Nike’s Plus Size Mannequins Uncover the Truth About Weight Stigma

A couple of years after introducing their plus size line, (which still has plenty of room to grow as it currently only goes up to 3x) Nike has added some plus size mannequins in their London Flagship store.  And fatphobes the world over (I’d say very likely the same ones who are constantly complaining that fat people don’t exercise, as if that’s any of their business,) lost their collective shit. Reader Natasha let me know that a popular UK publication (which I’ll not be giving traffic by naming or linking to) described the mannequin thusly:

“not a size 12, which is healthy, or even 16 – a hefty weight, yes, but not one to kill a woman. She is immense, gargantuan, vast. She heaves with fat.”

Setting aside the fact that health and weight are not the same thing (there are healthy and unhealthy people of all shapes and sizes,) and that health is not an obligation, barometer of worthiness, entirely within our control, or guaranteed under any circumstances, and setting aside the fact that she doesn’t “heave with fat” so much as she heaves with plastic, as she is a mannequin, and that she doesn’t heave at all because, again, mannequin, I have to wonder what image this writer’s tribute to fatphobia and synonyms conjures up in people’s minds.

View the mannequin [insert creepy whispery voice…] if you dare…

Nike Plus Size Mannequin

Now, we know better than to make an “it’s not even that fat!” argument, but if hysterical internet fatphobes are to be believed (and they aren’t,) this mannequin is “promoting obesity.” They claimed the same thing about the clothing line, so let me just reiterate part of what I wrote about that:







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14 thoughts on “Nike’s Plus Size Mannequins Uncover the Truth About Weight Stigma

  1. This, like most forms of ableism, is about people constantly needing a point of reference to tell themselves they are ok, they are the “normal” ones. They need reassurance that they measure up because they see what happens when you don’t. They don’t want to be a target of anything that might get them kicked off the island, treated like they treat people, how ironic. Society has no use for anyone that does not produce in a competitive, capitalist economy. You don’t want to be someone father capitalism does not need or want. It’s actually a matter of survival.

  2. I don’t even think they want us to hide. Because they deeply enjoy bullying other people and if there would be no one there to bully they’d have to deal with their own miserable lives… they get a quick feeling of power and satisfaction from making others feel bad about themselves because it distracts them from feeling bad about themselves. And it’s pathetic.

  3. You know, I quite like that mannequin, although it is definitely based on one particular athletic type of fat body, which is to be expected from Nike. If it were a real person and the commentator were watching them deadlift hundreds of pounds, I expect the commentator would keep her yap shut.

    Which is neither here nor there, really, but I did indulge in a brief fantasy.

  4. There’s such a logical inconsistency here. People are fat; they don’t like that; they think the way to lose the weight is to diet and exercise; they object to athletic wear for fat people that makes it possible to exercise. You’d think they’d be promoting plus size athletic wear! Giving it away for free! “Here! Have some workout clothes! You need to exercise so you won’t be fat!” As you say, would they prefer fat people workout naked?

    But of course we all know the real problem. They’re upset that fat people exist at all. So if you wear a plus size, you need to disappear from society. Anything that at all makes it so that you can be a part of society is “promoting obesity”. The whole thing is just so much nonsense.

    Good for Nike for making plus size clothes (and I hope they expand – pun intended – the line). Good for Nike for having plus size mannequins to advertise their plus size clothes and show women who wear the plus size clothes what it would look like on them and where it is sold. It’s just good business all the way around. Fatphobes can simply NOT LOOK at the clothes/mannequin and NOT BUY the clothes. How easy is that? All they have to do is literally nothing! And yet……

    1. I think there’s also an element of denial to it. Fatphobes imagine they are superior to fat people for several (bullshit) reasons, one of which is that we supposedly never exercise. Reminders that we DO exercise- reminders like plus-size workout clothes, fitness equipment with high weight limits, and apparently, fat mannequins in sporting goods stores- break the suspension of disbelief that fantasy requires, and so they want those reminders removed from their sight and stricken from the record.

      1. Lady R hit the nail on the head there. Can you imagine the bottomless terror these people feel. That a fat person DOES actually exercise, diet, care about their health… AND still look like that!? That would really chap some hides. It must terrify them, that they can still be fat, even with all that work! And it sort of undermines the arrogance of “better than you because”, if the because isn’t remotely true!

      2. You’re right—the denial is implicit. When she says (in the article) “she can’t run” she’s perpetuating the stereotype. We’ve seen this before—the two fat folx crossing the finish line of the marathon hand in hand? Half the comments I saw said they must have been doing an associated 3 or 5K, because they were too fat to finish a marathon. Any athletic feat a fat person performs, there’s a fatphobe there to say, “Oh, that must not be as hard as it looks, if a fatty can do it,” or “Oh, they just got someone to film them trotting over the finish line, there’s no way they really did that.”

