Sometimes, all you need is an Internet hoax to generate a “teachable moment.”
I refer here to the photo of two “plus-sized” mannequins — allegedly from an H&M store in Sweden, but actually lifted from a photo of a different Swedish department chain in 2010 — that went viral earlier this week when a blogger at Women’s Right’s News posted them on Facebook to an overwhelming response. Last I checked, the page had 57,000 likes and17,000 shares.
H&M has subsequently denied using these fuller-bodied, scantily clad mannequins at any of their stores, in Sweden or anywhere else. But that doesn’t really matter. Because, authentic or not, the visual representation of “zoftig” models in the fashion industry — even fake ones — has clearly struck a chord.
Let’s face it. Part of the mannequins’ viral appeal was no doubt the illusion that they came from Sweden, that Nordic bastion of pushing-the-envelope cultural fare that brought us the likes of Ikea and “The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo.” We all secretly want to take our lifestyle cues from Sweden. (Okay, maybe that’s just me.)
But the excitement and interest generated by the mannequins run much deeper than that. “Call it a hunch, but I think we could have quite a discussion here,” wrote the popular syndicated columnist Connie Schultz on her Facebook page, where I first viewed the image. Which is clearly what Women’s Right’s News was after in posting the photos: “Store mannequins in Sweden. They look like real women. The US should invest in some of these,” read the caption.
Read the rest of this post at The Washington Post’s She The People blog…
Image: By Becka.nu at http://www.becka.nu/2010/10/23/tummen-upp-for-ahlens-skyltdocka/