Rihanna’s highly-anticipated first Fenty fashion line is doing a huge thing for women’s body diversity, but there’s still a long way to go.
Mannequins have always had an unhealthy way of making women scrutinise their own bodies. Researchers once concluded that mannequins from the 1930s-60s were so thin that a real woman of a similar size wouldn’t be able to menstruate. And promotion of this ultra-thin ideal has been proved to cause women to be dissatisfied with their body size.
As we look at them to model the clothes we want to imagine ourselves wearing, it’s easy to be self-critical when we don’t see our own bodies reflected back. And yet, a recent study showed that the average shop mannequin was representative of “a very underweight woman”.
As one Stylist writer shared earlier this month, it wasn’t until very recently that she felt her body was recognised by Nike. The brand used plus-sized mannequins in their store for the first time, breaking away from the supermodel (6ft, size-zero, white) mould that shops constantly insist on using.
Now, Rihanna has also helped make clothes shopping a more inclusive experience. The singer debuted her first Fenty collection with mannequins that represent bodies similar to the singer’s own, boasting hips, curved tummies, big boobs and thick thighs. They’re being hailed as “curvy” and “realistic”, which is leaving many fans saying that they finally “feel seen”.
Oh, and the clothes look awesome on them.
Taking to social media, people have shared reasons why this is such a huge moment in female body diversity.
“Here for this mannequin having hip dips and a little pooch,” wrote one fan.
“I…think I look like a Fenty mannequin??? Dysmorphia has left the chat,” added another.
“After Nike, Rihanna’s #FENTY introducing curvy mannequin is surely a welcoming and world-changing idea!” wrote a third.
Of course, there’s still a long way to go to include all bodies in fashion and beauty, but Rihanna really is paving the way here.
Image: Getty and Instagram