Saturday, March 16, 2013

Latest Marketing Ploy--More Questions Than Answers



            No doubt about it, the writers for Yahoo Shine know how to rope in a reader. The teaser under the headshot of an attractive young woman was something like: “What’s different about this mannequin?” Oh, so it was a mannequin. I clicked on the pic. 
            I thought the article would be about how a certain H&M store in Sweden is using lifelike robots as mannequins. I was wrong. What’s causing all the buzz—or what has “gone viral” or “set tongues wagging”—is that the mannequins are a lifelike Size 12. In addition to “sparking an internet praise-a-thon,” the use of these mannequins has raised a criticism: “Will this just encourage obesity?”
            I’ll have to say, this particular question was not what first popped into my mind for many reasons. First, Lane Bryant has used “plus-sized,” “full-figured,” or my favorite Precious Ramwotse euphism “traditionally-built” mannequins for years. The concept is not new. I guess what makes these mannequins so special is that they’re being used in a more mainstream venue—a store that caters to the youthful and “hip”—as opposed to the old and hippy. Second, I don’t consider a Size 12 to be obese. A little overweight, maybe, but not to the point of being unhealthy. And when the average size of women these days is a 14—as the article states—a Size 12 could actually be considered the “new small,” couldn’t it? Anyway, that’s the reasoning I’m going with.
            So while the obesity question didn’t occur to me, here are some that did:
·         What’s with the Princess Leia hairdo? I’m so hoping this isn’t a fashion forecast. But maybe because this store is in Sweden, the Viking-opera-singer look works.

·         Why the socks? Are the mannequin’s feet cold, but not her bare legs and midriff? Has she just smeared Vaseline on her heels and doesn't want to get the platform greasy? Are slouchy, stretched-out socks the latest in sexy boudoir attire? If so, I’ve been sexy all this past winter and didn’t even realize it. I don’t think my husband did, either.

·         If this model is supposed to be so lifelike, where’re the muffin tops? I know they claim to make panties that don’t create these, but I’ve yet to find any that follow through on this promise and still stay up without a belt or suspenders.

·         Along this same line, where are the wobbly bits? If we’re truly going for lifelike here, let’s show a little cottage cheese.

·         Why the shawl? Actually, I know the answer to this—to hide the wing-dings. The only time I’ve bared my upper arms in public in the past few years was to go swimming. And I wouldn’t have done it then if they made swimsuits with sleeves.
            Maybe you can answer some of these questions for me. Or maybe you have questions of your own. Or maybe you just don’t give a rip about what marketers tell women they should look like and you’re happy with yourself whatever size you wear. Please comment!
PS If you know where I can find those magic no-muffin-top panties, I'd really love to hear from you!

           

12 comments:

  1. I'm not sure how I feel about this. I'm a plus sized girl so it's not the plus sized (although I'd love to be a size 12 again)manniquin that bothers me. Maybe it's the fact it's making the news at all.

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    1. That was exactly my point in making a joke of this, Jennifer. Is being a Size 12--or any other size for that matter--really that big of an issue?

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  2. The mannequin story came out the same week as the report about Nordic women being leaders in gender equality. Do you think that might have something to do with accepting their bodies since their brains have proven their worth?

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    1. Oooh. I like this answer. And it totally supports the socks and shawl pairing with the sexy underwear. She's wearing them because she WANTS to.

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    2. I saw that article, too, Martha, and I think you might be on to something.

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  3. I can't believe we're even using the term "Size 12" in the same breath with "obese" and "plus size." Please. What cracked me up more than the notion that ANY mannequin actually represents a real woman's shape (any more than a Barbie doll does)was your focus on the rest of the picture and your questions. THAT had me laughing out loud!

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    1. Like the Barbie comparison, Shel. So true!

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  4. I haven't mastered the art of replying on my iphone so this is my second read through of your so funny perspective on manniquin madness. I am thrilled that she has a head and hands (have you seen those?! What is THAT about?) and glad for her that her feet will be warm. Hope we get some real sized models here in Oklahoma!

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    1. Yes, Lisa, I have noticed the headless and handless wonders--creepy! I guess the marketers are trying to give the mannequins a generic appeal, but the last time I checked most women had heads and hands.

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  5. I have to say I am laughing my larger-than-size 12 buttocks off, Dee Dee! I guess people in the fashion industry have been working with toothpicks for so long their perspective of what real people look like is skewed. I think the shawl is to cover bra bulge in the back, because it isn't visible in the front...

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    1. Yes, it occurred to me, too, that that shaw might be doing double duty by hiding "back-fat." (Hate that term, but it is what it is.)

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