Is validation an inalienable right we all have?
I am never comfortable with any notions about what the world owes me. As for media, nothing would be more boring to me than to see a protagonist who looks like me but who needs no development, only validation; who never gets knocked down and so never has to find the will to get back up.
What I find interesting is how sharply the currencies of "affirmation" and "validation" have skyrocketed over the last several years. The underwear ad is using a classic sales tactic. "You deserve to see people like you" establishes a need, and the ad fills that need by showing people who don't look like models wearing underwear. That immediately puts the viewers who look like those women -- a much larger group (pun not intended) than the group of women who actually look like underwear models) -- in a favorable mindset to click on their website and buy their plus-size bras and underwear.
Of course you don't "deserve" to be represented in underwear ads. I don't want to see people who look like me in their underwear. I'm not even all that crazy about having to see ME in my underwear. But the "deserve" aims at the target's vanity. It tells her that not only does she deserve to be represented in lingerie catalogues -- she deserves the attention and respect that conventional lingerie supermodels get. And with its pictures of plus-size women, Molke dangles the possibiity that you too can be an adored and admired model.
So much of what passes as activism today is really capitalism. Marketers know there are a lot of lonely, hopeless, depressed people out there. And they work overtime to hone slogans and create causes that will cheer hearts and open wallets. In the end, validation and affirmation become just another fiat currency.
Don't know about "deserve" but there might still be some value in it. As Robert Burns once put it:
"Oh, would some Power give us the gift
To see ourselves as others see us!
It would from many a blunder free us,
And foolish notion:
What airs in dress and gait would leave us,
And even devotion!"