In a society where image is everything it’s hard to live without seeing the constant reminders of your “flaws” everywhere you turn. Women are constantly at odds with themselves over how they look vs. how the world around them says they should look. Negative body image and its consequences (low self esteem, anorexia, bulimia, etc) show no mercy, they affect women of all races, socioeconomic backgrounds and ages. Thursday a photograph made its way around the web of Gap’s “Death Camp Chic” mannequins and many people were quite disturbed by the image of the mannequin’s abnormally skinny legs. People commented on how department store mannequins give young girls a false idea that these images are the ‘perfect’ woman and inadvertently force them to strive for an unrealistic and often unattainable goal which could lead to self hate. Gap isn’t the only retailer with ‘anorexic’ mannequins; pictures have also surfaced of Club Monaco’s mannequin displays that clearly show collarbones and even spines.
Obviously stores like Gap and Club Monaco are in the business of making money and have to design their policies, clothes and store windows around what their target consumers want. But what responsibility, if any, do they have for also promoting healthy and realistic body images to women and young girls?