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Author:  Spender [ Tue Mar 12, 2013 3:41 am ]
Post subject:  Mannequins

These are store mannequins in Sweden:

Mannequins.jpg [ 19.54 KiB | Viewed 13519 times ]

What do you think?

Author:  komich [ Tue Mar 12, 2013 11:57 am ]
Post subject:  Re: Mannequins

I like them. They look like some real (healthy!) women that I actually know. I'd like to see a little more range in size and shape with mannequins than that but that's better than most I see. At least those have a little bit of a belly and have substantial thighs.

Author:  delenda [ Tue Mar 12, 2013 1:28 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: Mannequins

I LOVE this. They look like real women. Like, actual human beings. And when I buy clothing, I want to know how it looks on an actual human being, not bull clipped skin tight on a life-size barbie doll.

I wish more store would adapt to this! That being said, they're likely much more expensive.

Author:  vanillaa [ Tue Mar 12, 2013 3:02 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: Mannequins

Wow, they actually look like people. I recently noticed that shops often clip the clothes round the back of the mannequins to make them tighter and fit them better - the mannequins are actually too skinny for the clothes. Soooo why not use more normal mannequins like these?!

Author:  smythie [ Tue Mar 12, 2013 3:31 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: Mannequins

^^Oh how I long for the day that mannequins like this will be the norm as opposed to the exception.

Author:  Persephone [ Tue Mar 12, 2013 3:43 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: Mannequins

These are in Sweden.

Author:  Spender [ Thu Mar 14, 2013 11:36 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: Mannequins

And the world starts answering back:

Swedish Mannequins Cause a Controversy

An H&M clothing store in Sweden is being hailed by women around the world after a photo of two surprisingly curvy mannequins there were photographed and posted online.

Dressed in skimpy lingerie, the mannequins displayed softer stomachs, fuller thighs and generally more realistic proportions than the traditional department store models. For comparison, most mannequins in the U.S. are between a svelte size 4 or 6—a departure from the average American woman who is a size 14.

On Tuesday, a blogger at I Am Bored posted a photo of the mannequins to Facebook and the response was overwhelming. "It's about time reality hit..." wrote out of almost 2,500 commentators. "Anybody saying these mannequins encourage obesity or look unhealthy, you have a seriously warped perception of what is healthy. I guarantee the "bigger" mannequin in the front there represents a perfect BMI" wrote another. As of Thursday, the photo had garnered almost 50,000 likes and shared almost 15,000 times. That's a lot of attention for a hunk of fiber glass and plastic.

Mannequins have been around for thousands of years but their function in fashion is fairly recent, first appearing in store windows in the 1800s during the Industrial Revolution when window panes were installed in stores to display the latest fashion trends. Throughout WW1 and the Depression, mannequins changed their outfits and body proportions to reflect society at that time. Cut to the 1960s, when British mannequin firm Rootstein began modeling their dolls after pop culture and fashion icons to reflect runway trends at the time.

Modern-day mannequins have long been critiqued for having tiny proportions. In 2007, British health officials demanded that stores on London's fashionable High Street stop using stick-thin models in an effort to reflect the wide range of sizes and shapes of British women. In 2010, Club Monaco came under fire for featuring mannequins with protruding spines and clavicles. And in 2011, GAP was chastised by bloggers for mannequins with bone-thin legs modeling the "Always skinny" jeans display. “I'm wondering what the internal project name for this was at Gap HQ,” wrote one blogger. "Death-camp chic’? ‘Ana Pride’? ‘Famine fashion forward?"

And male mannequins haven't escaped scrutiny either. In 2010, Rootstein debuted male dolls under their "Young and Restless" collection modeled after teenage boys with 35-inch chests and 27-inch waists. The company had to defend its decision to use smaller models to eating disorders groups.

As much as the public contests these down-sized mannequins, when designers have attempted to create dolls that reflect real-life proportions they're met with criticism, even disgust. In late 2012, when a Reddit user posted a photo of an "obese mannequin" in satire, commentary ranged from "Ew, fat people", "It's embarrassing how obese America is" and the amusing, "He's not fat, just big foamed."

A recent published in the Journal of Consumer Research shows that women's self esteem takes a nosedive when exposed to models of any size, so maybe there is no easy answer. But as long as mannequins are influencing people to buy fashion, reflecting real-life bodies is a step in the right direction.


Author:  Spender [ Thu Mar 14, 2013 11:40 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: Mannequins

And just in case you thought the purpose of those mannequins was just to sell you unrealistic dreams of what you "should" look like and wear, try out this disturbing new development:

The Mannequins Are Watching You

A well-dressed, picture-perfect mannequin stands still in a middle of a department store. She looks like any other life-size figure you've seen in stores for so long, except she can see and hear.

