I was recently wandering around my local shopping centre, it was payday and I fancied getting myself something to make me feel beautiful. I decided to go into the first shop that had something in the window I liked, cause I’m wild like that.
Only I didn’t see anything. Everything looked so unflattering and not right for me. I couldn’t put my finger on what the problem was.
Then I realised it was the mannequins modelling these outfits. In an age where we can make human synths and attend a meeting in NYC without leaving our London apartment, how have we not yet managed to ditch mannequins?
What’s the issue?
I’ve never really thought about it before but the more I looked the angrier I got. Why on earth do we still use these things? With their insanely long legs, flat tummies, slender arms and perky little boobs. No one looks like that. Don’t get me wrong, this is in no way skinny bashing, I think insulting anyone on their body type is hideous – and that’s why I feel so passionately about this.
There’s not just skinny people or fat people in the world. Our bodies vary in every possible way. You can be short with big hips, or tall with bingo wings, have huge boobs and no bum or have an arse the size of the Blackwall Tunnel. It really doesn’t matter! Your body type should empower you. We should be able to celebrate the things that make our bodies ours and buy the clothing that suits us. Not be made to feel like our bodies are wrong and should be hidden away.
The affect it has on women
I left this shopping centre feeling crap about myself. We’ve all been there; those moments where you hate your body. You sit miserably for a night comparing yourself to every other woman on Instagram and then you move on. Your self confidence slightly chipped away at, yet again.
Well not this time. This time I decided to do a bit of research. According to the Dove Global Beauty and Confidence report (which interviewed 10,500 women and girls in 13 different countries) only 20% of us like the way we look. It also stated that 69% of women and 65% of young girls identified that pressure from advertising is a key factor in their appearance anxiety. So not only is this a huge problem for women, but we’re also raising the next generation to have the same issue.
It’s not just how horrible this makes us feel, it’s how it leads us to behave. If you hate your body and the way you look, it stops you putting yourself forward, meeting new people, making your voice heard. What if low confidence and body anxiety stops a woman going for that promotion, because she feels like she’s not enough?
It’s not just giving you a bad day, it’s holding women back.
Fashion should be empowering
Fashion stores should be aiming to make women feel proud of who they are. They should feel welcome in shops and want to try on and buy clothing. It’s a no-brainer for both the consumer and the retailer.
Getting rid of mannequins would be a big, loud step towards body diversity. Instead of using these faceless plastic moulds, how about using real people? Using images of women of all shapes and sizes to model products? Or even pictures of consumers who’ve actually bought the product and feel amazing in it? Fashion brands have a huge following on social media, why not utilise this? I know so many people who buy things because a fashion blogger has posted a picture of it on Instagram – a woman who’s styled this item of clothing to suit her body type. Someone we feel a connection to.
We should be able to avoid shops that make us feel inferior. We should be able to walk out of anywhere that disapproves of our body type. We should feel confident. Spending our money shouldn’t be choosing between the lesser of two evils; it should only go to brands that realise how beautiful we ALL are.
I want to be persuaded to buy something because of how it looks on someone like me. I’m not interested on how it looks on an inanimate object with an unattainable figure.
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