Nike last week debuted a revamped Oxford Street store in London that included a floor featuring plus-sized mannequins. While the move was widely cheered as a move in the right direction, one author was unimpressed and took it upon herself to pen an opinion column, which she surely knew would be heaped with scorn.
Laying it on thick for the Telegraph, Tanya Gold wrote, “The new Nike mannequin is not size 12, which is healthy, or even 16, a hefty weight, yes, but not one to kill a woman. She is immense, gargantuan, vast. She heaves with fat. She is, in every measure, 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?”
In the column she concludes, “The word ‘fat’ should not be a slur. But it should be a warning. So, it worries me to see Nike, who promote athleticism, treating the obese model as potentially healthy in the cause of profit. It is as cruel as telling women that the child ballet dancer and the porn body are ideal.”
Mission accomplished, it appears Gold’s article was covered by more publications than Nike’s original announcement about the store.
In addition to a plethora of publications, former Nike head of apparel (2000-2006) Mindy Grossman responded to the article on LinkedIn, where she wrote, “Reading the very polarizing comments on LinkedIn about the plus size mannequins in the Nike store in London have me one part angry and one part resolute. Angry because of the ignorance of those who are so misguided to say that having these larger mannequins are contributing to obesity (seriously?) and resolute as I truly believe that what they are doing with their size expansion and the visualization with their mannequins is exactly what is needed in our society. “
Now the CEO of WW International, she added, “I know firsthand that health and wellness is not about a number on a scale, not about what size you wear and should not be stigmatized as such. Conversely, I have never seen such controversy when a mannequin has looked unhealthy by being too thin. And, there has never been any commentary about larger sizes in their Men’s business which they have been producing for many years.”