Last week, Nike launched it's new "Women by Nike" collection inside a NikeTown store in London, England. The collection featured plus-sized mannequins, used to demonstrate how the pieces would fit a variety of different body types. While many people praised the sportswear company for its progressive and inclusive new rollout, some people were not so happy about it. The collection received quite a bit of backlash on social media, with some arguing that the mannequins "promoted obesity" and regarded them as being "dangerous." The controversy continued after a writer for the Telegraph wrote about the Nike mannequins in an article titled "Obese Mannequins are Selling Women a Dangerous Lie." The biggest takeaway from this entire situation is that while brands like Nike are making monumental strides in regards to celebrating and championing people of all body types, the general public still has quite a bit to learn about the importance of body positivity and diversity in the mainstream market.
What is Body Positivity?
Body positivity is a social movement that reinforces the belief that people of all shapes, sizes, and appearances should have and maintain a positive body image. The movement seeks to challenge the archaic mainstream narrative surrounding weight, and advocates for the acceptance and inclusion of all body types in all arenas.
Why is Body Positivity important?
Body Positivity is important because combating the mainstream narrative surrounding weight consequently helps combat many of the dangerous and potentially harmful results that stem from it. When media outlets place the same tall, thin bodies on a pedestal, those who do not fit this ideal can develop a poor body image and low self-esteem. Over time, these things can eventually lead to more serious issues like bullimia, anorexia, depression, and Body Dysmorphic Disorder.
What steps can we take?
To make our society a bit more inclusive and accepting for everyone, we can start by supporting brands like Nike that have proven themselves to be trailblazers in championing diversity. We can also stand in solidarity and offer words of kindness and encouragement to everyone on their fitness journey, regardless of shape or size. It is important for us to remember that we are stronger together, and when we all join forces to fight for a solid cause, we can make magic (and Body Positivity) happen!