Nike introduces plus-size mannequins

Just do it: Over 20 million adults in the UK are physically inactive.

Should all shops have them? The athletics brand says it wants to “celebrate the diversity and inclusivity of sport”. But others claim that the body-diverse mannequins are glorifying obesity.

We all know what high-street mannequins look like: tall, skinny — and highly unrealistic.

But, now, Nike is modelling some different body shapes.

In the athletics brand’s flagship London store, a plus-size mannequin stands proudly, stretching out for a run. Nike says it wants to “celebrate the diversity and inclusivity of sport”.

To promote the new mannequins, curvy influencers like Denise Kokinis and Chloe Elliot have been modelling the brand’s sportswear on social media.

Nike first launched a range of plus-size sports clothes in 2017. Its designs go up to a size 32, bucking the trend of many athletics labels that do not cater for women larger than a size 16 (the average UK size).

But not everyone is celebrating. In a controversial piece for The Telegraph, Tanya Gold argues that Nike is “glorifying obesity”.

“The new mannequin is 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,” says Gold.

But responding to Gold, Rebecca Reid also writes in The Telegraph, “Too often, women are put off from exercising by a fear of judgement.”

In the UK, just 8% of girls aged 11 to 18 meet the Government’s recommended daily hour of physical activity. Twice as many boys manage it.

One size fits all?

Should there be plus-size mannequins in every shop? Tanya Gold argues that displaying larger bodies could normalise obesity and the health risks that come with it.

But, according to plus-size activist Callie Thorpe, “It’s ludicrous that fat people are mocked, bullied and told to get to the gym and lose weight, yet we are also told we don’t deserve the access to active wear.” What could possibly be the harm in opening exercise up to everyone, not just those who already look fit?

You Decide

  1. Do you like to exercise? Why or why not?

Activities

  1. Design a poster about how to maintain a healthy lifestyle.

Some People Say...

“The human body is the best picture of the human soul.”

Ludwig Wittgenstein, Austrian philosopher (1889-1951)

What do you think?

Q & A

What do we know?
Nike has started using plus-size and para-sport mannequins on the third floor of NikeTown, the brand’s flagship London store on Oxford Street.
What do we not know?
How much of a role genetics and lifestyle play in causing obesity. Doctors also disagree over whether you can be “fat but fit”.

Word Watch

Flagship
The biggest or most important shop owned by an organisation.
Influencers
Bloggers, mostly found on Instagram, who are paid by brands (or given free gifts) to advertise products to their followers.
Pre-diabetic
Diabetes is an illness in which the body struggles to regulate the hormone insulin. Type 2 diabetes is linked with obesity.
8%
According to NHS figures.