Last week Nike introduced plus-size mannequins to its London NikeTown branch and people had opinions. Strong opinions.
Predictably, there was backlash. People on social media claimed that the brand was promoting obesity or pushing an unhealthy message.
An article by Tanya Gold in the Telegraph claimed that the obese mannequins were selling women a dangerous lie.
The critics might be loud, but they are actually in the minority. A new study has found that an overwhelming majority of people think Nikes mannequins are a really good thing.
According to a survey conducted by Golfsupport.com 83% of people believe more sportswear brands should follow the example set by Nike and include plus-size mannequins in their advertising.
41% of the 1,424 Brits surveyed said plus-size mannequins make them feel proactive and the same amount said the mannequins make them feel inspired.
A huge 90% of people feel more needs to be done in the sports industry to promote inclusivity and shapes of all sizes.
Michelle Elman is a body confidence coach and fitness enthusiast. She thinks Nikes mannequins are a huge step in the right direction.
No one wants to leave the house in clothes that make them feel uncomfortable – fat people are the same, Michelle tels Metro.co.uk.
More than that, in order to be able to workout properly, plus-size people deserve not just supportive workout kit, but beautiful choices.
Its important we get rid of the notion that shaming people leads to better health and that you can predict someones health by what they look like.
Becky Morris is a plus-size gym bunny. She loves spinning, body pump classes and playing badminton – she hits the gym three or four times every week, and thinks visibility of plus-sized fitness clothing is really important.
The mannequins are a great idea because, firstly, they help to normalise a body shape that you see way more frequently in real life, says Becky.
The mannequins that we normally see are unrealistically toned and tiny, which can be really ostracizing if your body doesnt look like that.
Theyre also great because they give you a realistic view of what this product would actually look like on a body like mine – rather than having to just guess and hope.
They are a win-win in my opinion. If young girls can go into a shop and see that having a body like that is normal and OK, that could make a huge difference.
We asked Twitter for opinions about the plus-size mannequins and the response was overwhelmingly positive – it seems this is the diverse representation that fitness lovers have been crying out for.
Most of the female population are not as tall as the mannequins we normally see, let alone as slim, says Carrie.
More visibility of different body types is very much needed. Accepting [and] representing women as they are, not how the industry wants them to be, is critical for our mental health.
Mel is a personal trainer, shes also a size 14/16 in fitness clothes.
Im fitter now than I was when I was a size 10 professional dancer, she explains.
This isnt normalising obesity at all, this is encouraging women of all shapes and sizes to buy from Nike – shouldve been done sooner.
I know plenty of larger ladies that are fit and healthy, I also know thinner ladies that are very unhealthy!
Encouraging people to exercise is the first step in getting them to have a healthier mindset.
Im 54, have been on both ends of the weight chart and had decades of diet and fitness culture telling me I dont belong in a pair of leggings or wetsuit, says fitness blogger Jo Mosely.
Moving joyfully helps you become friends with your body as it is now. All women deserve and should be encouraged to feel good.
I think they are great, says sport and exercise psychologist Dr Josie Perry.
I see many everyday athletes struggle because they dont have an athletic self-identity. Having realistic role models and images out there helps them feel like they deserve to be doing sport too.
Whether youre a size 10 or a 20, exercise is important [and] necessary for mental and physical health, says freelance writer Laura Johnson.
Exercise should be 100% inclusive [and] accessible to all, regardless of body type. Nike is not encouraging obesity, they are encouraging [and] normalising exercise, whatever your body type.
Im pleased to see the mannequins, says Helen, a councillor from Cornwall.
Im a size 16 runner and not only do I want to buy clothing that fits me, I occasionally want to see it modelled.
The outcry against the mannequins is basically people saying that sport isnt for everyone.
Nicki Louise James is an entrepreneur and brand stylist – she also describes herself as plus-size.
When you walk into a shop as a woman, so often were presented with clothing on stick-thin mannequins for that so-called perfect look.
But what Nike has done is promote a healthier outlook for larger women, and that should be celebrated.
As a size 18 curvier woman, I also have an underactive thyroid, which means that I struggle to control my weight. Do I still exercise? Yes, I do – I run a lot.
What we should remember is that every woman is beautiful at every different size and there should be a choice for everyone.
Who says because youre a size 4-6 that youre healthy? And are we now saying that larger women arent allowed to exercise? Surely thats missing the whole point?
Hannah Wilkes is a presenter and reporter at Sky Sports, she wants people to stop equating a certain size with being healthy.
Showing a range of body type doesnt automatically mean theyre promoting an “unhealthy” image, explains Hannah.
Think of the variety of body shapes you saw whilst running the marathon. Look at the different builds on a netball court. Being above a size 12 doesnt automatically mean youre unfit.
Of course, not everyone is going to agree. TV Executive Ed Scott had worries that the mannequins will normalise unhealthy body types.
Regardless of being body positive, it is unhealthy to be overweight. We want to promote a healthy image surely? asked Ed.
I am just saying that being overweight is not healthy, he continued.
Surely we want people to aspire to being the optimum weight/BMI? If we say youll be fine if you have that figure they could have serious health issues later on.
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