When you walk into any given clothing store in your local mall, you’re likely to see mannequins that are inhumanly thin — not standard-size model thin, but unattainably, disproportionately thin (plus, they usually have those weird, pupil-less eyes). It’s odd that we’re all so accustomed to seeing these strange humanoid mannequins, we don’t even notice any longer. But this also means that when we do come across a larger-than-average mannequin, we kind of freak out, as it’s almost unimaginable to see a mannequin that can wear clothes over a size 0.
A clothing retailer in Sweden is facing that exact reaction from the Internet, as a photo of the two plus size mannequins wearing lingerie appeared on Women’s Rights News’ Facebook page earlier this week and then went viral. Their caption:
“Store mannequins in Sweden. They look like real women. The US should invest in some of these.”
While I strongly disagree with their use of “real women” (what, are models and other thin ladies “fake women”?), I do think applaud the use of diversely-sized mannequins. I also concur with Women’s Rights News on the suggestion that the United States’ retailers should acquire some, as well.
Though the photo was initially attributed to H&M, but a spokesperson for the company stated that the mannequins do not belong to any of their stores. Whatever store it is ought to step up, though, since the photo has already received 50,000 likes and 16,000, making it nearly as Internet-significant as some Grumpy Cat videos.
Body standards are everywhere we look. Everywhere. They’re in movies, television, magazines, on book jackets, in stores, atop buildings on billboards…they’re everywhere. Mannequins are some of the least realistic body examples, as they are often six inches taller and six sizes smaller than the average person, says the Chicago Tribune. Offering up some variety in the body types shown by mannequins would be an excellent thing.
Of course, there are also those who disagree with the use of fuller-figured models, suggesting that making mannequins larger will encourage obesity and unhealthiness. Somehow, they don’t seem to see the irony of unattainable-bodied mannequins encouraging unhealthy eating habits and body image issues, and that women can absolutely live healthily at a size 2 or a size 16.
I don’t think the answer here is to replace all thin mannequins with plus-size ones. In my opinion, mannequins require the same diversity that the modeling world will hopefully somebody embrace; so long as there’s one standard of anything, whether it’s thin, heavy or other, there cannot be body positivity.
Photo: Women’s Rights News on Facebook