Study shows female mannequins represent an underweight body size

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The average female mannequin in clothing shops is the size of a severely underweight woman, say reports.

Researchers surveyed top national fashion retailers in two UK cities and concluded that all of the female mannequins represented an underweight body type. Just 8 per cent of the male dummies drew the same conclusion.

They found that 100 per cent of the female mannequins was representative of a severely underweight woman – and only 8 per cent of male mannequins represented an underweight body size.

The study was conducted by researchers at the University of Liverpool’s Institute of Psychology, Health and Society, and was published in The Journal of Eating Disorders.

“We became interested in this topic after seeing some news report about members of the general public noticing that some mannequins in fashion stores were disturbingly thin,” said lead researcher Eric Robinson in the group’s press release.

“Around the same time we had also read news coverage that fashion retailers had responded to this concern and adopted more appropriate sized mannequins, so it felt like an interesting research question to examine.”

Robinson added,  “We of course are not saying that altering the size of high street fashion mannequins will on its own ‘solve’ body image problems,”

“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.”

He concluded:

“Given that the prevalence of body image problems and disordered eating in young people is worryingly high, positive action that challenges communication of ultra-thin ideals may be of particular benefit to children, adolescents and young adult females.”

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