A Nike storefront introduced a size 16 mannequin to their women’s athletic section in London this past week. The mannequin stands strong and curvaceous, stretching for her next work out amongst all the other fit mannequins and advertisements. Finally, a brand is representing actual plus-sized people, rather than slapping a size 6 on their advertisements and calling them plus-sized.
Hopefully advertising this model contributes to breaking the ceiling of who is considered “fit” in society. Many people have taken to Twitter to show they’re proud of Nike for this inclusive display (and rightfully so). However, some people are out there fat shaming mannequins in an alarming fashion.
A journalist for The Telegraph, Tanya Gold, leads the fat shaming internet trolls in her latest article titled, “Obese mannequins are selling women a dangerous lie.” She attacks Nike for marketing an “unhealthy” body type. She even claims Nike is alluring customers into believing fat is “fashionable”.
In her article, Gold describes the mannequin in a sickening way: “She is immense, gargantuan, vast. She heaves with fat. She is, in every measure, obese, and she is not readying herself for a run in her shiny Nike gear. She cannot…” WTF.
First of all, Nike is a global company. They easily have one of the most recognizable brand logos in the world. I mean, Nike has 1,182 store fronts. Yet, they have one plus-sized mannequin. How could one argue they’re promoting obesity?
In addition, who’s to say she couldn’t run or that she was planning on it? Even if she were vamping up to go on a run, she very much still could. Overweight people can run. Like, what are you even saying. Also, running is not the only way to lose weight. She could be gearing up to do a range of physical activity. So, why call her out for potentially not being of good enough health to go on a run? As if all skinny people are in good enough health to do so. We all have a skinny friend who did nothing to get their body and would absolutely never run a day in their life.
Also, typically when people try to lose weight and exercise, they wear activewear. So how would a size 16 person work out if they’re not in comfortable clothing? They need sports bras and leggings too.
Nike is not attempting to promote people gaining extra kilos of fat to wear their merchandise. They’re actually just representing a group of people who are rarely seen in fitness clothing advertisements or displays in stores. Or even advertisements in general, let’s be real.
Nike is trying to expand their margin to include people who need comfy leggings just like anyone else. Plus-sized individuals should feel welcome in all clothing stores, particularly ones with Nike’s global reach. It’s 2019 – a mannequin should not be groundbreaking news.
Having said that, Gold is not alone in promoting this batshit logic. Some people on Twitter have been substantially feeding the fat shaming of Nike’s new display.
Class from Nike showing fat customers how awful yous would look if ye purchased these items. pic.twitter.com/jecDSET1fQ
— RMC (@Rninety6) June 6, 2019
That tweet has thousands of likes and retweets. It’s deeply upsetting. It’s one of the many things you read on social media that makes you want to delete your account right after. Seriously, how are people shaming individuals for being over weight, only to then shame them again for choosing healthy habits? If you’re plus sized, you’re often a victim of constant criticism. Yet, society promotes people to be unhealthily underweight all the time.
According to Nike’s mission statement: “If you have a body, you’re an athlete” – and the company is standing by that notion. Nike introduced their first plus-sized line in 2017 (which is unreasonably recent). Yet they’ve apparently come a long way since then.
Even people who aren’t by definition “plus-sized” struggle walking around an athletic apparel stores only to see advertisements of abs and Kendal Jenner builds. I feel like that kind of marketing is often more discouraging for a consumer who may feel bashful and self conscious wearing clothing they reckon was not meant for their body types.
Plus-size people, you don’t need me to tell you, but you can wear whatever the fuck you want. If you’re out here trying to better yourself and make healthier decisions, there are heaps of bodi-posi people who will support you.
So go off sis, exercise in what makes you feel comfortable. Or ya know, don’t. It’s your choice. But now, at the very least, you have Nike here to represent you. Hopefully, this is just the start.
Image Source: Giphy, The Independent UK