Obese Mannequins Horrify Reddit Users

Reddit is both a wonderful and terrible place: it exemplifies some of the best aspects about the Internet, as well as the most repugnant. When one user posted a photo of a larger-than-average mannequin (I wouldn’t even call it obese, but scroll down and see for yourself) along with the title, “Anyone else horrified that they make obese mannequins too now?” it’s not really a big surprise that the picture ignited debate and some misguided outrage.

Hundreds of users jumped onto the anger train about this supposedly terrible, horrible, no good, very bad mannequin. Many people commented on the ridiculousness of the mannequin’s appearance, but others thought that “this is not acceptable. and is wtf worthy,” as well as lots of debate on whether or not overweight people can be healthy, if this encourages heaviness and so on. You know, basically the same argument people have against non-thin women being on television. Because obviously, one mannequin will combat the years of conditioning that we have against gaining weight. Sure.

Given that the United States has an ever-growing obesity rate, it’s no wonder why many stores are making clothing lines specifically designed for people who have long had a difficult time finding clothes that fit them in “standard” collections. More garment producing companies are recognizing that it’s a huge market with lots of room to expand, as there is a decided lack of great clothes for overweight individuals. Why bother getting upset with companies like J.C. Penney for taking advantage of this? After all, they’re a business, and businesses goes where the money is.

In 2009, Cintra Wilson of the New York Times wrote a review of the company after they had revealed some larger mannequins, including this statement:

[J.C. Penney has] made a point of providing clothing for people of all sizes (a strategy, company officials have said, to snatch business from nearby Macy’s). To this end, it has the most obese mannequins I have ever seen. They probably need special insulin-based epoxy injections just to make their limbs stay on. It’s like a headless wax museum devoted entirely to the cast of ‘Roseanne.’

Yes, because every person who’s overweight has diabetes. Also: of course these were the most obese mannequins you’ve ever seen–there are barely any non-skinny ones out there. Anyway, the point is the same–mannequins that are not of standard sizing are somehow revolting and able to be insulted.

For the record, this is a photo of the mannequin in question:

This mannequin doesn’t even look obese to me; it kind of just looks bizarrely disproportionate (not to mention very contemplative). If this mannequin were a person, I’m not even sure if he would be considered “obese.” Though he wouldhave quite the tiny head, so that part is kind of creepy to look at–mainly because these dimensions are actually unrealistic. But simply the idea of showing a severely underrepresented group of people is the upsetting part, somehow.


Wouldn’t it make more sense to be disturbed by the mannequins with measurements that are distorted in that Barbie doll way, in which if the mannequins were real, their limbs would be Slender Man-esque and their necks couldn’t support their heads and their legs couldn’t support their torsos? Those encourage an unhealthy body image, so why don’t those qualify for public outrage? Or we could all just be collectively disturbed by self-immolating, creepy child mannequins–now those are terrifying.
Photo: Reddit
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    • Donna

      “its a huge market with lots of room to expand”…..hm

      • Samantha_Escobar

        Haha, no pun intended.

    • Nikola

      “How dare a mannequin reflect real people instead of some ‘ideal’?! (Notes that most mannequins are Caucasian) Uhhhhhh….oh.”

      Just as long as we all agree that hating people based on the body traits that they were born with is still okay.

      • Samantha_Escobar

        Definitely true–most mannequins are white, even in areas where most people aren’t white, which blows my mind.

    • MaxUK

      What you failed to tell in the article is that the title of that specific post was a reaction to another thread ‘anyone else disgusted that they’re now making mannequins with the ribcage showing’? So the OP wasn’t actually disgusted at the fact of having obese mannequins, he was just poking fun at the other thread by outlining that everybody seem to be repulsed by non-standard mannequins. http://www.reddit.com/r/WTF/comments/13polk/anyone_else_disgusted_that_theyre_now_making/

      • Samantha_Escobar

        If I had known that, I certainly would’ve included it. Thanks for the link + heads up!

    • http://www.facebook.com/victoria.umesi Victoria Umesi

      The manneqin just made me giggle…it’s just so disportionate. It just looks really creepy; if their going to make a bigger mannequin they could at least make the head and the hands the right size.

      • lucygoosey74

        Right?! I have no problem with a larger size manni..in fact I kind of like the idea. That beind said, the shrunken head is uber creepy. I didn’t notice the hands at first, and God help me, I just had to scroll up and look..they will haunt my nightmares tonight!

    • Tania

      I came to comment on nothing but the horror of the too-small head and creepy hands.

    • DA

      This doesn’t look obese to you?! Frankly I think that just demonstrates that the fatter Americans get, the less they’re able to recognize obesity when they see it. Our perceptions of what is normal has definitely changed.

      • JennyWren

        I don’t think that it’s that the mannequin doesn’t look big; it just doesn’t look like a real fat person. It’s got the size but the shape is wrong. It’s like they’ve tried to make a “fat person” mannequin simply by sizing up, then apologetically slapped a weirdly constrained gut on it.

    • dtm7690

      From the Marlon Brando underwear collection.

    • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=1736827047 Bob Johnson

      Fat is the new normal (as well as the new increased mortality, morbidity) while being the leading cause of diabetes, the reason for larger couches (true), larger hospital beds, car seats, school desks, elevator capacity and size, escalator power and on and on and on. If you think “fat” doesn’t kill AND cost, guess again……

    • GoGabbaGabba

      Time for a quick reality check here. While most of us who are obese wish we weren’t, the fact remains there are many who will always be overweight. Some times there are medical reasons but mostly it is because we overeat. As to the mannequin issue they need to get the proportions right. I think it is a wonderful idea as even the obese are entitled to see how clothing will look on them. I’m not talking just the sizes 14-16 but the 22-26′s as well. Face it, how many obese people have we seen whose shirt is way too short and their belly hangs out? Or perhaps women who are in the younger set who are wearing stretch shorts and they have a never ending wedgie as the shorts ride up as their legs rub together? These mannequins could play a major role in the design of clothing that is not only stylish but looks good on. I am not new to the problem of finding clothing that looks good and fits well. I lost a total of 156 lbs, got down to a size 8 from a size 28, only to injure my back and gain some of it back. For me it is a big issue that clothing be made that truly works to enhance the way we look. They are on the right track on this idea.