SYDNEY – An Australian retailer’s back to school catalogue has been widely praised for encouraging diversity and true representation of the society after it featured children with disabilities and from diverse ethnic backgrounds and faiths, including a hijabi woman.
“Thanks, Target,” Mary Mehwish wrote on Target’s Facebook page, News.com.au reported on Thursday, January 12.
“Being a mother of a special need child and being a hijabi (wearing the head scarf) this is so relatable. Keep it up.”
“Loving the diversity in the new catalogue!” Jordan Grant wrote. Cathy Taylor wrote: “Good to see people of different abilities and cultural backgrounds in the new catalogue.”
Sam Gillespie said she didn’t usually take much notice of shopping catalogues “but the Target back-to-school catalogue has stopped me in my tracks”.
“Way to go, Target, breaking stereotypes and sharing images of real Aussies. Fantastic, should be just normal for us to see this in advertising I’m so impressed,” she wrote.
Despite huge support, some were more critical of the decision.
“Next catalogue, please use a Hindu lady in a sari, or a Buddhist in robes, a Sikh gentleman in full regalia, just to keep the ‘diversity’ momentum going,” wrote Linda Epton.
Sonia Stephenson said “no one sector should be given preference over others”. “Australia is ‘multicultural’, can we please see other sectors also represented in your advertising?” she wrote.
“I look forward to Target having a Christian woman wearing a large crucifix as we wouldn’t want Target discriminating and only promoting one religion would we?” Vettie Marr wrote.
“This isn’t an ethnicity, it’s a religion. You are advertising a religion. Big difference.”
On the other hand, Kylie Ruxton said she was surprised some people were complaining about a Muslim woman being featured.
“I was under the impression that Target sold clothes, so why people are so insulted over a photo of a mother sending her son off to school really just boggles my mind,” she wrote.
Fiona Coates described the catalogue as a “true representation of the wonderful world we are part of in Australia”, while Karissa Jayne said she loved “that Target is embracing diversity, multiculturalism and reality of Australia’s identity”.
“I love that you’ve put a Muslim woman in your catalogue. It’s so empowering,” Victoria Paige wrote.
“To put her in your catalogue even though you’ll probably get so much hate for doing so is amazing. Keep up the good work.”
In response, Target wrote: “We always aim to be inclusive with our advertising, whether it’s in relation to age, gender, ethnicity or people with a disability. We love the diversity which can be found in our customers and always aim to reflect this in our advertising.”
Muslims, who have been in Australia for more than 200 years, make up 1.7 percent of its 20-million population.
Islam is the country’s second largest religion after Christianity.