Tag Archives: Sweden

Searching for Reality among the Dummies

So this week, American Apparel hit the news again with some brand new mannequins.  Apparently they are causing quite a stir because THESE mannequins are sporting prominent nipples and a prodigious crop of pubic hair.  Now some folks have applauded American Apparel for showing women that are more “realistic”.  But I’m afraid I’m going to have to disagree.

These mannequins are completely in line with everything else I’ve seen from American Apparel.  It seems that their ads are not only focused on women as sex objects, but I’ve always felt that there was a gritty, DIY Internet porn, especially inelegant focus on women as sex objects.

In any case, I see very little here that makes these mannequins look more like real women.  They are still all the same size and shape.  They are still very tall and impossibly willowy.  They still portray a body that would probably be unlikely to bear children or even menstruate.  Nope.  What I see here is a dirty little boy with a magic marker drawing pictures on his sister’s dollies just to get attention.

And it’s gotten plenty of attention.  Which I am quite sure was the point.  The sad thing is that there are others making a real effort to make mannequins look more like real people.  There was THIS post I did a while back, about a shop in Sweden making more realistic mannequins.  And then there’s this video.  It portrays special mannequins being created from some very unlikely models.  The video is beautiful.  Please watch.  I’ll wait.

I can’t say everything about that video is perfect either.  But I can say that it seems a whole lot closer to the sort of work towards inclusiveness that we need in this space.  I’d love to see a mannequin that shows how clothing looks on a short, modified hourglass with apple shaped tummy body rather than the plus-sized mannequins that are 7 ft. tall  with perfectly flat stomachs.

And how does all of this relate to fitness?  I think so many people go into exercise trying to look like those bodies in the Macy’s store windows.  So many of us have spent years not working at FITNESS (being fit, being able to do certain things that we’d really like to do), but rather working at “FitThis” (being able to fit this pair of jeans, this image, be accepted by this crowd).  And so what?  Is there something wrong with having fitness aspirations for having a “better body”?  The thing is that for most people, physical fitness does not create an overly dramatic shift in the way their body appears.  Only a very small percentage of genetically gifted folks are even physically capable of sporting a visible “six pack” or “eight pack”.  Exercise doesn’t change your body’s bony structure.  It doesn’t make you taller.  And for most of us, it doesn’t make you significantly thinner.  The problem with aspirational “FitThis” is that it takes our attention away from what exercise is very likely to accomplish in our lives (better sleep, better health, better mood, better self esteem, better sex, better sleep…) and focuses our attention on an area where exercise is a lot less likely to succeed.  It sets us up for unrealistic expectations.  It sets us up to fail.


So I’d like to encourage you to put yourself into your elegant, pricey, fitness store, right at the front, behind the huge glassy windows.  See yourself, happy, healthy and feeling fabulous as the epitome of what you are hoping to accomplish.  Because you are amazing.  You are inspiring.  And you are the ones who keep me doing what I do.

Love, Jeanette (AKA The Fat Chick)

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Now Trending on facebook: Mannequins that Look Like People


Late last week, these lovely ladies started going viral on facebook.  Apparently a shopper named Rebecka, took pictures of these mannequins at a store in Sweden and posted them on her blog.  This image was picked up by Women’s Rights News and posted to their facebook page with along with the statement, “Store mannequins in Sweden. They look like real women. The US should invest in some of these.”  Since then, the photos have been seen by over 600,000 people and have become something of a worldwide sensation.  There was some initial confusion.  At one point, someone suggested that the mannequins were being displayed at H&M.  When H&M denied that the mannequins were theirs, some media entities (including the Washington Post) declared that the whole thing was a hoax.  But Rebecka assures us that the mannequins are real and are currently on display at a major Swedish department store called Åhléns.

So why such a fuss over a couple of clothing dummies?  It seems some of the excitement stems from the fact that these models seem to have bodies that are at least a little bit closer to average women around the world.  So often store mannequins are proportioned much closer to the tall and thin range of the human weight spectrum.  While some women are six feet tall and a size 4 or 6, this is certainly not average.  The Åhléns mannequins are a little softer and rounder.  Maybe they look a little bit less like the personification of a media ideal of creatures who wear fashionable clothing and a little more like, you know, people.  (Frankly, I adore the fact that they are wearing socks along with their pretty undies.  I mean it gets freakin’ COLD in the winter, ya know?!)

