A photo of two fuller-figured Swedish mannequins is taking the Internet by storm after being shared by Women’s Rights News on their Facebook page last week. “Store mannequins in Sweden. They look like real women,” says the caption. “The US should invest in some of these.”
According to the LA Times, the mannequins were located at Swedish retailer Åhléns and are receiving praise for more closely resembling “normal” physiques than typical department store mannequins. As of Wednesday, over 62,000 Facebook users had “liked” the photo and another 19,000 had shared it.
Since going viral, the image has stirred a fresh debate about body image and the role retailers can play in shaping unrealistic expectations of beauty. According to Yahoo Shine, most American store mannequins are a slender size 4-6, whereas the average American woman is a size 14.
“I like seeing more realistic versions of women,” commented one Facebook user on Women’s Rights News’s photo. “We are not all a size 4 and never will be. Acceptance of women in all shapes and sizes is what we need.”
Said another, “Love it, but they definitely could be even more realistic, showing the true average size of women — or let’s have a variety!”
Although there’s a long way to go, the Swedish mannequins are certainly a step in the right direction (and a definite improvement from Gap’s famously emaciated-looking mannequin to promote the retailer’s “Always Skinny” line back in 2011).
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Tell us what you think. How can retailers help to improve unrealistic body image expectations?