One in five Americans -- or 56.7 million people -- reporting having a disability, according to the 2010 U.S. Census Bureau.
Given the massive numbers, it's surprising that more national retailers are not hiring more models with visible disabilities. Most people feel more inclined to buy products, after all, when they see those products modeled by someone who is a more-attractive version of themselves.
Target has a history of success with hiring models with disabilities, specifically, hiring models with Down syndrome. This practice has brought national attention and acclaim to the retailer. While Target's attention to hiring diverse models is heartening, there are very few other national retailers who follow suit.
Heather Bradley, who is the mother of Izzy, the adorable model hired by Target, is trying to change that. Together with Katie Driscoll, founder of Changing the Face of Beauty, she started the "I'm Ready" campaign whose goal is to invite 15 national retailers in the year 2015 to hire a model with a disability.
While children with Down syndrome have recently been the most visible models with disabilities, the "I'm Ready" campaign [does] include models with disabilities who are adults. The campaign seeks adults with Cerebral Palsy, dwarfism, Osteogenesis Imperfecta, along with those who are amputees, deaf, blind and have other disabilities that represent [thus representing] the actual spectrum of the disability experience.
The plan of the campaign is simple: to post a photo of the individual with a disability, to include the hashtag of a favorite major retailer along with the #IMREADY hashtag and to make a call for the retailer to participate.
Toward that end, social media has been flooded with images of people with disabilities calling out to their favorite retailer with the hashtag, #IMREADY:
It took retailers a long time to include models of various races and sexual orientation in their advertising. The group that is currently left out of the picture are people with disabilities. With one fifth of the population of the United States claiming to have a disability, that is a lot of people who are ready and waiting to see themselves represented in the media.