  5. She’s an inspiration, and we don’t care what the haters have to say about her. I’m a plus-sized yoga teacher. I refuse to feel any more shame. I’ve lived for 42 years being obsessed with how my body looks and how much I weigh. I’ve struggled with eating disorders for over 25 years. No more, world! We are here and here to stay. We can be plus-sized and healthy, believe it or not. I refuse to feel any more shame or guilt.

  6. Queen of the Weezils said it all. It is that we exist at all, really.

    You have GOT to wonder, what the hell these people would be doing if hating fat, and fat people was a non-thing. I mean a true Utopian Fat Free World ( as most Hollywood films depict, both in the concept of a future Utopia and the here and now )? What would they do? Who would they laugh and point fingers at, how would they gauge themselves and their social value in an un-fatted world. It wouldn’t be enough if we truly dissolve the biases against made up concepts like race and sexual orientation fall away. I guess it would just be back to money and age, religion and location, and the ultra leveler SEX.

    Yeah, still plenty there, but fat is so good. So pointed, yet elusive, so stark and angry: fat pig, fat bitch, lard ass! Such easy brief words so filled with hate and bile. And the whole of Western Culture has bought into it heart and soul! I mean, how can we dismantle that which people cleave to so intensely, so obligingly?

    Exercise, don’t exercise. Diet, don’t diet. If you appear even the littlest bit “FAT”, so noted, and all the rest falls away. What ever else you are is AS NOTHING to that one little thing. Plumped up adipose tissue is as good a First World Leprosy now. Doctors to taxi car drivers, actors and store clerks, %99.9 of them hate us terribly, hide it rarely and think they are good people if they don’t want us killed out right. The rest would vote for a round up and concentration camp scenario…ask them, I dare you…

    I hope I will be dead before they either: eliminate us from the gene pool via science, or decide it is in our best interests, as a human society, to eliminate up physically in a political manner. God the things we do to make a “perfect world”.

    Alarmist, with issues? Yes, I would cop to that, if I didn’t see, hear, sense, read and smell the level of hatred being monetized, institutionalized, casualized in the world today about this issue. Sometimes I wonder if it is the soft spot on the boil of woman hatred. Honestly, how often do these haters hate fat in female form exclusively, or at least, un-investigatedly most often. I bet the core of this is fear and hatred of women. We, in the West have just been trying to come to terms with woman hatred for a hundred years longer than most. Interesting that hatred of fat is so virulent, now that we are supposedly OK with women. Not angry, fearful, threatened by female power/sexuality/procreation/motherhood?

    Exercise. A hundred years ago you were discouraged from exercising as a sign of wealth. Boyo has this been a sea change. No wonder we feel crazy. We are told 24/7 all our lives now to do everything you can, for less and less of something, at all costs! Seriously whack math. Put more in, to get less out. Pool’s open here in Contempo. Ragen, you wanna come swimming?

  7. It’s the same lack of logic that’s used by people who don’t want anyone to have abortions, but also don’t want anyone to use birth control. Basically people should never have sex.Also, people should never get fat. It has no basis in reality.

  8. Eleven years ago, this same author wrote an article about fat acceptance, as someone living in a larger body. I gathered from the Nike article that she’s recently curbed a “sugar addiction,” which tells me all I need to know about her vitriol. I know all too well the self-righteousness and fat-aversion that come along with the struggle to lose weight, because I’ve cycled through it enough times. Sometimes judging others (and seeing myself as better than them) was the only way I could stay motivated through the hunger and fatigue. I almost feel sorry for her, except that unlike her, I at least kept my shitty thoughts in my private journal, where they belonged and couldn’t cause direct harm to anybody.

  9. Fatphobes be like: “fat people don’t exercise enough! Ew, how dare you display exercise clothes for fat people! That’s just icky!”

  10. I think that there are two things that come into play when thin or fat people hate other fat people. It’s only my opinion, so take it with a grain of salt.
    It seems to me that dieting gives people a subconscious thought of immortality. It’s like a religion. They think that obesity causes diseases, and thus, they do everything in order to be thin, quite believing (somehow subconciously) that they will never get sick in their lives. They then mock other people, who do not chase after thinness, because they feel somewhat superior to them.
    The second thing on my mind is that when you’re hungry, hangry, obsessed with food, exercising all day and still see little results compared to the pain that accompanies it, you just hate people (fat people) who are okay with themselves. They are fat, they can eat whatever they like and don’t give u fuk what others think about them. It seems to be that it’s more a problem of their own self-esteem, coz’ they have none when nobody appreciates their looks.
    And there is a third thing coming to my mind, too. With all the messages that fat is bad and makes people sick, they might be afraid of their own lives. I mean, it’s quite connected to my first point. People hate to see and admit that there are diseases that can shorten their lives or make them disabled. Thus, to them, chasing after thinness seems like a denial of the diseases (like if they did not exist for anybody but fat people, ha).

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