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PMM Sound Off: Will A Plus Size Disney Princess And Larger Mannequins Help Promote More Realistic Body Images?

PMM Sound Off: Will A Plus Size Disney Princess And Larger Mannequins Help Promote More Realistic Body Images?

This week, there were two stories reported in the media that, while very different, are being pursued for the same goal: to show a more realistic view of body size.

As it is often reported, the average American woman is a size 14 and as we have discussed many times on this blog and in the magazine, the example set by the fashion industry and media about body image/size has not always been a positive one for young girls. It hasn’t always been a positive example for women in general, for that matter.

Smaller sized models image
All three of these models are considered plus size models.

Many plus size women don’t identify with the models used to market clothing to them. Our thinner counterparts have the same issue, too. Many single digit models are below a size 4, when there are many women who are above that size, shopping in those non-plus stores. However, it all goes back to the retailer and the choices they make when deciding which model to use in their advertisements and campaigns.

The same rings true in the media. There are a few plus size actresses out there making their mark but it is not without challenge. There are some changes being made within the industry to show more acceptance of more realistic body images and this is leading to more people speaking up and taking a stand.

One of those people is Jewel Moore, a junior in high school from Farmville, Va. There have been many conversations regarding Disney princesses and their unrealistic depictions of young girls. But Jewel is taking it one step further and not just talking about it but taking some action to try to change the message this sends to young girls about body image. She has started a petition on Change.org, calling on Disney to create a plus-size princess in an upcoming movie.

Disney petition main pic

Jewel states on her petition page:

“I made this petition because I’m a plus-size young woman, and I know many plus-size girls and women who struggle with confidence and need a positive plus-size character in the media.”

At the time of the writing of this article, Jewel’s petition has reached almost 5,000 signatures.

The other story making headlines this week was all about mannequins. The typical mannequin used in stores is a size 6, sometimes smaller. Some retailers have started using larger mannequins such as Debenhams in the UK. With many people shopping online, retailers are starting to see that mannequins are becoming an important part of the sell.

It was reported that David’s Bridal will start using mannequins that will have thicker waists, saggier breasts and back fat to reflect a more realistic body shape. Yes, you read right…BACK FAT.

Mannequin Revival
Photo credit: Time.com

Michele Von Plato (seen above), Senior Vice President at David’s Bridal said:

“This will give (a shopper) a better idea of what the dress will look like on her.”

Time.com reports that results from a poll conducted by market research firm NPD Group Inc. showed that 42% of customers say something on a mannequin influences whether they buy it with mannequins ranking just behind friends and family in terms of influence. 

As our own survey results showed, 92.9% of women said they noticed the size of the model in advertisements and campaign pictures. And 95.8% said they would like to see plus size companies use models who are more representative of their customers.

We want to know what you think:

  • Will a plus size Disney princess promote a more realistic body image to young girls and reinforce the idea that “everyone is beautiful”?
  • Will you be more likely to buy clothing on a larger mannequin?
  • How would you feel as a plus size bride shopping in David’s Bridal and seeing mannequins with thicker waists and back fat?

Please leave us a comment below and let us know.

To visit Jewel Moore’s petition page and sign her petition, click here.

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