for those who wander, wonder & define life on their own terms


Is this obese to you?
Is this obese to you?

Hallelujah!  The dawn of a new age has arrived.  Last week an image of Sweden’s newest prototype for mannequins went viral.  These mannequins are between the sizes of 12-16, a.k.a. normal sized.  Would somebody please define normal?  The average size for women is a 14, but it’s all relative.  Size 14 at five foot is different than size 14 at six foot.  And some women are “normally” quite skinny while others are naturally bigger.  Yet, to see there are now variations of mannequin size is a win-win.

It sucks walking into a store, loving an outfit on one of these plastic humanoids, and knowing that it won’t, in a million years, look good on your body.  Buyers should be able to view fashion that looks good on sizes bigger than “I need some carbs.” We shouldn’t get rid of the “skinnies”, or glorify unhealthy lifestyles; we should just embrace the “what is”.  All of the people yack-yacking about nutrition and health are denying the truth of the situation.  Different sized people buy clothes.  A mannequin is “born” to be a trendsetter and sell a product.  The health crisis in America won’t be solved by refusing to put Thick Jenny on display at Nordstrom.  You want to fix the health crisis?  Lower the price of healthy food alternatives and raise the price of deep fried crap.  You want to fix the health crisis?  Fix the economic crisis suffered by the poor.  Uh oh, someone’s starting to sound like a Socialist (whisper that last word so no one hears it).

If you couple these new mannequins with the decision made by Spain in 2006 to only allow healthy-ish models on the catwalk, you’ll see an emerging trend.  Unhealthy swings in two directions.  Many women and girls have been left out of the definition of “beauty” force fed to us by advertisors.  They define themselves and their worthiness by a Photo-shopped standard.  But it doesn’t stop there, because men use these same standards.  Showing life-like images doesn’t just shift the paradigm for women.  It shifts for men too.  When they begin to see a variety of models in varying shapes, their ideas of perfection change.  Perhaps with a focus less on one external ideal, both genders would pay more attention to things like a woman’s gentle nature or rebellious one, her artistry or business acumen, her political sense or comic timing, her ability to cook or knowing exactly the places to order out, her eye for design or ability to do her own engine tune up, her affinity for reality television or smutty romance novels, her willingness to slow down or to tell you to “keep the fuck up”, her love of Willie Nelson, Nicki Minaj, tacos, spaghetti, beer, chocolate, vanilla, candles, shoes, painting, math, science, religion….

Well, one can hope.



  • I was so humiliated when I had no choice but to start wearing a size 14 my senior year of university, thanks to all the weight I’d gained. I was even more humiliated when I had to get a size 16 pair of pants after graduation. Now I don’t even care if a 14 is the size that fits me. Depending on how a garment is cut and fitted, someone can wear several different sizes, and being above a size 12 doesn’t mean you’re not attractive and can’t have nice clothes. Knowing how to dress yourself properly for your size is key. What looks flattering or cute on a size 4 woman might look horrible on me.

    I have the most problems with finding tops and dresses that fit well, since for some reason I was given tiny little shoulders along with wide hips and a huge chest. No one makes clothes for women with those kinds of mismatched features.

    • stellanuova stellanuova

      Hi Carrie-Anne! Thanks for commenting. I am not a plus size but I still have trouble finding tops and dresses that fit well. As I’ve gotten older I realize that things shift around on my body and it’s harder to buy clothes. My boobs decided to grow when I turned thirty-five I was more than happy with their average size before. I have found that getting my things tailored really helps. My tailor is really low cost and quite fantastic. You should try a tailor, it makes a big difference.

      Also, I have come to realize that I have to work harder at staying healthy. What I have now in physique is only going to be harder to maintain as I get older, so I better start from somewhere near the top on that slippery slope. I want to live into old age (if I’m blessed to do so) in the best shape possible. I want people to say, “man, that is one gorgeous old lady.” 🙂

