Friday, March 15, 2013

Average Sized Mannequin Photo Goes Viral

I’m sure I’m not the only person who’s ever walked by mannequins on display at a store and asked, “Really?” It’s not uncommon to see weirdly skinny mannequins sporting merchandise in size 0, safety pinned at the back because it’s still too big. Those clothes often end up being what I describe as “good on the rack,” but not really anywhere else.
Mannequins like Death Camp Chic are abnormally skinny and long-limbed.
The Gap's "Always Skinny" mannequin earned
the nickname "Death Camp Chic"

You know it’s a problem when your bones are literally bigger than what’s supposed to be a full flesh-and-bone representation. Of course, not all mannequins are like that. But the average size for mannequins in the United States is between sizes 4 and 6. This contrasts sharply with the average woman’s size, which is between 12 and 14 according to Women’s Wear Daily.

Mannequins are also blessed with abnormally long figures and limbs, some as much as 6 inches taller and 6 sizes smaller than the average woman, according to the Chicago Tribune. But lately some in the fashion industry have taken a stand against the promotion of anorexic figures, including major gurus like Vogue, which is run by editor Anna Wintour and contributed to by fashionistas like Lauren Santo Domingo.

But now a photo of two mannequins is making the viral rounds on the Internet—and the approval has been overwhelming. The picture depicts two mannequins from an unknown Swedish retail store sporting sets of purple lingerie. What’s special about them is that they actually look like real women. They have hips, breasts, and soft tissue. Their legs and arms look proportional. They are still slim, yes, but in a healthy way.

These Swedish mannequins have realistic proportions, soft tissue, and actually look like real women.
Average-sized mannequins from a Swedish retailer
are receiving praise for being realistic.
A few worry that making larger mannequins will promote obesity, but to that I say “Pah!” The mannequins aren’t obese; they are a more realistic depiction of what women actually look like. How does seeing a super skinny mannequin help us picture clothing on our own bodies? How does it make us feel when those clothes don’t seem to fit in quite the same way?

The picture surfaced earlier this week on the Women’s Rights News Facebook page with a message attached: “Store mannequins in Sweden. They look like real women. The US should invest in some of these.”

And I have to say, I agree. What do you think?