15-Year-Old Takes Topshop To Task Over Its Severely Thin Mannequins

Do better, Topshop.

Topshop appears to have a bit of amnesia when it comes to promoting a healthier body image.

The brand is being called to task once again for using dangerously thin-looking mannequins ― this time, by a 15-year-old.

Mom Zoë Mason shared an image taken by her daughter at a Topshop in Hereford, England on March 30. In an accompanying Facebook caption, Mason explained that her daughter and a friend went out to do some shopping, but came home with “words full of crossness” instead after seeing the displays.

“’It’s not surprising that so many of my friends think they are fat or just don’t like their bodies,’” Mason said her daughter declared as she showed her the severely thin mannequins. “’Are girls not meant to be happy whatever size they are? Are we not meant to even f**cking EAT?!’”

The teen also declared she would stop shopping at Topshop and that the message the mannequins send makes her “want to scream.”

If the outrage sounds familiar, perhaps it’s because Topshop came under fire at least twice before for using unrealistic-looking mannequins. In 2014, an image went viral of a woman who is a U.S. size 4/6 standing next to a Topshop mannequin built with legs half the size as her own. At the time, The Huffington Post UK reported Topshop defended the mannequins, saying they are not meant to represent real bodies.

In 2015, another customer posted a photo of a troubling mannequin to Facebook. The retailer defended itself by absurdly explaining the mannequin was “stylised to have more impact in store” and “needs to be of certain dimensions to allow clothing to be put on and removed easily,” but its statement also promised Topshop would not place any further orders on the shape in question.

But alas, here we are again, having the same argument and fighting for the same change two years later. What will it take for brands to stop promoting an unhealthy, unrealistic body image?

Perhaps, as Mason told the Huffington Post, it will take continued pressure from the young people they’re marketing to.

“Eating disorders are on the rise, and they are affecting girls and boys at much younger ages,” she said. “With the amount of research we now have available to us, I feel that big companies still perpetuating this idea that tiny is the idea is socially and morally irresponsible. It doesn’t take much to make young people feel differently about what they see.”

Topshop declined to comment, and Mason said she and her daughter haven’t heard from the company. For now, Mason and her daughter intend to keep up the conversation, “joining the existing voices wanting the media and the fashion industry to be held accountable and to give our young people diverse body images.”

Good for them. It’s discouraging to see a major brand struggling to get something so simple right. But as long as there are people like Mason’s daughter around to call brands out on their shortcomings, we feel better about the future.

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