Here at The Gloss, we champion diversifying the fashion industry so that it actually represents all women, instead of an extremely narrow representation that’s unattainable for most bodies. In this conversation, we normally talk about the models on the runway (primarily white, rarely over a size 0), or the endemic airbrushing that advertisers love to feed us as MAKEUP FREE or ALL NATURAL. We also talk about the glaring lack of clothing available over a size 12, and the emphasis on “straight sizes” over “plus sizes.” I wait for the day that we just call it “sizes.”
Here’s something we don’t often talk about because I spend too much time getting enraged about clothes and models to notice much else: mannequins. And why shouldn’t we talk about mannequins when we talk about expanding our concept of the ideal woman? These humanoid plastic monsters play a huge role in contributing to our image of women and women’s bodies, considering we see them as often as we see billboards or commercials.
The UK is leading the way under the command of Jo Swinson, a British MP and Minister for Women and Equalities of the UK’s Government Equalities Office. Swinson is pushing for plus-size and petite mannequins—both horribly underrepresented in advertising and clothing manufacturing—to be put into stores. As she puts it: “Retailers should show diversity in shapes and sizes to reflect the reality of women walking down the street. Showing real body shapes would only enhance people’s body confidence.”
Well said. Here’s to hoping that Swinson’s campaign is successful, and that the US takes a lesson from the UK. We need to focus on including body diversity everywhere where it’s lacking, and mannequins are no exception.
Photo: Getty Images