The Real Issue With Nike's Plus Size Mannequins

Photo by Anna Jay/Refinery29.
Nike recently introduced plus-size and para-sport mannequins at its London flagship store. And while the move was initially hailed as a big step forward for inclusivity in sportswear, it didn’t take long for critics to find something — anything — negative to say about the retailer’s decision.
A particularly vocal opponent to the new mannequins is Tanya Gold, a British journalist who wrote an op-ed over the weekend for The Telegraph titled, “Obese mannequins are selling a dangerous lie.” In her piece, Tanya argues that the plus-size mannequins are “immense, gargantuan, vast” and disclosed that she is “not readying herself for a run in her shiny Nike gear.”
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Cue eye roll.
What Tanya didn’t account for are the numerous women out in the world who look like the mannequins in question and who do, in fact, run in their shiny Nike gear. They also ride bikes, lift weights, practice yoga — the same physical activities everyone does.
The very critics who argue that plus-size women need to exercise, will then turn around and attack them when they do work out (and, say, choose to do so in Nike gear). So, what's the real issue here? These critics aren't worried about health or exercise. The truth is they harbor so much hate for plus-size women that they don't feel they deserve representation or visibility. And that kind of hatred has no place in our society.
Several women took to social media to share their stories and explain what seeing the new mannequins means to them.
Actress and body positive activist Jameela Jamil wasted no time calling out Tanya for her piece, saying that her stance is “hateful, judgemental, and uneducated.”
Nike has been making major moves toward becoming as inclusive as possible, whether that’s having more diversity in its ad campaigns or offering apparel in extended sizing (in 2017, Nike released its first women’s plus-size clothing collection, with pieces ranging from 1X to 3X).
“With the incredible momentum in women’s sport right now, the redesigned space [at NikeTown London] is just another demonstration of Nike's commitment to inspiring and serving the female athlete,” Sarah Hannah, Nike’s general manager and vice president for women in Europe, the Middle East and Africa, said in a statement.
We’re sure it’s only a matter of time before the sportswear giant introduces more plus-size and para-sport mannequins into its other locations worldwide. And we can't wait. Haters to the left, please.
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