Swedish Retailer Introduces Full-Figured Mannequins (Which Immediately Go Viral)


A Swedish retailer called Åhléns recently introduced plus-sized (for lack of a better term) mannequins. A blogger spotted the lingerie-clad mannequins, snapped a photo, the image started to surface on Facebook and Twitter–Women’s Rights News shared it with their half a million followers, etc–and the image went viral. According to one Swedish publication, “In just a few days the picture has received nearly 60,000 likes while shared by almost 18,000 people.” Neat!

So, two things.

1) This is great. Why don’t we have more mannequins like this? We already know size diversity is good for impressionable psyches everywhere and, since clothes shown exclusively on extremely thin women don’t necessarily sell well, it’s good for retailers too.

2) This is a great opportunity to remind people how not to talk about this stuff! The aforementioned Women’s Rights News posted the image with the caption, ”Store mannequins in Sweden. They look like real women. The US should invest in some of these.”

…Which is sad because so often, when we try to promote size diversity, people use it as an excuse to hate on thin women and insinuate their bodies aren’t sexy or womanly or “real.” Let’s all agree that fetishizing extreme thinness is bad (especially in the overwhelming absence of other body types) but so is shaming women who happen to be thin and asserting they’re somehow less desirable because of their body types. Everyone clear on that?

Anyway. Great job, Swedish retailer Åhléns!

(via HuffPo)

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    • Nikola

      Well, they do look like real women, but that has more to do with how much more anatomical definition they have as compared to the mannequins we are used to seeing. That, combined with their closer to average size, makes them great, because they give you a more accurate look at what the clothes will look like on a human body.

      • Nikola

        Also, skinny/thin women complaining about not being considered ‘real’, reads like a white person complaining about being teased for being pale. No, it’s not fair to be judged for your looks, but you’re not facing anywhere close to the same level of discrimination that a fat person has to deal with.

        Which is not to say that it’s excusable, but I’m not even certain this was an example of something slender women should be offended by…

      • Alyssa

        I don’t think it’s really fair for you to make that assumption. Having people judge you openly about your own body, no matter what type of figure you have or what size of jeans you wear hurts. By telling someone with a certain body type that hurtful comments and judgments don’t effect them as much as someone with a different body type is not only rude but ignorant as well.

      • Nikola

        That’s not what I said actually. I didn’t say that they weren’t affected by hurtful comments, I said slender people don’t face the same level of discrimination as the overweight.

        Look, we can all complain about being discriminated against, or being judged for our looks. It sucks that the world is this way. But it rankles when people who are on the more privileged side are doing just as much complaining.

      • kj

        THANK YOU, you are spot on. Yes, it is regrettable that calling larger women “real” women implies that thinner women are not “real” and everyone deserves respect for their bodies.

        But no one ever said, “you can’t be too rich or too fat.” No fat girl ever poked at her protruding ribs and whined, “Oh my God, I am SOOOO thin!” the way I have seen some tiny, tiny girls complain about being fat, just so all her friends would deny it. Cry me a goddamn river. Implying that thin girls aren’t real is NOT even close to the magnitude of fat shaming that goes on everywhere.

      • Nancy

        “Implying that thin girls aren’t real is NOT even close to the magnitude of fat shaming that goes on everywhere.” Agreed, but that doesn’t mean all thin girls are the way you say.

        I grew up with a few very thin girls who were teased way more than bigger girls because our parents always taught us it was rude to make fun of fat people but never said anything about skinny. By the time they were in their late teens they were drinking Boost like their lives depended on it, because people were always calling them too skinny, whether it was ‘concerned’ adults or asshole peers. And don’t get me started on the way other women treat really thin women. Kind of the way you just did, assuming they’re just stuck up bitches who only care about their looks (and I’m sure some of them probably are!) but not everybody is, and they don’t deserve other women treating them with such hostility.

        I wish everyone could just give each other the benefit of the doubt before judging ANYONE about any size, or any difference.