No, she isn't Kim Catrall and, no, we're not describing that 1987 movie "Mannequin." An Italian company, by the name of Almax, has created a bionic mannequin of sorts.

It has cameras for eyes, audio recording capabilities, an embedded computer to analyze shoppers' faces, and a modem to upload the data to a server. Called the EyeSee Mannequin, it's meant to provide more data to retailers and department stores about shoppers, says its creator.

"The EyeSee can tell if a shopper is male or female, his or her age range, how much time you spent looking at it and its outfit," Max Catanese, the CEO of Almax, told ABC News. The EyeSee can also tell the ethnicity of shoppers.

The goal, as you might assume, is for stores to know more about who is shopping and looking at the displays. How long you looked at one mannequin versus others, how many types of shoppers come into the store, etc.

"The potential is huge. A store can really know who their client is. Let's say you have eight floors and six floors are for women and two are for men, but you find out 80 percent of the shoppers are male. You want to change the ratio and switch it," Catanese said. The computer inside the mannequin captures data about each of the shoppers it sees and then uploads that to a portal, so that the store can see the statistics.

But while it feels like spying and a real invasion of privacy, it's not meant to be, says Catanese. The EyeSee does not store any images or record video. It also doesn't record audio, though it will have the ability to listen for trends soon.

"It might capture soon the keywords between people. Say, you are in front of a mannequin with a blue dress, and you say to your friend, 'It would be wonderful to have it in red,' " he said. "It will capture the words and analyze the words; not record it."

So, when will these mannequins start analyzing you? They might already be. Not only does Almax sell the EyeSee to stores oversees, it already has one client in the U.S. "It is already in some stores in the U.S., but I cannot disclose the client."

Of course, many stores don't beleive in tracking shoppers in this way. Bloomberg reports that stores like Nordstrom and Benetton are not sold on the technology. Almax will be showcasing the high-tech mannequin in New York City in early December, hoping to get more stores to feature them.

When asked if the mannequin could analyze faces or emotions, Cantese said, "There is some technology that is starting to give data like that, but it isn't advanced enough to give information about happiness, etc. In the future we will have it."

Let's just hope in the future those mannequins don't also get an update that allows them to love. If we remember correctly, that's the part that got the mannequin in the 1987 movie in trouble.


Author:  Spender [ Fri Mar 15, 2013 7:29 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: Mannequins

And the debate gets bigger: now, a historical look at mannequins.

(Potential Trigger Warning: photos of mannequins from the 1920's to 90's, and they started to get very, very skinny by the 60's.)

The skinny on mannequin sizes (Hint: they’re too skinny to menstruate)
March 15, 2013

A Swedish clothing store creates more realistic mannequins and the Internet collectively loses its shit. The photo (right) was shared earlier this week on Facebook by Women’s Rights News and gathered more than 2800 comments, 16,000 shares, and 50,000 likes. As Yahoo! Shine writer Elise Sole noted, “That’s a lot of attention for a hunk of fiber glass and plastic.”

The photo seemed to strike a nerve given the increase in the average size of American women and the simultaneous decrease in the proportions of mannequins. Those hunks of plastic and fiberglass represent a very tiny fragment of the female population. They are generally Caucasian, young, and very, very thin. Because they are infinitely malleable and don’t have to rely on biological constraints, mannequins give fashion designers a way to portray what they think is the ideal female form.

These newer mannequins still represent an ideal (blonde, busty, young, hourglass-shaped), but they seem to represent a more realistic ideal for many women. They look like they have a reasonable amount of body fat. Also, I love the color and cut of the lingerie, though I generally go more for comfort.

I was discussing this on the Academy for Eating Disorders’ Facebook page, when one of the site mods cited one of her favorite research studies: “Could Mannequins Menstruate?” Tetyana at Science of EDs posted the link, and I decided that I might blog about the subject since it seemed to interest so many in the ED community.

Two Finnish researchers, Minna Rintala and Pertti Mustajoki, noted that women needed, on average, at least 17% body fat to begin menstruating and 22% for regular cycles. Using measurements of actual women, the researchers took measurements of a variety of mannequins from Finnish museums in an attempt to calculate their percentage body fat. They found mannequins from the 20s, 30s, 50s, 60s, and 90s, and measured arm, thigh, waist, and hip circumference on the mannequins (see photo below).

The pre-WWII mannequins had levels of body fat that were consistent with those seen in a healthy, college population: 23% to 32%. Starting in the 1950s, however, the estimated body fat on the mannequins decreased significantly, such that by the 1990s, a significant number of mannequins would not have sufficient body fat to menstruate if they were, you know, actual people.

