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Why Are Nike’s New Plus Size Mannequins Making Some People So Angry?

Beauty and fitness come in all sizes. Nike with its plus-size mannequins has proved that you need not be slim to work out and be called fit.

Beauty and fitness come in all sizes. Nike with its plus-size mannequins has proved that you need not be slim to work out and be called fit.

Exercise is not limited to or necessary for just one body type. The main objective of working out is to be fit and healthy which does not necessarily mean being slim. Riding the wave of body-positivity, from activists to celebrities, everyone is talking about accepting yourself and being fit. To join this wave international sportswear brand Nike just launched plus-size mannequins at its flagship store in London.

Covering the development, CNN shared a press release in which Nike said, “To celebrate the diversity and inclusivity of sport, the space will not just celebrate local elite and grassroots athletes through visual content, but also show Nike plus size and para-sport mannequins for the first time on a retail space.”

Being plus size doesn’t mean that you can’t be healthy

This step is actually a huge encouragement to many plus size women out there to take fitness seriously and feel more accepted in a world where fitness just means ‘being slim’. Still, it did receive some criticism. Some people accused the brand of “glamorising obesity”.

A leading UK daily posted a piece on it, alleging that it sells women a “dangerous lie”. The writer calls this plus size mannequin immense, gargantuan, vast and heaving with fat, saying, “The new Nike mannequin is not 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. The new mannequin is obese, and she is not readying herself for a run in her shiny Nike gear. She cannot run. She is, more likely, pre-diabetic and on her way to a hip replacement. What terrible cynicism is this on the part of Nike?”

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The important thing to understand here is that almost everyone can be fit and work out irrespective of their size. Since ages society has been fat-shaming people for being obese without even considering the reason behind them being obese.

Yes, obesity is a grave health concern and a predisposing factor to coronary diseases, diabetes, joint problems, etc – however, we cannot gauge anyone’s health or fitness level from their size, nor does shaming people serve any purpose.

Instead, people should be encouraged to exercise by making it inclusive. Nike with its plus-size mannequins has tried to show that exercise is meant for everyone. It has also made plus size people feel more comfortable and accepted when they enter the sportswear shop.

Now it’s high time that the stereotypes surrounding plus size people that they are lazy, sick and don’t even want to get fit should be shunned. Instead of this, we need more encouragement and acceptance of plus-size people so that they feel more confident towards working out and getting fit. It’s high time now that we get over this idea that fit = slim; being fit and healthy is meant for everyone.

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About the Author

Nishtha Pandey

I read, I write, I dream and search for the silver lining in my life. Being a student of mass communication with literature and political read more...

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