It’s interesting that these mannequins have attracted so much attention.  I mean they aren’t sporting alien antennas or tentacles.  They were not launched with a smug press release or a huge fanfare.  They were simply displayed, wearing socks and undies in a Swedish department store.  And just because they look a little bit less like an “ideal” and a little more “real” to many people, they have been viewed over half a million times since last Friday.  One would hope that other clothing stores and fashion designers and advertisers are taking note.  What is the dollar value of the marketing that this department store in Sweden is receiving just for taking a chance on giving its customers something for which they have obviously been waiting?  Is somebody taking note of the fact that there is a lot of pent up desire for seeing clothing displayed on a variety of body shapes and sizes to which more than just a very select few women might possibly relate?  Good heavens, I certainly hope so!

The last five years have not generally been kind to retailers.  And while it seems that sales are starting to pick up, I don’t think many would suggest that business is booming.  So it’s especially important now for retailers to focus on what customers want.  And it seems to me, what customers want, is to see clothing displayed in a way that reminds them a little bit less of some industry-driven ideal of how they should look and a little bit more of themselves.  Here’s hoping the message is finally getting through.


The Fat Chick

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Stuff That Weighs More Than Me: World’s Largest Scale Model of the Solar System

The Ericsson Globe

The Ericsson Globe

Let me start by saying that this is one of the coolest things I have heard of, like EVER!  And I also will have to state for the record that I don’t have a lot of data about the exact weights of the objects here.  Nevertheless, I have great confidence that it weighs more than me.  Let me explain.  The world’s largest model of the solar system is in Sweden.  The sun is represented by the Ericsson Globe.  And we’re not talking about a measly little statue here, no sir!  The Ericsson Globe is currently the largest hemispherical building in the world.  It hosts up to 13,850 guests for hockey games and indoor football, and can hold even more people for musical performances.  Which makes sense, because the sun is you know, BIG.  Oh and by the way, the Ericsson Globe also hosts a funicular railway system known as Skyview.  Just in case you don’t know what a “funicular railway” is, the Skyview consists of two gondolas that hold 16 passengers each that take you up the side of the globe and offers unparallelled views of Stockholm.

The scale model stretches for a distance of 590 miles from the “sun” to “termination shock“.  (Follow the link to learn all about what termination shock is all about.  Trust me, it’s cool!)  The scale model contains 16 other bodies including four inner planets–Mercury, Mars, Venus and the Earth (as well as its moon), four outer planets–Jupiter, Saturn, Uranus and Neptune, four dwarf planets–Pluto, Ixion, Eris and Sedna, two comets–Halley’s and Swift-Tuttle, two asteroids–Saltis and Palomar-Leiden and one near-earth object–Eros.

Here’s the stats:

Sun: (Ericsson Globe) Diameter (the disk) 233 ft. (incl. the corona) 361 ft.

Mercury: Distance from “sun” 1.8 miles. Diameter 9.8 inches.

Venus: Distance from “sun” 3.4 miles.  Diameter 24.4 inches.

Earth (and moon): Distance from “sun” 4.7 miles.  Diameters 25.6  and 7.1 inches

Eros: Distance from “sun” 6.8 miles.  Diameters 2.0 mm x 0.7 mm x 0.7 mm.

Sattis: Distance from “sun” 6.8 miles.  Diameter <1 mm.

Mars: Distance from “sun” 7.2 miles.  Diameter 13.8 inches.

Jupiter: Distance from “sun” 25 miles.  Diameter, 24 feet.

Palomar Leiden: Distance from “sun” 37 miles.  Diameter 0.2 mm.

Saturn: Distance from “sun” 45 miles.  Diameter 20 feet.

Uranus Distance from “sun” 91 miles.  Diameter 8.5 feet.

Halley’s Comet: Distance from “sun” 127 miles.

Neptune: Distance from “sun” 142 miles.  Diameter 8.2 feet.

Pluto (and Charon): Distance from “sun” 186 miles, Diameters 4.7 and 2.4 inches.

Ixion: Distance from “sun” 224 miles.  Diameter 2.6 inches.

Swift-Tuttle Comet: Distance from “sun” 242 miles.

Eris: Distance from “sun” 317 miles.  Diameter 5.1 inches.

Sedna: Distance from “sun” 503 miles.  Diameter 3.9 inches.

Termination Shock: Distance from “sun” 590 miles,  Represented as a large plate.

Combined weight: A whole LOT.

Conclusion: There’s a big, big universe out there, and it weighs more than me.


The Fat Chick

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