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!