There has been an inflow of mixed reactions causing internet controversy after a photo was taken of a curvy mannequin in a Swedish retail store called Åhléns. The photo was recently uploaded to Facebook gaining over 50,000 likes and 16,000 shares in just a few days.
The image was posted on Women's Rights News’ Facebook page with the caption “Store mannequins in Sweden - They look like real women. The US should invest in some of these.” The mannequins were originally understood to be displayed in a Swedish H & M store; however, later reports confirmed that the mannequins were actually in a Swedish store called Åhléns. The Mannequins photographed in the Swedish store are unlike typical mannequins, as they have larger thighs and stomachs than most, which portrays a more realistic body image.
Most mannequins tend to be a US size 4 to 6 and some displays can be as much as six inches taller and six sizes smaller than the average US women. This is far from a realistic representation of society, with the average US woman wearing a size 14. Nearly 70 million American women alone are overweight, which helps to reiterate the unrealistic nature of the mannequins. There have been several reports released that analyse the affects the media can have on how people perceive their body and many people claim we are over exposed to unrealistic expectations of how people should look. It has also been suggested that stores would benefit from using mannequins that look more representative of customers.
There has been previous controversy over shops using unrealistic mannequins. In 2007, companies such as Zara and Mango agreed to replace excessively slim mannequins on in-store displays with size-6 mannequins or bigger after they received several complaints from the Spanish Ministry of Health. Stores now need to carefully consider the size of the mannequins they use. In another case a store used oversized mannequins and a photo later appeared on Reddit and caused many people to suggest the store was promoting obesity. This leaves many stores with the dilemma of ensuring that their mannequins are suitable and not negatively perceived by customers.
This issue of obsession of size has spread throughout the whole fashion and modelling industry. Many industry insiders seem to agree that there is now a serious problem. Beauty standards have become unattainable and some models who are not a size 0 have started to complain about not being able to fit into sample clothes. The nature of the modelling industry has made it ever more competitive and many aspiring young models have gone to drastic measures to meet new criteria set out by modelling agencies.
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