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Social Issues
A Swedish Department Store Is Using Mannequins That Aren’t Super Slim
March 19, 2013
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Swedish Mannequins.jpg
Photo: Rebecka Silvekroon

Here's something you typically don't see in the window of a clothing store - a mannequin that isn't super slim.

This photo was initially taken by a blogger in Sweden named Rebecka Silvekroon and was recently picked up by Women's Rights News, which posted it on its Facebook page.

"Store mannequins in Sweden," the post said. "They look like real women. The U.S. should invest in some of these."

Since then, the photo has generated more than 60,000 Facebook Likes (as of this writing) and thousands of comments.

Quick observation: a lot of stories refer to these mannequins as "plus-sized". If that's plus-sized, we need to rethink the meaning of plus and size.

The mannequins are being used by Åhléns, a Scandinavian department store chain.

Silvekroon tells Quartz Magazine she was happy to see this kind of mannequin display, rather than those with waists "almost as skinny as [her] shin".

Others share her concern that too many mannequins portray an unrealistic and unhealthy body image.

a-swedish-department-store-is-using-mannequins-that-aren't-super-slim-feature2.jpg As the L.A. Times reports, a woman named Stephanie Marcus complained a few years ago about mannequins "that were so scrawny that their spines were visible."

In 2011, Boing Boing editor Cory Doctorow posted a photo of "a dangerously emaciated" mannequin that was showing off a company's "Always Skinny" line.

And Florida psychotherapist Dae Sheridan started a petition on, asking another company to remove dummies, who resembled "two malnourished poles with jeans on them."

The petition says, "Super-thin images of unrealistic "perfection" are everywhere and lead healthy, beautiful girls to feel 'less than.' That internalized pressure, stress and shame leads to irrational thoughts about their bodies and a decreased sense of self-worth."

In a blog for The Washington Post, journalist Delia Lloyd wrote this about the mannequins in Sweden...

"An in-your-face message about the need to project more realistic, healthy body images to women and girls might easily have been lost, had the appetite (no pun intended) to hear it not run so deep," she says.

"But it's an encouraging sign of the times that we're beginning to push back against the anorexic ideal that is so deeply embedded in our commercial and cultural aesthetic."

Lloyd also points out that in 2007, "British health officials demanded that stores in London's fashionable "High Street" shops stop using stick-thin models in an effort to reflect the wide range of sizes and shapes of British women."

And she says Displaysense, a mannequin wholesaler, has reported "a surge in sales of mannequins above size 12."

Rebecka Silvekroon, who took the photo, says "it would be nice if [the blog] got retailers to start using real, beautiful women in their commercials, catwalks and stores."

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