28 November 2012
Why Are Plus-Size Mannequins So Disproportional?
I am all in favor of stores using plus-size mannequins in order to appeal to varied shoppers. Like I've said before, the average woman in America is just not a size 2, but rather a 14. I don't care how good an outfit looks on a teeny mannequin with boy hips and no ta-tas. I don't look like that so unfortunately no matter how phenomenal something may look on that asexual piece of plastic, it doesn't really help me at all.
In the past couple of years a few stores here and there have adopted larger mannequins, mainly JCPenny. But the problem is every time I see such a mannequin that is supposed to attract those over a size 12, said pieces of plastic look like body builders gone wrong. Their shoulders are way too wide, their arms too skinny, their bellies square, their heads the size of a peanut and their fingers the shape of extra large Italian sausages (the ones you get at the grocery store, not the kind you find in Rome). They look like what you'd get if you took a fat woman, made her drink loads of protein powder until a third of her fat turned to muscle and then used a shrinking machine to reduce the size of her face to something that should belong to a child. Actually, that's inaccurate, because the figure doesn't even look like a woman at all, but rather a highly unattractive male -- one who is supposed to make a women's size 24 pair of jeans looks good.
Today someone posted the above photo on the forum Reddit with a caption that asked, "Anyone else horrified that they make obese mannequins too now?" The comment received an overload of commentary, both positive and negative. Blatant diet fiends were obviously in agreement, bashing overweight people as a whole and openly saying things like, "Fat people hide behind a safety net of health problems to justify the way they look. Why can't they just admit they pig out on donuts?" The ignorance of this statement is almost laughable. If these people knew even a smidge about medicine, they'd know that illnesses like polycystic ovaries or glandular abnormalities can cause people to become overweight whether they eat donuts or not. But regardless, if someone wants to eat donuts and be fat whose business is it to judge? There were of course many positive reactions to the mannequin, and several people defended the use of plus-size mannequins being used in stores. They saw this as a journey toward weight acceptance and praised whatever business used that mannequin for taking a risk. But like me, there were some who just couldn't believe that THAT plastic doll is supposed to be emblematic of an actual human being.
Sorry but I don't know anyone who looks like that. And I'm disturbed by the fact that someone somewhere thinks plus-size means looking half like a body builder and half like someone whose suffered serious physical mutations from radiation poisoning. Fat people don't look like this! Usually if someone is fat, they are most definitely not square are butch looking. Chances are they are soft and round and have youthful features. If someone made a mannequin of me and had it look like that I would be immensely offended. And if I went to a store and saw that thing wearing a dress, I wouldn't think, "Oh this will look good on me because it looks good on this creature."
I guess what I am saying is that while the idea of plus-size mannequin usage is a good one, and certainly a beneficial one for the advancement of plus-size acceptance, portraying plus-size people as these deformed things is definitely NOT good or useful. It gives the wrong impression of what plus-size looks like. It gives the wrong impression of what fat is. I don't doubt that whoever put this mannequin up in their store had good intentions, but truly what they need is to find a new mannequin maker who has actually seen a fat chick, because whoever made this obviously lives in some scary skinny-centric universe and has only ever heard about fat people from story books or on the radio.