Women's Rights News (Photo : Women's Rights News / Facebook)
For at least a few days now, the shared consciousness of tens of thousands of people who follow news about women's rights has been focused on a clothing store in Sweden --- in particular on two mannequins in the women's undergarment area.
No, it's not the lingerie the two are wearing that's garnered so much attention, but the fact that the two fashion figures are, well, full-figured, including proportions that approximate softer stomachs, fuller thighs and generally more realistic proportions than traditional department store models.
Most mannequins in the U.S. range between slender sizes 4 to 6, while American women on average fit a size 14.
A blogger at Women's Rights News posted a photo of the store mannequins to Facebook on March 12 and by midnight March 16 (Eastern Time) nearly 57,000 Facebook users "liked" the post, more than 17,400 people had shared the photo with others in the social network and just over 3,000 views had commented on the photo. By far, the majority of those who commented on the display liked what they saw.
"Beautiful, no bones sticking out..." wrote one viewer, with another saying, "this is shockingly realistic. I suddenly feel a lot less self-loathing."
Said another supportive Facebook user: "About time. Most people don't look like the mannequins in the stores. They are too thin and well, it discourages me from buying from alot of stores because I won't look like that in the outfit in the window. Now with the new mannequins, I think more people are apt to shop there now."
Shine, the Yahoo! news service that focuses on woman-oriented topics, said it was believed at one point that the mannequins were displayed at H&M in Sweden, but a spokesperson told Shine the image was not taken in the H&M.
"At this time, we are not using this type of mannequin, but we do not rule of the possibility of doing so in the future," the spokesperson said.
Mannequins have been used for thousands of years, but only showed up in store window fashion displays in the 1800s during the Industrial Revolution.
Modern-day mannequins have long been criticized for having tiny proportions. In 2007, British health officials demanded stores in London's high-fashion district stop uber-thin models. Club Monaco suffered the wrath of the women's rights movement in 2010 when it featured mannequins with protruding spines and clavicles.
Then again, a recent study in the Journal of Consumer Research showed women experience a drop in their self-esteem exposed to models of any size.