Whistles Apologises For Controversial Skinny Mannequin, Twitter Says 'Meh'

Whistles Apologises For Controversial Skinny Mannequin, Twitter Says 'Meh'

This article has been updated with a statement from Whistles

Another day, another high street store that has caused outrage by using a very slim mannequin.

Instagram user Amina Hays (@sinkvenice) snapped the picture and posted it with the caption: “Because having a mannequin specifically made with a protruding breast bone will definitely solve women’s body issues.”

Underneath the post, when someone wrote it was hideous, she responded: "Revolting isn't it. Usually I don't care about things like this but when I walked past this shop last night, I was horrified."

Since then, Whistles have issued a statement apologising for the mannequin posting the following on their site:

"We are sorry for any unintentional offence caused by this mannequin. Our mannequins are supplied by a company which has been working with leading retailers for over 30 years. The headless mannequins are a stylised tool for visual merchandising and standing at 177cm tall are not a direct representation of the average female form. It is made from elongated solid fibreglass in order for clothing to be carefully slipped on and off. However, we do take customer feedback very seriously and will be removing this style mannequin from shop windows."

Twitter users responded with the following:

Speaking to HuffPost UK Lifestyle, eating disorder charity Beat said: "Retailers should consider very seriously the messages that they put across and we should all play a part in giving a generation of young people confidence in their bodies, their appearance and their sense of wellbeing.

"Obviously underweight mannequins such as this are unhelpful in fuelling the continuous exposure of the unrealistic ‘ideals’ so often portrayed. People who are at risk, or already affected by an eating disorder can be triggered or maintained in the disorder by the images they see everywhere.”

Rivkie Baum, editor of plus size magazine Slink says: "It is amazing that an in age where we are so clued up on body image and the effects of media and fashion that brands are still making these errors of judgement. Last year alone we saw two other high street stores using similar mannequins in store displays too.

"I think it is commendable that savvy shoppers have both spotted and pulled the retailers up on this and I think this is a key message, consumers have power to influence the high street and show brands that they want retailers to adhere to good practice in this field."

HuffPost UK blogger Leyah Shanks who wrote about her irritation with the term 'real women' said: "Many people are very naturally slim and still perfectly healthy. However, I do think that such an obviously underweight mannequin, with visibly protruding bones, could have seriously damaging impacts on those suffering with eating disorders such as anorexia and accentuates our ever present "thin worshipping culture".

"Eating disorders don't always stem from body dissatisfaction but images like this one are indefinitely a trigger for some. Those who have eating disorders should not be made to feel ashamed of their body either, but I do think that retailers have a responsibility to think a bit more sensitively and represent ALL of their customers - not just a select few."

However, we must ask the question - is this veering into dangerous skinny shaming territory?

When Topshop - one of the brands Baum refers to - used thin mannequins, there was a strong response on our social media that labelling such body types as unhealthy and unappealing was damaging to women with 'skinny' frames.

In response to this article when it was first published, one of our Facebook users wrote: "Too right it is shaming skinny women.

"I have body issues as a tall skinny woman who comes from a line of tall skinny women. All with protruding breast bones. I think that what women want and need is a healthy variety of images. We are all different and should be celebrated for that rather than villified."

What do you think?