While there's been a slight uptick in recent years of youth with disabilities in catalogs, including Target's and Nordstrom's, and on the runway, too, it's still not the norm. Someday, hopefully, it will be standard practice to include children with disabilities in ads, on TV, in movies—and everywhere. Someday, hopefully, workplaces and universities will also be truly diverse. For now, I'm glad to give credit where it's due and encourage more, more, more. 

And so: Thank you, Kohl's. Keep it up! 

Speaking of which: Wouldn't it be even more awesome and diverse if there were a couple of kids with disabilities of various kinds on your cover next time, plus more inside the catalog, too?  

Also: Add that diversity to your website? Like, hint, the homepage? 

Not to be ungrateful or anything. But: DIVERSITY! 

Word to other companies: Hellllooooooooooo.

Image: Susan Osborn Hoyt


  1. There are 6 children in the Kohl's catalogue on the cover. They are probably of various ages or they might be a cohort or group of peers/friends/acquaintances.

    One has a visible disability. [15%]

    Two may develop one later on in life. [30%]

    All six will be affected. [100%]

    And I saw the blonde guy straight away. Thorin?

    It's what's inside the catalogue which counts. If I flipped through a mid-market catalogue of markets or shopping in my suburb or municipality I would expect to find that proportion of representation.

    It was CinciBility who taught me the power of proportionality and representation in late 2012. There were people like Joe - and their famous "51 people". There was also Mike who loved to swim - Candice not so much.

    And I like the way representation has been enabled deliberately to evolve and shift. Very edgy! Makes me think of KarriedAway and other stylish people and it's very aspirational.

    Do Kohl's people wear plus-sizes?

    It will be Fashion Week at the start of September in Melbourne.

  2. You know what I love the most about this kind of inclusion? My kids don't even notice it. They see other kids. That's it. There are quite a few kids at our school who have various disabilities, some quite severe. Several of them are in my son's class. To him, they're not the kid in the wheelchair, or the boy who acts different than him. They're his friends and they're kids his age. Period.

  3. Love what Hannah had to say about this! My son is the same way too! Since he has a sister who is disabled, and has friend's with siblings who are as well, he's been very immersed in it all from a young age. I love what Kohl's has done in this add. I think it's really well done, and more companies need to take notice.


  4. The lack of film representation is exactly why I made Crip VIdeo Productions which you can read about here http;// My films have been shown at diversity festivals and colleges across the U.S. Apparently casting disabled actors of racial minorities is even more rare but I have done this since 2010.
    Hasbro also shows disability regularly in the show MY LITTLE PONY FRIENDSHIP IS MAGIC.
    Cool ad!


Thanks for sharing!

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