In June of 2019, Nike became the subject of a heated internet debate when the company introduced a plus-size mannequin in its NikeTown London store. The mannequin celebrates active bodies of different types; the folks who just don’t get it want it gone.
The body bash erupted when Telegraph journalist Tanya Gold slammed the mannequin, saying: “She is immense, gargantuan, vast. She heaves with fat. She is, in every measure, obese, and she is not readying herself for a run in her shiny Nike gear. She cannot run. She is, more likely, pre-diabetic and on her way to a hip replacement.”
Whoa. Wait a minute. Quite frankly, I’m “heaving” at these comments. And right now, I’m ready to fight back.
Ms. Gold, maybe you can listen and learn something instead of running your mouth in a ceaseless whirlwind of chatter about subjects you know nothing about. Nike’s plus-sized mannequins are important for a reason: Plus-size women work out, too.
Your comments are appalling. Some of us were born into bigger bodies. And much to your naive surprise, many of us do work out on a regular basis (it’s none of your business if we do or don’t). I personally could run a 5K in a decent time, and I practice HIIT workouts several days a week. So no, Tanya, you aren’t correct. I’m ready to take you on in a run with my shiny new Nike gear. I won’t be out of breath in my body that is not pre-diabetic or on the way to a hip replacement. In fact, I’ll probably give you an earful the entire time, as would many, many, many of our Curvicality friends.
And while I’m at it, let me add a few more words of wisdom for the fat-phobic folks out there. As plus-size women, many of us eat healthier foods than you suspect. We practice yoga, run and move. I don’t know any plus-size women who just sit around on the couch eating bonbons (again, none of your business if they do … focus on your own life).
Yet here you are, bashing us for wanting to work out? You don’t know a thing about our health. No. 1, the term “plus-size” encompasses a whole range. Many plus-size models are a size 10, which in many cases isn’t even overweight. Are you bashing them, too? No. 2, we know plenty of overweight women who have absolutely no health issues. And No. 3, for the third time, our weight, health and anything else you want to spout off about is none of your business.
Ironically, the typical American mannequin offers far from ideal proportions. These mannequins tower above most of us at 6 feet tall, and sport a minimal 24-inch waist. As CNN notes, if a woman really presented with these proportions, she would be subject to immune suppression, would have no menstrual cycle, and would face possible osteoporosis. You don’t see fat haters complaining about concerns over models looking as if they suffer from anorexia, which, by the way, is a deadly disease.
So, the lesson learned here is that you, Tanya, are incorrect. At Curvicality, we celebrate all bodies, and we celebrate women being as active as they wish to be. Do your research, and then get back to us about the facts. Thank you, Nike, for supporting all bodies. After all, all bodies are beautiful. We love what you’re doing.
P.S. Let me know if you’d like to come running with me. I’ll be the girl in the shiny new Nike apparel.
About the Author: Mary Beth Cooper is a body-positive activist, journalist and founder and CEO of Curvicality. She established Curvicality digital magazine in 2019 to create body-positive media.