Female mannequins in stores are overwhelmingly underweight, a new study from the Journal of Eating Disorders has confirmed.
Researchers from the University of Liverpool went to two major shopping districts in the U.K. and found that 100 percent — aka all — of the plastic models represented underweight body types, and that the average size of a female mannequin registered visually as "that of an extremely underweight human woman." Researchers also confirmed that among male mannequins, only 8 percent were deemed to look "underweight."
Rather than measuring the mannequins outright, two objective viewers compared the mannequins they saw at stores with pictures of 10 real human adults on a BMI-based scale. They were asked to choose the form that fit most closely to the mannequin in question.
It's worth noting that the sample size was small and therefore doesn't give a full picture of global retailer mannequin sizes. It's also unclear if researchers went to any stores that sell plus fashions.
"We of course are not saying that altering the size of high-street fashion mannequins will on its own 'solve' body image problems," lead researcher Eric Robinson said in a press release. "What we are instead saying is that presentation of ultra-thin female bodies is likely to reinforce inappropriate and unobtainable body ideals, so as a society we should be taking measures to stop this type of reinforcement."
Seems about right. Retailers, it's your move.