Topshop is drawing criticism based on the size of its mannequins — and it’s not the first time.
A Facebook post by Zoë Mason, a mother in the United Kingdom, draws attention to the negative example that the store’s thin plastic dummies may be setting for children. Mason writes that her daughter was “full of crossness” at the mannequins in Topshop’s store window.
Her daughter brought home a photo of the display, and relayed her daughter’s reaction. “‘I mean, it’s not surprising that so many of my friends think they are fat or just don’t like their bodies. Are girls not meant to be happy whatever size they are? Are we not meant to even f***ing EAT?! I like food. I like to eat good food but LOOK AT THEM, I am so ANGRY,'” Mason wrote on behalf of her daughter.
Mason even want so far as to personally boycott the brand: “I am never shopping there. TOPSHOP need to hear the things I hear when girls talk. It’s places like that making my friends think their bodies aren’t beautiful and that they shouldn’t eat food they love and it makes me want to scream.’”
Commenters on the post mostly agreed with Mason. Helen Pilbeam shared, “They look like victims of famine! It’s not a good look for girls!” Writing of Mason’s daughter, Hayley Trezise said she’s “the generation who is going to make a real change in the fashion industry…really! I’m in admiration of her!
However, Hellen Fellows offered a counterpoint and called the commentary “skinny shaming at its best.” She added, “There are girls out there this size naturally. Body positivity means embracing all shapes and sizes and loving yourself what ever shape you are. Large small whatever.”
Topshop has in fact received so much criticism for their mannequin size in the past that in 2015, the store announced it would change its mannequin policies. At the time, BBC reported that the store would stop ordering “skinny dummies.” The announcement came on the heels of a viral photo that showed what a real girl looked like next to a spindly-legged mannequin. The brand has removed mannequins from stores after past complaints.
This issue may have been bubbling for years, but with the body positive movement stronger than ever, now may be the time to pressure brands for representation.
A representative for Topshop declined to comment.
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