The authors had a very interesting conclusion for this shift in ideal body shape:

Why is the idealised weight so low? From the history of fashion we can see that during times of scarcity wide skirts with plenty of material were fashionable. When plenty of material was available the skirts were short and narrow. Similarly, being fat was socially desirable in times when there was a shortage of food. Now, in societies with excess food the ideal body shape is extremely thin. It seems that things difficult to achieve are pursued.

old-mannequins.jpg [ 62.89 KiB | Viewed 13483 times ]

ED Bites

Author:  Spender [ Fri Mar 15, 2013 7:42 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: Mannequins

I actually have a different take on why the glamourisation of "skinny" began in the '50s and has become more and more extreme. During WWII, women in many western countries ended up taking work that was considered at the time to be traditional "man's work", including manufacturing, construction, even clerical work.

Come the end of the war and soldiers returning home, men "needed" jobs, and many women were not keen to give up their independence and trade it in for childcare, housework, grocery shopping. Governments actually promoted campaigns depicting "feminine" women as mothers and housewives and women who worked were decried for taking jobs away from men - the breadwinners. It was also during this time that a significant increase in medications like valium and other "relaxants" were prescribed increasingly to women in the home.

Despite these efforts, women never really left universities and workplaces, and slowly continued their encroachment on "men's work", with less success in trades than in fields like administrative work, for example. Social thin-spiration serves a number of purposes: it diverts attention from just growing up, studying and ultimately seeking work in a wide range of professions, but it also renders underweight people less capable of clear cognition and exerting the physical strength required for heavy work.

Women's average incomes as a proportion of men's in North American generally hit about 77 cents on the dollar in the 1970's, and has hovered within a penny or two of that since then, while also since that time, skinny imagery has reached the height of idolisation. In addition, clothing is easier to design on underweight frames, and emaciated models show clothing in much the same way as it would look on the hangers in the stores.

What is interesting now is the increase in men reporting and developing eating disorders, and where that fits in the larger social fabric, because these things do not occur in the fashion industry in isolation from the economy and political order.

Any ideas?

Author:  delenda [ Fri Mar 15, 2013 7:42 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: Mannequins

I wonder if the male equivalent of these would be as popular a subject.

Author:  Spender [ Fri Mar 15, 2013 8:20 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: Mannequins

Actually, I saw some photos of heavier male mannequins, but I didn't post them because the comments were so freaking awful - so ugly and critical. I'll try to find them again.

Author:  Spender [ Sat Mar 16, 2013 4:04 am ]
Post subject:  Re: Mannequins

So here we have it, the male mannequin which sparked outrage on Reddit and a debate across the wires.

Male Mannequin.jpg
Male Mannequin.jpg [ 23.63 KiB | Viewed 13468 times ]

Here are a couple of examples of responses:

Obesity: Reddit Users Debate Merits of Supersized Mannequins

By LIZ NEPORENT (@lizzyfit)
Nov 28, 2012

Department store mannequins with plus-sized curves have had quite an oversized reaction in the blogosphere. When a user of the online forum Reddit posted a photo of a big boned display model under the heading "Anyone else horrified that they make obese mannequins too now?" it received hundreds of comments and thousands of "up" votes.

"Obese people being sold clothes?" said one typical post in favor of the mannequins. "That's just treating them like people."

"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," read another supportive comment.

And another said in defense of the mannequin: "It's not fat, it's just big foamed."

Not everyone on the site agreed that bigger is better.

"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," one commented.

Another wrote, "The problem is that most people who are fat take any medically accepted way of reducing their weight as ridicule. They then attempt to dissemble said fact and prove to you how they are a special case and that you are really being judgmental for assuming that it's the doughnuts they are chugging that are making them fat. Sorry, I'm done with the fat people sympathy wagon."

The online debate reflects a real-world conflict. Nearly 70 percent of Americans now fall into the overweight or obese category, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. The average American woman is a size 14. Yet in a sort of reverse vanity sizing, the typical store mannequin remains a svelte size 4 or 6.

Ed Gribbin, president of a mannequin manufacturing company, Alvanon, said he thinks he knows why.

"There is an ingrained mentality of merchants that clothing in smaller sizes looks more appealing -- it's also why runway models are so small. They believe there is an aesthetic appeal that is violated by using larger sizes in their displays," he said.

According to Jennifer Thomas, a body image expert and assistant professor of psychology at Harvard Medical School, retailers may be right in hesitating before they upsize their displays.

"Walking into a store and seeing nice clothes on a mannequin that has a body type similar to your own could be a huge boost for self-esteem, but it might also backfire," she said. "A lot of fashion is aspirational, such that people hope they will look like the mannequin if they buy the clothes. In our society, most people would rather be thin than obese."

According to Gribbin, some retailers are beginning to fatten up their floor models in response to consumer feedback.

"They certainly don't want to be seen as passing judgment on anyone and plus sizes are now the majority of sales for many," he said.

