So You Wanna Talk About Diversity? Don't forget me.
Everywhere I look, people are talking about diversity. Magazines, YouTubers, bloggers, Instagrammers… you name it. And the conversation is pretty much the same every time. Curvy girls need to be included in sizing, more black women are needed in the modeling industry, Muslims need to stop being discriminated against based on their hair coverings.
I would watch these videos and read these articles and nod my head along. A supportive bystander acknowledging the issues at hand. Until one day, I realized that I was actually in the same boat.
I never felt the sting of the diversity problem as a Jewish woman living in New York City because even though Jews are only 0.16% of the world population, it feels like New York is swarming with them. My blogger friends are used to me passing on the champagne at events and most of the brands I work with already know I’m never available on Saturday. In my 5+ years as a blogger, I have never felt judged, discriminated against, or rejected from a campaign based on my religion. So you’re probably wondering how I fall into the diversity conversation.
While I’ve been fortunate not to feel discriminated against, I started to realize that my religion is excluded from holiday campaigns and almost entirely overlooked in the blogger world. I only came to this realization last week when I booked my very first Chanukah giveaway campaign, working with a modest fashion brand, Miri Couture. Like I always do, I took to Pinterest and Google to find some photoshoot inspiration, but I couldn’t find any. Using a variation of keywords including blogger, chanukah, hanukkah, and outfit, I found exactly two images of Chanukah themed blogger photos. I’m sure that more exist that simply haven’t been renamed and made searchable, but two is a pretty pathetic number. I scoured through Instagram searching different hashtags too, but again, no influencer campaign images came up, aside from a few food shots.
I decided to pitch a bunch of brands about a month ago, asking to work together on some Chanukah content that would speak to the large Jewish audience I’ve amassed over the years. Not one company was interested or I guess I should say, not one company felt strongly enough about the idea to pursue such a collaboration. Yet my inbox is continuously receiving holiday campaign opportunities. I guess you can say the fact that they call it a holiday campaign, even though the dates coincide with Christmas and the packaging looks like Christmas and the brand’s mood board looks like Christmas, is enough. But is it really?
And maybe it is, I don’t know. From a sales or business perspective, I guess it makes the most sense to speak to the masses or try to be fully inclusive by slapping the phrase “happy holidays” on even the most festive looking posts. But then I beg the question, where is the line?
I’ve been a freelance influencer campaign manager for years now and especially recently, I’m constantly being asked to add more diverse bloggers to the mix or even exclusively. More and more brands are pushing for diversity and looking to speak to esoteric audiences, yet in all my years, I have yet to see a blogger campaign focused on anything to do with Jewish holidays or customs.
The validation came after I made a reference to the lack of Chanukah content on Instagram and my inbox started overflowing with messages from people of all religions who agreed that this was an issue. They hadn’t even noticed before I said something, which is what instigated this post. Not even Instagram acknowledged the holiday with their ever-changing sticker collection that updates with almost every major event, starting with Christmas and including every season change and gay pride parade. With Chanukah in full swing, there is an entire year ahead to make change and it starts now.
If you wanna have the diversity talk, let’s talk, but please stop leaving me out.