There is an unintended consequence of making Muslim women and their clothing important symbols of the nation: Women and their dress are given prominent roles in constructing what modern citizenship means. So, even if modest dress resulted from attempts to politically control women, it has become a practice in which women can exercise political influence.
The exclusion of disabled women goes beyond Vogue. Disabled women are rarely featured in the media: even campaigns or content that are purposely striving to include marginalised women routinely miss out those with disabilities. Only last week, Time’s Up – the Hollywood project to fight sexual harassment in the film industry and other workplaces – rallied support for greater representation of women of colour, migrant women, lesbian and bisexual, and trans women. But an initial statement widely shared on social media failed to mention women with disabilities (though “disabled women” are included in the letter of solidarity on the campaign’s home page).
“It’s about time mature, healthy sexy women are recognized. It’s a shift, it’s anti-fake, it’s real, it’s about authenticity.” That shift has come at a time when calls for diversity and greater representation on runways and in fashion campaigns are at an all-time high among critics of the industry. Over the past two seasons, designers have begun to respond. Expanding the range of representation has included hiring more models of color, plus-size models, trans and nonbinary models and models over the age of 50. Fashion website the FashionSpot’s fall 2017 diversity report noted 27 models over age 50 on the runways in New York, London, Milan and Paris for the spring 2018 collections in September and October, which the website called a “slight improvement.”