Store Mannequins Too Skinny?

Storefront mannequins at one local clothing store look unusually thin. NBC 7 examines if there’s any correlation between these mannequins and how a young woman feels about her body

The average store mannequin may be a size 4 but one San Diego retail chain is using a store display that NBC 7 found prompts a negative reaction from some shoppers.

The store is called Closet. There are eight Closet stores in San Diego County, and it caters to ‘tween’ girls.

The legs of the mannequins displayed in the storefront don’t touch.

NBC 7 showed pictures of the mannequins to a handful of passersby.

“Wow, that’s really tiny. It looks almost alien-like,” said El Cajon resident Tami Klien.

“I don’t have words for it,” said Lori Main. “It’s sick. It reminds me of starving people in other countries.”

Carol Kervin thinks the mannequins portray the wrong message to young girls.

“I would not be too inclined to shop at a store that had mannequins that didn’t portray real life bodies," Kervin said. "That’s not something that should be desired – to be super skinny and have next to no body fat."

Clinical pyschologist George Pratt, Ph. D. says women in college spend almost a quarter of the time thinking about their weight.

He thinks images like the mannequins we showed him don’t help with a female’s body image.

“The average woman in America is 5 feet, 4 inches tall and 140 pounds. The average model is 5 feet, 11 inches tall and 117 pounds, so what is being offered as a role model in magazines is not realistic,” he said.

Pratt says someone who has a body the size of these mannequins would be severely underweight and could have endocrine disturbances and brain chemistry changes because of poor nutrition.

Many mannequins are made in China but we found a manufacturer in Southern California called Greneker.

The VP Creative of Greneker, David Naranjo said the standard size for mannequins is a size 4. He admits that sometimes the models look too thin and unhealthy.

That’s one of the reason he and Greneker have started designing fit and plus-size mannequins instead.

He says it’s nice to sculpt a mannequin who doesn’t look like they’ve had plastic surgery or has feet that tilt up as if a woman is always wearing five inch heels.

NBC 7 reached out to Closet repeatedly to see if they had comment for our story. They did not want to talk to us, but indicated that they didn’t see a problem with their mannequins’ size.

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