      • kj

        Sigh. Never said they were stuck up bitches. Never said that all thin girls were like that. Never said that they deserved to be treated badly. Never said that skinny people are never discriminated against ever.

        Said that thin privilege exists. Gave some examples showing thin privilege. Agreed with Nikola that every time this issue comes up there is an outcry from folks who apparently don’t understand what thin privilege is.

        Nikola put it better than me: Look, we can all complain about being discriminated against, or being judged for our looks. It sucks that the world is this way. But it rankles when people who are on the more privileged side are doing just as much complaining.

        …and you have just proven that exact point.

      • Nancy

        I’m not on the ‘more privileged’ side, so I have not proven that at all. Wow, you are ridiculously snotty.

      • kj

        I’m sorry, I’m not the one throwing around names like “snotty.” There are lots of rude labels that I could respond with about someone who apparently has very poor reading comprehension, but I choose not to in the interests of civility. Please stop putting words in my mouth. I qualified everything that I said with the fact that everyone deserves respect and compassion.

        If you have an opinion about some of the facts that I have mentioned, feel free to share them. I would be delighted to hear them.

        According to the National Association of Anorexia Nervosa and Associated Disorders, “up to 24 million people of all ages and genders suffer from an eating disorder. Eating disorders have the highest mortality rate of any mental illness.” That’s serious business. Link here

        Find me comparable statistics about girls dying of Boost overconsumption due to pressure to gain weight, and then I will take you seriously. Keep calling me snotty, and I will not.

      • Nancy

        Sorry for calling you snotty, I tried to delete it right after I wrote it but it didn’t work, just got rid of my name.

      • http://thegloss.com/ Ashley Cardiff

        Great point.

        It’s possible WRN was actually alluding to the extremely stylized mannequins one sees all over–especially at mall tween stores like Charlotte Russe, Wet Seal and Forever 21–with the insanely long necks and arms.

    • Juliana D.

      So excited to see these! I really do hope that the US begins using mannequins like these. As a plus-sized woman, it can be difficult to look at clothes on super-skinny mannequins all the time, not because of the whole body image issue (although sometimes that IS the case), but because the way the clothes look on the mannequin is generally not the way they will look on me! Now for some other shaped mannequins, because female bodies come in all shapes… Hourglass, lengthy and slim, super athletic, pear shaped, apple shaped, and the list goes on… But for now, BRAVA!

    • RichesseSilverFox

      Thank you for that last paragraph. Size discrimination hurts everyone, regardless of their size.

    • Sandra

      Yes, absolutely fantastic. This is a positive step forward. Many of up would fit this plus+sized category and we are just as beautiful as any Vogue model.

      From Sandra at http://meladermcreamhelp.com

    • Natalie

      What I really like about the picture is the size diversity. Two different body types are represented! The clothes look good on everyone! That’s great to see and much more relate-able than all super thin mannequins or more full figured or whatever! I feel like someone is going to bring up racial diversity, but overall, the Swedish people are not especially racially diverse. Although maybe in other parts of the store there are some racially diverse mannequins and we just can’t see them! That would be nice.

    • Payla

      I am a naturally thin person, and over the course of my life people have told me things like ‘Eat a sandwich!’ and overall implied that I have an eating disorder. This offends me to my core because I pride myself on having a very healthy body image and high self esteem. I try to embrace things about my looks and body that I might not love and be optimistic about them. What I always say to those who have such a slim knowledge of anorexia/bulimia that they think a 5″2′, petite 112 pound girl is too thin, when in actuality I’m well within the healthy weight range for my height, is this: CALLING SOMEONE ANOREXIC IS JUST AS OFFENSIVE AS CALLING SOMEONE FAT. Trust me, it is. I definitely don’t get judged for my body even a little bit as much as heavier people do, and I’m grateful for that. I’m not trying to say that thin people have it just as bad as heavy people. I’m trying to say that no one should negatively comment on someone elses body size, big or small.