Plus-size models are speaking out against fatphobia after people criticised Nike’s new mannequin

Last week, Nike unveiled a plus-size mannequin at its flagship London store, with many people praising the retailer for displaying a realistic body type instead of the usual stick-thin kind seen in shops.

Of course, there were some people who criticised the move, saying it promoted obesity, but for the most part, the conversation centred around body positivity.

At least, it did, until one writer penned a scathing critique of the mannequin, and now plus-size influencers are fighting back.

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WELL DONE @nike ! FIRST PLUS SIZED MANNEQUIN ... Empower more people to feel more comfortable about training and fitness! A 👟in the right direction! @niketraining @nikesportswear @nikewomen ▫️ 🎬 Photo & Story Credit 📸: @nikesportswear ▫️ ▫️ ▫️ For Q&A Message Me Or Leave A Comment📲 ▫️ ▫️ No More #calories & #portions Guess Work @mealkitt Counts Calories & Portions A Balanced Meal For You👨🏻‍🍳 ▫️ ▫️ 🤷🏻‍♂️🤷🏽‍♀️Need Help With #mealprepping & #mealprep Click On My Profile 💭 For FREE Diet Guides & Training Guides Worth $199 💵 ▫️ ▫️ ▫️ ▫️ ▫️ ▫️▫️▫️▫️▫️▫️▫️▫️▫️▫️▫️▫️▫️▫️▫️▫️▫️▫️▫️▫️ #fatloss #transformations #weightloss #weightlossmotivation #fightingobesity #healthyeating #healthylifestyle #foodprep #instafit #instaweightloss #gymmotivation #transformationtuesday #weightlosstransformation #trainingday #eatclean #nutrition #healthyfood #obesetobeast #weightlossjourney #obesity #healthychoice #losingweight #transformation #mealkitt

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Writing in the Telegraph, Tanya Gold claims the mannequin is obese and does not represent a healthy person: “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.”

Speaking on Good Morning Britain, plus-size model Hayley Hasselhoff praised Nike for introducing the mannequin: “It’s all about size inclusivity. You want to walk into a store and see yourself represented.

“We get so judged walking into a gym. Nike is saying, ‘We support your journey and fitness goals.'”

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Even presenter Piers Morgan, who in the past has criticised models like Tess Holliday for normalising obesity, agreed: “My main argument against the likes of Tess Holliday is you should be spending more time trying to get your weight down and get fit, and I think Nike are encouraging that.

“Surprisingly, I thought, ‘Actually, good on Nike.'”

On Instagram, another plus-size model and influencer, Callie Thorpe, wrote a long post pointing out the hypocrisy of the backlash, and how it’s an example of ‘fatphobia’ – the fear or dislike of obesity or obese people.

She wrote: “It’s ludicrous that fat people are mocked, bullied and told to get to the gym and lose weight, yet we are also told we don’t deserve the access to active wear.

“Do you see how ridiculous that is? Which goes to show it’s got nothing to do with health concern and everything to do with prejudice.”

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it’s so disheartening working in an industry where you think great strides are being made, only to be starkly reminded that fatphobia is rampant and no matter what we do we will never be respected Just last week we saw something incredible happen. @nike put a plus size mannequin in Nike Town. A representation of a body we never see in the fitness industry. It was powerful But yet again another think piece comes out. Another dehumanising, awful set of words to remind us fat people that we are despised by society. Tanya Gold the writer of the piece in the Telegraph describes the mannequin as “An 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.” I usually would write a response to this with a point to prove. something defending my point of view and those of my peers saying how outdated and disgusting these views are but quite honestly what’s the point? I’m that heaving with fat woman she is talking about. It’s ludicrous that fat people are mocked, bullied and told to get to the gym and lose weight yet we are also told, we don’t deserve the access to active wear. Do you see how ridiculous that is? Which goes to show It’s got nothing to do with health concern and everything to do with prejudice Prejudice and discrimination isn’t just harassment, or discriminatory behaviour. It’s living every day life watching as people stare at you whilst you eat. Move away from you when they think you will sit next to them, listening to countless jokes being made about your body shape on TV any film. It’s doctors not offering you care because of your weight or not getting jobs because of the size dress you wear. It’s no wonder people are turning to extreme weight loss measures like surgery because it feels like the only way out. If you are following this page and you aren’t plus size please use your platform to stand up against this especially and even more so for plus size people of colour. Hashtagging #bodypositivity isn’t enough. Please Speak out

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On Twitter, Michelle Allison aka The Fat Nutritionist, went even further, saying in a series of tweets that fatphobia, “needs fat people to exist, but it specifically needs us to exist in misery”, because it enables fatphobic people to feel better about themselves.

She concluded: “Fatphobia does not want us to exercise joyfully and comfortably, because it does not want us to experience being fully alive, doing things that build us up and give us pleasure.

“It erects barriers around us, and then yells at us for staying inside. The hypocrisy is the point.”

Other Twitter users have been posting about their own athletic achievements in order to point out how inaccurate it is to say that someone of the Nike mannequin’s size ‘cannot run’. “I’m chunkier than that Nike mannequin but apparently I ‘cannot run’… and yet I somehow completed the London marathon this year,” wrote Liz Rees.

It’s encouraging to see something positive resulting from an extremely negative opinion piece.

While some people suspect Gold was purposefully trying to rile readers up, she’s actually succeeding in galvanising body positivity advocates as people come together to stand up for themselves in the face of fatphobia.

- Press Association

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