One woman's Facebook post sparked a majorly positive change at Topshop
Victory! Topshop may start diversifying the sizes of their mannequins, all thanks to one woman’s post on Facebook.
British shopper Laura Berry posted a picture on Topshop’s Facebook page of a mannequin she saw in one of their stores earlier this month along with a 500-word plea to the store asking them to get rid of the style of mannequin in question. She called the figure, “quite frankly ridiculously shaped.” Saying, “Not one mannequin in your store showed anything bigger than a size 6.” She said the whole thing caused her to use her “size 10/12 legs to walk straight out of your store.”
Berry explained that the mannequin could be harmful to young women, who are already regularly bombarded with Photoshopped and altered body images. The post has over 3,700 likes and nearly 400 comments, as of Tuesday morning.
“I’m calling you out Topshop, on your lack of concern for a generation of extremely body conscious youth,” Berry wrote. “I’m old enough and wise enough to know I will never be this size, but as we’ve all been impressionable teens at one point, I’m fairly certain if any of us were to witness this in our teenage years, it would have left us wondering if that was what was expected of our bodies.”
To their credit, Topshop didn’t take the complaint lightly. They responded with a comment on the image a day after Berry posted it.
Topshop explained that the mannequin is a standard UK size 10 (US size 6-8), but it’s taller than the average woman at 187 cm (over 6 feet). The body form, they said, is also, “stylized to have more impact in store.” And logistically, mannequins need to be in certain dimensions to make it easy to maneuver clothes. Because of that factor, they’re “not meant to be a representation of the average female body.”
Also, we should totally mention that we fully understand that some women naturally have body types like the mannequin in question. The issue really is the continual perpetuation of a standard of beauty that just isn’t naturally conducive to most people’s bodies.
Although the mannequins were provided by a company that’s been working with stores for 30 years, Topshop is changing their orders based on the size concerns that Laura mentioned.
“[G]oing forward we are not placing any further orders on this style of mannequin,” they wrote.
While most of the replies to the comment from Topshop are people saying they do NOT believe this mannequin is a size 10 we still think the focus should be on the change that Topshop has committed to make. This is a big move from a major clothing store. Topshop’s quick decision and announcement shows that they’re paying attention to what their customers are saying — and taking complaints (and body image and acceptance) seriously.
Of course, this wasn’t the first time a store came under fire for using super skinny mannequins, and it likely won’t be the last. Last year, La Perla announced that they would be removing mannequins with visible ribs after complaints. In March, the store Whistles apologized (with remarkably similar language to Topshop) for using mannequins with visible chest bones. And last month, New Look in the UK announced they would take down a super-skinny mannequin.
All of this is a reminder of our personal power, and the importance of speaking up. Each of these in-store changes was made because someone pointed out the mannequins and the expectations they perpetuate. Berry wasn’t just complaining for herself — she was looking out for any young woman who shops at the store. By simply calling out irresponsible behavior, she was able to enact an awesome change.
[Images via Facebook]