Besides the unnamed store in the Reddit post, J.C. Penney quietly introduced more amply proportioned models in its stores in 2009 and TV retailer QVC has been using Alvanon's size 18 and 20 mannequins to hawk clothing on air for the past six years.

Gribbin estimates the mannequin in the Reddit post would wear a plus size 24-26. That's probably larger than most retailers would be willing to display.

Either way, most Reddit users do seem to agree the model is creepy -- and it would seriously benefit from having a larger head, less sausage-like fingers and more realistic proportions.

As one commenter put it, "It's like the person who made this has never seen a fat person before."
ABC News

Obese Mannequin

Last week, Reddit was ground zero for the latest battle royale in the war on fat. It’s bad enough that society has such a low tolerance for heavy women on television and the big screen, but now we can’t even stomach the sight of heavy mannequins in our stores. When a user posted a photo of a larger-than-average mannequin along with the comment, "Anyone else horrified that they make obese mannequins too now?" the Internet responded with hatred.

People were actually angry about the mannequins, and many commented on their size. The whole thing ignited a heated debate on whether or not overweight people can ever be healthy and whether or not overweight mannequins can in some way promote an "obese lifestyle."

Why does it bother people so much that mannequins are made to reflect the size of the people wearing the clothes? It's kind of ridiculous and sheer fantasy when you go into a plus-sized shop and all the clothes are pinned to smaller-sized mannequins. It doesn't give an accurate idea of what the clothes will look like on. Are we just a society in denial? Would we prefer that we all go through life Photoshopped, and if we can’t be molded to fit the impossible standards, we should be locked away like Quasimodo in a tower?

We cannot keep lying to ourselves about obesity. It is real, and the sooner we face it and try to get healthy, the sooner we will all be better off. Getting mad because mannequins are fat is not the answer. Heavyset mannequins are not the problem. They are only a symptom of the problem.

We need to get mad and motivated that we are becoming unhealthier as a nation and do something proactive about it. It’s like the old saying, "Hate the sin, not the sinner." I say, hate the unhealthy lifestyle, not the plus-sized mannequin that's just a reflection of what so many Americans look like today.

Do overweight mannequins offend you?

The Stir

Author:  komich [ Sat Mar 16, 2013 9:30 am ]
Post subject:  Re: Mannequins

^ I don't like that one but not because of his body being too large, it's because his head looks disproportionally small for his frame. Not terribly so but enough....

Author:  Persephone [ Mon Mar 18, 2013 4:11 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: Mannequins

Here's another post about the female ones:

Mannequin Panic

Reader Melissa clued me into Swedish Mannequins slightly larger than the typical size 4 that we see in the United States that have started a crapstorm of people falling all over each other to wring their hands and shriek about “promoting obesity”.

We’ve already discussed the thoroughly ridiculous idea of promoting obesity and it’s just as dumb now as it was then.

Also, I’m actually fat – right at this moment. I’ve not the inclination toward nudism and over-sized burlap sacks chafe, so I find myself with a need to buy clothing in my actual, right at this moment, size. It would be just dandy if the mannequin modeling those clothes could even fit into the smallest size at the store, let alone my actual size. I don’t believe that this would make me fatter, I do believe it would make me more likely to try on clothes that I ultimately buy while becoming less homicidal throughout the shopping process.

I think that it is vital that we stop calling these ideas, derived by rectal pull as far as I can tell, to be valid public health interventions just because they say “anti-obesity,” as if that’s some kind of magical password that renders science, research, logic, and basic human respect irrelevant and unnecessary.

Where is there good research to suggest that very thin mannequins lead to thin people or to healthy people (remembering, of course, that these are two separate things?) Where is there good research to suggest mannequins in a size 8 somehow cause people to become larger? How is it logical that fat people will become happier, healthier and thinner as long as they never see people or inanimate objects who look like them? Basically this entire idea – that the best thing we can do for fat people is purposefully create a world without positive representations of them - is an unsubstantiated claim rooted in size bigotry.

Even if this research existed, the idea would still be problematic – is it ethical to try to make people healthier by creating a world that is designed to make them hate themselves and feel hopeless about their future unless they are able to change their body size? Then, of course, there is the added layer of the fact that the vast majority of those who try to change their body size fail? Among those who succeed, even if their physical health was better, would their mental health ever recover?

This is why I think it’s so important that we put representations of ourselves out there using the means that we have at our disposal – Facebook, blogs, forums, media appearances, wherever we can get ourselves out there. It can also be extremely affirming to look at images of people who look like us to remember that what we are spoon-fed by the media is a stereotype of beauty that is artificially narrow and limited and, thanks to digital retouching, is unattainable by everyone – often including the people in the pictures. Here are some places where you can check out awesome fatty images – if I’ve missed any (and I’m sure that I have) please feel free to add them in the comments!

Dances with Fat

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