Photos of Mannequins Speak to a Larger Issue

August 18th 2016

Almie Rose

From fad diets to overzealous photoshopping, women consistently face unrealistic body standards and expectations, but that doesn't mean they can't have a little fun with the absurdity of it all.

Women (and some men) had a moment on Twitter on Thursday when they gleefully tweeted photos of absolutely ridiculous mannequins along with faux-condemnation for "yet another unrealistic expectation" for women.

A heightened sensitivity to body shaming is paving the way for humor.

And while we can all agree that these mannequins are ridiculous and not meant to be taken as literal interpretations of women's bodies, they're not far off from the ridiculousness of actual mannequins.

"The average American woman is 5 feet 4 inches and weighs about 140 pounds," according to an well-cited statistic from The University of Texas at Austin. They also report the average clothing size for American women is between a 12-14.

But the average women's mannequin is not.

It's a size 4-6 (if that). Mannequin sizes are beginning to catch up, but a casual stroll in any mall or shopping district will show you we have a long way to go still.


In 2015, UK-based retailer Topshop first came under fire for its unusually thin mannequins. According to The Daily Mail, when they measured the mannequin, it had "a waist of 25.5in — a size 6." Keep in mind that's a UK size 6, which is a U.S. size 4.

The Topshop mannequins appeared not to have gained any weight since then:

And that actually matters.

When you don't see your body type commonly represented where you live, it can fuel not only insecurity, but eating disorders. "Cultural pressures that glorify 'thinness' or muscularity and place value on obtaining the 'perfect body'" is a factor that may contribute to eating disorders, according to National Eating Disorders Association.