This month a photo featuring plus-size Swedish mannequins shown above went viral gaining thousands of ‘likes’, Models Direct review the story…
Readers of the TM blog may have seen our recent Models Direct Review ‘Perfect’ Models Reduce Product Sales. It discussed the ways in which some brands are beginning to change their approach to advertising as a response to studies around consumer behaviour.
There is now an abundance of evidence to suggest that consumers react more positively to ‘real’ models than the size zero variety that we have all become used to seeing over the years. And many studies imply that skinny models actually reduce, rather then increase, product sales.
On the 12th March, just two weeks after the latest research from Warwick Business School had appeared to confirm these revelations, an image featuring the plus-size Swedish mannequins shown above went viral. It has since triggered thousands of responses on Facebook and way over 100,000 likes.
HLN News (formerly known as CNN) spoke to plus-size fashion blogger and “body-image crusader” Cathy Benavides, about how this evolving European approach to body-image and consumerism differs from attitudes across the pond.
HLN: “Would mannequins like the Swedish ones ever be used in major U.S. department stores? If not, why not?”
Cathy Benavides: “I think it would be a VERY long time before we ever saw anything but straight-sized mannequins in a major U.S. store, [its] mainstream fashion culture is very intent on selling dreams and fantasy as opposed to reality. This is why mannequins are thin, ads and magazine covers are airbrushed, and plus sizes are relegated to the back of the store or the Internet.”
HLN: “How does the European attitude about body image differ from that of America’s?”
CB: “I think Europe has always been more comfortable with a realistic view of bodies. Again, America wants the dream and the fantasy of “perfection.” Europe is more accepting and inclusive when it comes to their views toward women’s bodies, and they are quicker to celebrate and embrace the many shapes and sizes of the female form.”
HLN: “Is the average mannequin that we see in U.S. stores damaging to women’s self esteem? Why?”
CB: “I don’t know if I want to say that a mannequin can damage a woman’s self-esteem; that’s a lot of blame to heap on a hunk of plaster. But I think it’s indicative of the disconnect between the reality of the majority of women’s bodies and the fantasy we are sold. It’s disheartening and frustrating to see items on a mannequin that is shaped nothing like you. And it can make for a meltdown in the dressing room when nothing looks “right” on your body. In a perfect world, I’d love to see real variety in clothing displays — slender, curvy, short, tall, busty, flat-chested … that would be real progress!”
We couldn’t agree more! And on this side of the Atlantic, thankfully, it appears to be becoming more of a reality on a daily basis.