  • This discussion always upsets me. So the new normal is to be overweight, and those who aren’t, are abnormal? Every extreme is a health risk and although it’s healthier to be overweight and active than skinny and inactive, obesity is still THE risk factor for sleep apnea, certain cancers and diabetes. I like how they work towards using mannequins that actually look like real people in size, but I still think that society should promote healthy behaviour to prevent illness (this goes for both over- and underweight). I think in many cases people prefer to make EVERYTHING ok just to avoid discussion and not “offend”. That is especially the case with eating habits.
    I’m probably so-called skinny, although I don’t really see myself that way always, and I’m always offended by this whole discussion because it’s so NOT ok out there to speak about how obese people are, but it seems to be perfectly ok to say to someone how awfully skinny they are and how bad that is. We all have our problems and we all should be respected and supported. Being skinny can be a big problem just as much as obesity, just in different ways. And it’s not ok to treat us skinny people like something abnormal and “bad” more than it is to treat obese people like that.
    What I do like about those mannequins is that they are not the same size. The one to the right is on the chubbier side, while the one to the left is skinnier, which means that both are “ok”.

    • stellanuova stellanuova


      I’m so glad you’re reading and posting comments this passionate and articulate! I absolutely agree with you and hope that came across in my words. Women come in all different sizes, which includes skinny. The size of a mannequin is just a symptom. And I’m glad there are now a variety, including skinny. The problem runs much deeper than that. Obesity runs in my family and it has been a struggle for some relatives almost their entire lives, but I have some friends who have struggled to keep weight on and just can’t gain. I am small, but it’s easy for me to gain weight. I have to be conscientious of that every day and work to keep a reign on it. That being said, unhealthy is unhealthy no matter what you weigh, but obesity is such an epidemic, especially in America.

      My boyfriend and I have noticed that in Europe there just isn’t such an overwhelming overweight populace as there is in the U.S. Portion sizes are smaller and people actually walk. I mean really walk. In most places in the states, people jump in their car to go somewhere a quarter mile away and then eat humongous meals three times a day or more. In many respects we have really harmed society by making things more convenient, more abundant and less meaningful. Additionally, as mentioned in the post, there are so many political reasons for an overweight population. The poor have less healthy food options than the rich, and in times of economic hardship, people reach for more high-fat, low-nutrient foods.

      Anyway, I truly believe that showing images of “real” women, whatever their size, is crucial to changing perceptions of beauty. Not glamorize the unhealthy but change the perception of “perfect”.

      Keep commenting! I really enjoy your feedback.

  • Rob Bear

    The change of language from 'normal" to "healthy" is really significant. And the move to "size 14" is significant. These say a lot about who people are, as Human beings. I see lots of Human females who are so thin, they look half-starved.

    Blessings and Bear hugs!
    <a href="">Bears Noting</a>.

  • As someone who is classed as obese, I find I am consistently reminded, by the media, the government and all those kind souls who find it appropriate to comment on my size in the street that I don’t fit the accepted norm for a ‘healthy’ body shape. I agree that it isn’t healthy to be overweight just as it isn’t to be too skinny. I wouldn’t promote obesity as a lifestyle choice, just as I wouldn’t promote crash dieting or other extremes. It is a shame that we have such a distorted idea of what a healthy body looks like, though.
    It is heartbreaking working with young girls who are starving themselves on a daily basis because their ‘normal’ teenage anxieties about their appearance is all the more intensified by the obsessions of the media about the ideal body shape. Unfortunately, no re-assurances can compete with the bombardment they get from the world around them about what they should look like.
    I don’t think for a minute that clothes shops should deliberately promote an unhealthy lifestyle but the truth is that many of the mannequins used in the UK would be at a maximum as UK size 10 (I think this is an 8 in the US) and that does not reflect the majority of their consumers (even in plus sized clothing shops where they have had to pin clothes at times as their outfits aren’t even stocked in a size 10!)
    You make a very sound point that the economic crisis we face is causing much of the problem with diet and exercise – in this country, as well as the US. It seems in this country that we are implementing a range of cuts to support for those on the lowest incomes in this country and then criticising them for making unhealthy food and exercise choices – not really fair!
    Great post!

    • stellanuova stellanuova

      Isn’t it sad that all of us sitting at home can see these things yet our governments and media can’t figure it out or don’t want to? Proof in practice that money is the real driving force in political decision-making. This blight on the poor, and for me it really resonates when talking about the working poor, is just completely intolerable. Those people who pull huge hours at work and/or double jobs, yet can’t get help when it’s needed are the real victims here. Perhaps if lobbying and corporations didn’t have such a heavy hand in politics things would be quite different.

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