The Skinny on the Swedish Mannequins
The snap that sparked the controversy. Source: becka.nu
Women’s Rights News recently posted this image on their Facebook, with the caption:
“Store mannequins in Sweden. They look like real women. The US should invest in some of these.”
The image quickly went viral, flooding feeds across the world, and has since garnered over a million likes across the site.
Rebeckah’s original blog post read (translation):
Look what I found at Åhléns!
The mannequin on the right actually resemble the size of a real person. So nice! She is still slim, but it looks healthy. I like.
At H&M on the other hand I saw a completely crazy skinny mannequin. I forgot to take a picture, but yikes. Absolutely terrible, the waist was like the size of my shin.
The image has has reignited the debate surrounding the use of unrealistically proportioned shop models, often very far removed from the size of real customers, with the average Australian woman a size 16.
Rebeckah told Quartz in a clarifying interview:
“I’m just happy that the image has been noticed and received the attention it has.
It would be nice if it got retailers to start using real, beautiful women in their commercials, catwalks and stores.”
In 2011 Gap were lambasted for displaying these figures in a London store, which were labelled ‘Death camp chic’ by some observers.
Gap mannequins – death camp chic? Source: BoingBoing
And this Gina Tricot model is blatantly too thin.
Source: The Swedish Mannequins
Some commentators have criticised the larger mannequins for promoting obesity, while others have applauded the diversity that they bring to the fashion retail sphere, and the much needed departure from the popularised ’ideal’ body that only belongs to runway supermodels.
Praising the purple-clad models, one Facebook user stated:
“These should be available all over the world. They are very life-like and a lot more realistic than the impossibly slim regular mannequins.”
“Anybody saying these mannequins encourage obesity or look unhealthy, you have a seriously warped perception of what is healthy.”
And one even asked if the models could not be made a little “chunkier”.
The weighty debate continues on Rebeckah’s newly created website, The Swedish Mannequins.
Published at LUNA Digital.