Nike’s Plus-Size Mannequin Is NOT Promoting Obesity

June 18, 2019

After all, if they make tights in a larger size, why not show us what that size looks like on?

“An 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.”

These were the words British journalist Tanya Gold used in an article for The Telegraph this week to cut down the significance of a plus size female mannequin taking up space in Nike’s London store.

The mannequin stands on a podium wearing a pair of black full-length Nike tights and a matching crop top, her arms raised above her head as if she’s stretching before taking off.

She’s not in the back corner of the store or in her own little plus size section, but front and center with the other mannequins that represent the many different women who wear Nike.

When the first images of the mannequin, whose name is Avril, first appeared on social media, we cheered and gave Nike a virtual high five for having the guts to back themselves and a demographic of their paying customers by representing them in their store.

After all, if they make tights in a larger size, why not show us what that size looks like on?

Then came the inevitable bow that’s always drawn whenever a brand decides to be more size-inclusive: they’re promoting obesity.

At the root of criticism over the mannequin is an outdated assumption that a person’s weight directly correlates to their health, an idea women around the world thoroughly reject.

From Australian plus-size model Kate Wasley, who said every person is “worthy of self-love and respect no matter what your opinion of her size”, to plus size fashion blogger Katie Sturino, who pointed out this kind of hate is “more of a reflection of how someone feels about themselves”, women are posting images of themselves working out in their activewear to prove the point that skinny doesn’t always equal healthy.

But deeper than that, hiding under layers and layers of faux concern and ‘honesty’, is the assumption that a person’s weight is their fault. That they did it to themselves. That they have no self-control and should really try to work on that.

What some might not know is that, likely, she is working on that. Women who identify with the Nike mannequin, women like me, might have been working on that for years, whether they like it or not.

Some have tried every diet and have thought about every treatment, or might have recently been through a really hard time and turned to food for comfort. Others have hereditary medical conditions and illnesses we can’t see, or deal with weight gain as a side effect of the medication they take for their mental health.

There are those of us who see expensive specialists and take expensive medications because we want not to be skinny, but to be healthy. And then, there are those who have the bodies they have because… that’s the body they were given and they’re fine with it. Or they were until they were told not to be.

There’s so much you can’t know about a woman solely based on the way she looks in a pair of tights. Including her brain and her personality, and whether she’s a good, kind person.

There is, however, one assumption you can safely make about a woman shopping for activewear – there’s a decent chance she’s buying it to be active in. And to be active, whether it’s about getting fitter, feeling great, managing stress and mental health issues, or for some, losing weight, you need activewear in your size.

It’s a fact. Clothes are non-negotiable. Sadly, most gyms or studios require their members to wear pants of some description while working out.


This article was republished with full permission from mamamia.com.au. You can read the original version, here.

If you liked this story, read more like it on mamamia.com.au:
Five Plus-Size Fashion Bloggers You Need To Follow on Instagram Right Now
Nike Has Released A Plus Size Range With A Very Welcome Difference
The Activewear Brands That Actually Cater To Women Over Size 14

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