Plus-Sized Mannequins Promote Obesity? On What Planet?

Reddit obesity obese plus-sized mannequin

Someone posted this plus-sized mannequin on Reddit, fearing it promotes obesity. Uh, what? | Source: Reddit

A lot of people need plus sized clothing, so to respond, clothing stores started displaying it on plus-sized mannequins. Makes sense, right?

So why are people making a huge deal out of this? On Reddit, which often hosts the best and worst of Internet commenters and trolls, someone posted the above photo of a larger mannequin with the message, “Anyone else horrified that they make obese mannequins too now?”

We’re not sure what’s so horrifying about displaying plus sized clothes on a mannequin that they’re designed to fit. The fact is, most people aren’t a size 00 (the average woman is a 14, and 70 percent of Americans are considered “overweight”), so displaying clothing on tiny mannequins doesn’t really give most shoppers get a good idea of what a particular item will look like on them.

One commenter echoed the idea, which, to us, just sounds like common sense. “OMG, it’s about time! I’ve always hated seeing the size I have to get displayed on a much smaller model, then trying it on to see that it looks completely different on me.”

Of course, there were people who were a lot more judgmental and, frankly, a little ignorant. (The anonymity and freedom of the Interwebs is both a gift and curse.) One genius wrote, “I just fear that obese will become the new normal as we try to be politically correct about it. Being obese is not the same as being black/gay/whatever.”

Well, that’s partially true: Being obese isn’t the same as being black, gay, or whatever “whatever” is. Being obese is a serious health problem, and guess what? Most people who are obese don’t want to be obese. Most people who are obese aren’t thrilled about it. While one could argue that obesity is a treatable and preventable condition, it’s important to remember that most people don’t become and stay obese because they’re happy. Treating obese people like they’re not actually people isn’t going to improve anything, be it their health nor, obviously, their self esteem. And when the latter is so damaged and disregarded, it’s hard for someone to care about improving the former.

Of course, this is all besides the fact that no one who isn’t obese wants to become obese. To suggest that anyone wants to be physically ill is idiotic. If we put mannequins in wheelchairs, is anyone going to suggest that disabled may become the new normal and that we’re all going to amputate our legs to conform? Get over yourself and give me a break.

There’s nothing horrifying about a plus sized mannequin. Unless it comes to life and starts wielding a chain saw, we suggest everyone get over it–and if it bothers you that much, just shut up and shop somewhere else that caters to your superiority complex.

Do you think plus-sized mannequins promote obesity? Do you think obesity is “the new normal?” Do you think mannequins should stay tiny or come in varying sizes? Do you think plus-sized mannequins would help or hurt sales? Do you think they’d make people aspire to be obese? Tell us in the comments!

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  • Lindsey

    I see your point, but I can also see why these mannequins would be a cause for concern. First of all, this has nothing to do with whether obese people like being obese or not. Your argument gets quite sidetracked.

    Secondly, while it is a good thing to have mannequins that are larger sizes, having overweight mannequins definitely worries me. Yes, this is America. Yes, we have people of all shapes and sizes here. But those incredibly common “overweight” people you claim are not overweight at all? Guess what? They’re called overweight for a reason. Just because it is the norm does not mean that it is healthy.

    Take a good look at other countries. Have you ever tried on clothes in Europe? They start at sizes far smaller than ours. Here in America we have “skinny sizing”- our clothing is twice as big as that of the rest of the worlds’ but the sizing fluctuates to make us feel better about ourselves. These mannequins–like skinny sizing–are just another way to make us Americans feel better about how dangerously overweight we’re getting. When somebody overweight looks at an enormous mannequin, they’re likely going to think “Hey, that mannequin looks like I do. Therefore I must be at a normal, healthy weight.” That’s why people think it promotes obesity.

    I’m not trying to prove that these mannequins promote obesity. But before you write an extensive, highly opinionated article on a topic which you know barely anything about, try to see both sides of the situation.

    • Richie

      I agree completely.