We all know mannequins aren’t exactly the most realistic depiction of women’s bodies. Behind every immaculate window is a shiny plastic mould of a body with clothes fitting thanks to strategically placed clothes pegs. However, sometimes these ‘models’ can go a little bit too far, and even trigger harmful body image thoughts among shoppers.
A customer in Bristol decided she had enough of the BS when she was in Topshop this week, so she snapped a photo of one mannequin in particular and wrote a Facebook post, which went viral, about why she was angry. Here’s Laura Berry’s post where she railed against the expectations such images were placing on women. “Every day I am surrounded by strong women and men who struggle with the daily battle of body image,” she wrote. “A subject which is now even covered by schools nationwide, educating the young on the reality of a human body and how unrealistic many photoshopped images are. So let me get to the point, I’d love to hear how you can justify the ridiculously tiny mannequin in your Bristol Cribbs Causeway store? We come in all shapes and sizes. There is absolutely nothing wrong with being the size you naturally are.”
Here’s the post in its entirety.
The shop responded pretty speedily to Berry by posting on her page, and in a super mature manner that quelled the spreading internet anger.
“We think it’s important to showcase a healthy size image, from the choice of models used in campaigns, to the stories featured online and on the blog. For some background, the mannequin you saw in store is supplied by a company that has been working with lots of different retailers for the past 30 years. This particular style is used in small number of our stores and is based on a standard UK size 10. The overall height (187cm) is taller than the average girl and the form is stylised to have more impact in store.”
Topshop admitted that although the mannequin was based on a size 10, it was an exaggerated version and “not meant to be a representation of the average female body”. The company justified this decision on the grounds that because “mannequins are solid fibreglass, their form needs to be of certain dimensions to allow clothing to be put on and removed easily”.
While that is a little bit uncomfortable to read, Topshop has said it will stop using these unrealistic mannequins completely and is “not placing any further orders on this style of mannequin” and apologised for not living “up to the levels of service that we aim to deliver.”
Via The Guardian