Nike’s mission statement is to “bring inspiration and innovation to every athlete in the world. If you have a body, you are an athlete.” To prove their own mission statement, back in 2017, Nike came out with a plus-size collection of clothing, then later created plus-size mannequins. Lots of viewpoints about the mannequins were shared online, from angry and negative ones to encouraging and positive ones. Although social media focused on the negative comments, I’d like to focus on the positive.
As someone who has a hard time finding clothes that fit or function properly for reasons other than being plus-size, I believe that Nike’s use of plus-size mannequins is an incredible way to start a conversation about increasing representation and creating a more inclusive fashion space.
People will assume that I don’t struggle when shopping for clothes because I am petite, but in reality, I think everybody struggles in one way or another. When I shop for pants, I have a hard time because the pants will fit my waistline, but they won’t always fit over my thighs. My thighs get in the way of everything, even when shopping for jean shorts. I have to get a bigger size and wear a belt with all of my jeans, dress pants, and jean shorts.
Having plus-size mannequins is a way to include everybody—even people who don’t wear plus sizes.
Everybody wants to be able to feel comfortable in the clothes they wear, especially when exercising. When doing physical activities, nobody wants to worry about their shirt not fitting properly or their pants ripping because they are too tight.
I go to the gym regularly and I often see people with attire that does not quite fit. They are constantly fiddling with their clothing, rather than focusing on their workouts. Even outside the gym there are people who are constantly fiddling with their clothes to try and make them work.
Why should people with certain body types be the only ones who get to feel comfortable in their clothes?
The diverse representation demonstrated by plus-size mannequins starts the conversation about the beauty in everyone. The mannequins in stores are usually tall and slim with abs and toned legs. I am a slim and tiny girl, but when I walk into certain stores, I compare myself to the mannequins and think about how I will look in the clothing they are wearing.
The diversity of different body types is needed in today’s society because of social media and the pressure we face. Accepting and representing women as they are, and not how the industry wants them to be, is critical for our mental health. The amount of time we young adults spend on social media scrolling through images of how we wish we looked has a harmful effect on our self-esteem.
If young girls can walk into stores and see that it is acceptable and normal to have a body without toned arms and legs, that would make a huge difference.
Nike isn’t encouraging obesity or unhealthy eating—they are normalizing body types. Plus-size mannequins should be seen as a positive and should be encouraged, as well as celebrated.
Taking the time out of your day to exercise is tough. Let me tell you: Working 25 hours a week, taking six courses in university, and trying to balance a social life while going to the gym is hard. But I believe that normalizing exercise is something that needs to be done, so I push myself to go to the gym at least three to four times a week. Believe me, physical activity with a busy schedule is 100% possible!
With the immense amount of advertising about healthy eating and lifestyles, I feel like we still push those habits to the side. There are so many benefits to exercising that help you in the long run. But how can we enjoy going to the gym or doing physical activities when we are scared of our clothes not fitting properly?
People need to realize that there are curvier women in the world who exercise, just the same as any other woman might. We need to stop equating a certain size with being healthy.
What we should remember is that women are beautiful at every size, and there should be outfit choices for everyone.
Nike has done an excellent job proving their mission statement by creating plus-size mannequins and a plus-size collection. The normalization of exercise and body types is a topic that should be highly focused on because of the amount of time we spend on social media. We need to come to the conclusion that exercise isn’t just for thin people—it is for everybody, no matter the body type. Moving joyfully helps you become friends with your body, as it is now. All women deserve, and should be encouraged, to feel good.