- A journalist criticised Nike for debuting a plus-size mannequin, saying the “immense, gargantuan” model promoted obesity.
- People are defending Nike and slamming the journalist, Tanya Gold, as they push back on her claims that it is impossible for plus-size women to be healthy.
- Others said it is illogical for Gold to say Nike shouldn’t advertise sportswear for plus-size women while also demanding they lose weight.
- Research indicates that encouraging weight-related stigma – such as banning plus-size mannequins – makes it more difficult for people to lose weight.
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Nike’s plus-size mannequins have sparked outrage over the treatment of plus-size women.
The sportswear company recently began featuring plus-size mannequins in its London flagship store. It was a move that was mostly greeted with applause, as people celebrated the choice as empowering and a step in the right direction.
— Ashley Stokes (@_AStokes_) June 6, 2019
However, Tanya Gold, a journalist at The Telegraph, had less positive thoughts on the plus-size mannequin.
“I fear that the war on obesity is lost, or has even, as is fashionable, ceased to exist, for fear of upsetting people into an early grave,” Gold wrote in her piece, which was published on Sunday.
“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,” Gold wrote.
Gold said that while traditional images of female beauty are unrealistically skewed, the mannequin encourages fat acceptance – a movement that she believes to be dangerous, as she says it encourages people to deny health risks related to obesity.
“The facts are obvious,” Gold wrote. “Stay that weight and you will be an old woman in your 50s. The obese Nike athlete is just another lie.”
Gold’s piece has seen extensive backlash online. Many pushed back on her allegation that plus-size women “cannot run” and are intrinsically unhealthy.
Wow @Telegraph – nice job with the Tanya Gold click bait. I look like that @nike mannequin, and I’ve done a 10k, a half, & a marathon this year. And there’s another 10k & a half coming up. If you think obese women can’t run you’ve clearly been living under a rock. pic.twitter.com/Pb2rFM5sRd
— Tegwen Tucker (@tegwentucker) June 9, 2019
Fat athletes exist, we are strongwomen, powerlifters, wrestlers and runners. Fat athletes exist, I know this because I am one and I’m in great company. pic.twitter.com/fk4E3Cirw8
— Lj Gray (@illustratedlaw) June 10, 2019
Regards the fat shaming articles about @Nike's decision to show a plus size mannequin in sports wear: this is my plus size body. I'm too fat to be labelled by sports media as athletic or aspirational. This plus size body is 1800 miles into a 5000 mile walk. pic.twitter.com/QQn7FjFdVd
— One Woman Walks Europe (@WomanWalksWales) June 10, 2019
I have run in Nike’s plus size running tights. I was bigger than that mannequin. I ran in them as I lost 10 stone. I ran in them from couch to 5k to first Parkrun to first half marathon. It’s hard to begin to run if no one will even sell you clothes to run in.
— Dr Carolyn Campbell ???? (@carolyncjc) June 9, 2019
Some said it was illogical for Gold to call for people to lose weight while also criticising a sportswear brand for advertising to plus-size people – presumably so they could work out in the outfit. (Nike did not respond to Business Insider’s request for comment.)
Telling overweight people exercise bc ‘there’s no excuse’ then also telling overweight people that they look horrendous in gym clothes https://t.co/9XY8XZFwRy
— MADELEINE (@Frenchd0gblues) June 9, 2019
People mad about the Nike plus size mannequin but what kind of clothes are we supposed to workout in?!?????
— meggg (@meg_alexus) June 9, 2019
it’s truly wild the fatphobes freaking out about nike’s plus size mannequin. y’all spend all day saying we should just try and work out more to be healthy but don’t want us to have clothes to work out in??
just say you hate fat women and keep it pushin’. the hypocrisy is silly. pic.twitter.com/6ZmiLgSUNW
— tericka.gif (@terickaaa) June 9, 2019
Fatphobic people: obesity is unhealthy! Fat people need to go to gym and live healthier lifestyles!
Nike: *makes and sells plus size workout clothes so that fat people can go to gym comfortably*
Fatphobic people: https://t.co/492hRTpnoz
— Miranda Priestly’s Hair (@naledimashishi) June 10, 2019
Others pushed back on Gold’s logic that plus-size mannequins promoted an unhealthy lifestyle. The health and wellness writer Maxine Ali pointed out that a 2017 study in the Journal of Eating Disorders found that more than 90% of female mannequins represented medically unhealthy, underweight bodies.
— Maxine Ali (MSc) (@maxineali_) June 10, 2019
Further, encouraging weight-related stigma – such as by banning plus-size mannequins – has been found to make it more difficult for people to lose weight, according to a 2018 study of university students. Another 2014 study found that articles that stigmatised weight and obesity lead to women who view themselves as overweight to consume more calories.
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