Debenhams Launch Size 16 Mannequins To Show “What Real Women Actually Look Like”

The department store has unveiled its new, larger mannequins that they say better represent what their female customers actually look like. Many think it’s brilliant, but others are unconvinced.

The mannequins in Debenhams are currently a U.K. size 10 (a U.S. size 8), but soon, they’ll have some curvaceous size 16 friends to hang out with.

The department are unveiling their larger size 16 mannequins in their newly refurbished Oxford Street store in London today, which they say will better reflect the size of many of its customers. The Director of Debenhams, Ed Watson, has said the company feels that it’s important to “better represent what real women actually look like when advertising our clothes.”

Personal stylist Lorraine McCulloch told BBC Breakfast that it will be “brilliant” for women to see what the clothing looks like on a bigger mannequin. She also suggested that it might help women be “braver” about their clothing choices.

The equality and women’s minister, Jo Swinson, supports Debenhams’ decision as she thinks younger women need to “have healthier body images promoted to them”, adding:


“Women are fed a diet of images which suggest that there is only one way to look great – and that is to be very slim, white and young. That is the look which is pushed onto all women, regardless of their body shape or age. It is reinforced from the catwalks right through to shop mannequins – which is why I support Debenhams’s decision.”

Many women on Twitter also thought the new mannequins are positive thing:

Well done @Debenhams !! I applaud you! http://t.co/d9s75zJs2S

— sarah_berryman1 (@Sarah Berryman)

RT @AESTHETiKA: #Debenhams leading on female #bodyimage @Telegraph please drop #RealWomen tag Thin women ARE real women too http://t.co/pH…

— CharlyALewis (@Charly Lewis)

Also 1st chain to stop using airbrushed lingerie model pics RT @JonathanHaynes Debenhams launches size 16 mannequins http://t.co/PD5RBD1eyH

— BhopalHouse (@Faiza S Khan)

However, a columnist for The Daily Telegraph has said it’s “crazy” to make women “feel good for being fat”:


“But hang on – what gesture are we making here? Some women are naturally size 16 and we shouldn’t criticise them for it. The truth is, though, that the alarming size 16 average has happened because women (like men) are eating and drinking too much.”

Some (men) on Twitter also weren’t convinced:

Debenhams using size 16+ mannequins now to represent "real women", but you wouldnt see them for overweight men? Strange balance

— marvelegend (@Nathan)

@BBCBreakfast just turned over to Sky News forever. Size 16 manikins in Debenhams is not news. But women - size 16 is obese - lose weight

— lastminutepete (@Peter McLoughlin)

Has Debenhams just told its customers they're fat? http://t.co/zNXYl5IM5l Way to upset your (chubby) customers.

— whisperednothin (@EU)

Madness... ANYWAY... Size 16 manikins in debenhams?? lool FAT BITCHES!

— Izz_Jnr (@Izz™)

Debenhams are going to start using size 16 manikins to represent the 'real' shape of women, are you serious

— NickGanderton (@Nick ⚡)

Other shops including Topshop and Miss Selfridge currently have size 10 mannequins in their shops, while Dorothy Perkins and Wallis use a size 10-12.

Debenham’s new size 16 mannequins will be rolled out across the U.K. in the coming months.

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