Walking up Bloomfield Avenue on Saturday, I noticed something quite odd in the window of Johari, a lingerie and swimwear shop on Bloomfield between N. Fullerton and Glenridge Avenue. I actually had to get right up to the glass to be sure it wasn’t the sparkling sunlight distorting my vision.
Do you see what I saw? I mean, can you tell?
The middle mannequin, despite being utterly hairless and faceless, looks like a regular person.
She’s still slim, I’ll grant you that. But she looks like she might be a size six or so, not a size zero or a baggy size two.
Here, take a look at other angles in the other two photos:
This mannequin looks like people I know! Yes, she has that space between her thighs that I have coveted since I was in the sixth grade, but her arms look soft, not angular. And her calves are actually THERE – on her legs!
Next to the sweatered mannequin, you can really see what I mean.
Like I said, it’s a start. And I’m no prude when it comes to advertising and marketing. I don’t pretend that I want to see ME – actually ME – in ads and shop windows. My just-barely-out-of-petite-height frame doesn’t hold clothes elegantly combined with my just-barely-A-cup-chest and my double-happiness-thanks-to-two-gorgeous-kids belly. It just doesn’t.
Still, it’s nice to see a mannequin that reflects something other than matchstick thin women. These women exist. And it’s no piece of cake being on the very thin side of the scale either; who likes having teachers call home worried about anorexia while you’re wolfing down more dinner than your (slightly) chubby sister? Metabolism is a hairy, messy wart on self-image, isn’t it? It’s just that if I want to buy something as revealing as lingerie or a bathing suit, I am glad to see possibilities displayed right prominently, not sagging from a hanger at the end of the rack.
I think many of us, for many different reasons, can understand what I felt when I saw this in the Johari window. It was a little, “Huh. Nice.” And it was paired with a small smile of hope that maybe someday mannequins would come in all the shapes and sizes and shades that surround us every day. Skipping over the stubbly-haired legs and occasional bout of adult acne would be okay.