Nike has finally accepted that most women don’t fit in the Size 0 body type and to prove it the brand has introduced full-figured mannequins at its flagship store in London. The mannequins were dressed in sportswear for a campaign that aims to broaden Nike’s reach to athletes of all sizes.
The problem is that critics are claiming the mannequins have been taken to the other extreme and are not a healthy curvy but are an unhealthy obese.
The internet is also divided. It is indeed a step in the right direction when a renowned sportswear brand that market its product only for a typical thin build is offering new options for those who don’t fit the profile. It is a rarity even in today’s day and age that brands that talk about inclusiveness, go beyond social media campaigns and actually put forward a range on display that calls for acceptance.
The company unveiled the curvy mannequins last week at the opening of a floor of the store dedicated to women’s apparel.
“To celebrate the diversity and inclusivity of sport, the space will not just celebrate local elite and grassroot athletes through visual content, but also show Nike plus size and para-sport mannequins for the first time on a retail space,” Nike said in a press release, CNN reported.
Though Nike launched a women’s plus-size range in 2017, the brand has now followed retailers such as Old Navy and Nordstorm in displaying size-inclusive mannequins.
So you’re saying bigger people shouldn’t/can’t exercise? Or is it that they don’t deserve to wear expensive gear while they do it?
To me #Nike is encouraging larger people to exercise & feel included in & seen by the fitness community.
— Aletta (@Lettybird) June 10, 2019
While most people are impressed by Nike’s move to introduce a different narrative, some critics have raised eyebrows about the introduction of these ‘obese’ mannequins and termed it as an attempt to normalize unhealthy body weight.
Opinion writer Tanya Gold of Telegraph has slammed Nike’s marketing move, claiming that Nike was appealing to “obese” women with the new mannequins.
Gold wrote that the mannequin did not represent a “healthy-sized woman, but rather one that is immense, gargantuan and vast.” She added that the woman the mannequin represented would most likely be pre-diabetic and unhealthy from the effects of her obesity.
Tanya Gold: 'The new mannequin is obese, and she is not readying herself for a run in her shiny Nike gear. She cannot run. She is, more likely, pre-diabetic and on her way to a hip replacement. What terrible cynicism is this on the part of #Nike?' https://t.co/51VmvUCxLE
— The Telegraph (@Telegraph) June 9, 2019
We feel Gold’s argument falls short as many women with plus-size body types struggle to shed off extra fat. This should have been a welcome change, that somebody is challenging the norms just as brands are now accepting plus-size models. Body inclusivity is not about normalisizing obesity, as no one has ever questioned that standard mannequin size, which was formerly 0. It’s hypocritical to call out on women who are trying to adapt a healthy lifestyle through exercise.
It’s time to embrace and celebrate all body types and negate all societal pressures to conform to a certain figure (either skinny or fat), instead work towards healthy goals as projected by the brand.