"He's not fat, he's just big foamed.'


So. Some retailers in the US reckon people like to see clothes displayed on mannequins shaped similarly to themselves. In a country where up to 70 percent of adults are regarded as overweight; that means a few mannequins less like Miranda Kerr and more like … their customers.

ABC’s Good Morning America reports:

Department store mannequins with plus-sized curves have had quite an oversized reaction in the blogosphere. When a user of the online forum Reddit posted a photo of a big boned display model under the heading “Anyone else horrified that they make obese mannequins too now?” it received hundreds of comments and thousands of “up” votes.

This is the plus size mannequin everyone’s talking about.

“Obese people being sold clothes?” said one typical post in favor of the mannequins, “That’s just treating them like people.”

Not everyone is supportive though. A number of commenters are horrified, thinking these ‘realistic’ mannequins will normalize being overweight, and even make it aspirational. With commenter’s fearing that “obese will become the new normal as we try to be politically correct about it.”

Surely it’s just good commercial sense? Retailers are in the business of selling clothes, not changing dietary habits. If a realistic mannequin makes someone think, ‘That top would look nice on me,’ then where’s the problem?

The problem, apparently, is in our minds – some people believe a bigger mannequin is so off-putting, people – even those similarly proportioned, will run a mile, refusing to believe those clothes are for them.

More from Good Morning America:

Ed Gribbin, president of a mannequin manufacturing company, Alvanon, says “There is an ingrained mentality of merchants that clothing in smaller sizes looks more appealing — it’s also why runway models are so small. They believe there is an aesthetic appeal that is violated by using larger sizes in their displays,” he said.

That’s a lot of thinking going on about how shoppers think. And it’s hard to believe that much thought goes into buying a skirt. Speaking personally, I’m not overweight – but I am … oddly constructed with a small waist, stumpy legs (surprisingly fine ankles though) and a beamy arse. I’ve never seen a mannequin, or even a real live model shaped as I am. But somehow, I still manage to buy clothes. I know, like I know the sun will rise tomorrow, that a pencil skirt will not suit me, but a 50s style frock is always worth trying on.

If I saw a mannequin in a window at Westfield shaped as I am, would I race in and buy whatever she’s wearing? Or would I think, ‘Weird-looking girl, she’ll never wear a floor length kaftan?’ and wander away. When we’re shopping, do we see ourselves as we really are, or how we’d like to be?

Would you like to see more realistically shaped mannequins? Do you think they’d help shops sell clothes, or would they turn people off?