The SheHawk: More realistic mannequins miss the mark

Veronica Wernicke, Assistant Opinion Editor

Editor’s Note: Veronica Wernicke is a freshman at UNCW majoring in Communication Studies and is the Assistant Opinion Editor for The Seahawk. The opinions expressed in this article are solely those of the author. Veronica Wernicke may be found on Twitter @itsveronica98. All suggestions and inquiries may be sent via email to

First things first, can we all agree mannequins are creepy. If you disagree, then you have obviously never seen a scary movie where the “realistic” mannequins come to life — no thank you. 

Making mannequins more “realistic” is definitely at the top of all feminist agenda, right? Wrong. This is what British fashion chain Missguided must have thought when they decided to release more lifelike mannequins — isn’t this how a scary movie starts — with stretch marks, freckles and even vitiligo, according to Today.    

Along with these new features, Missguided also released mannequins of different ethnicities. All of this was done in efforts to have the mannequins represent real women. These efforts coincide with their #MakeYourMark movement last December. The movement centered around body positivity and featured un-retouched models, according to the Missguided website. 

These new mannequins being dubbed as “manne-queens” on Twitter, are a step in the right direction I guess.  

The store’s #MakeYourMark movement is a lot more powerful and meaningful than these “manne-queens.” I just do not see the powerfulness behind them, and instead I just see something ridiculous. If it were up to me mannequins would just be hangers or rid of all mannequins to begin with because they are unnecessary. We all know what something looks like on a mannequin is not what it will look like on you. They make dressing rooms for a reason.  

One important thing to note about these mannequins is that the store only added ethnically diverse mannequins with stretch marks, freckles and vitiligo. Notice that the store did not add any different sized mannequins. They all still just happen to be tall and slim looking. 

This seems counterproductive, especially in terms of their #MakeYourMark movement which featured models of all different sizes. So, it is surprising that a company that prides itself in positive body images that they disregarded the most obvious thing, size.  

I have never heard anyone complain about mannequins not having stretch marks, freckles or vitiligo. Instead, I have heard complaints for years about stores not featuring mannequins of a variety of sizes. 

The keys to better address this issue are simple for this company.  

One, they could have also added multiple sized mannequins to their stores. Or secondly, — and my preference — Missguided could have stuck more closely with their #MakeYourMark movement from last year and had more photoshoots with un-retouched models that were various sizes and feature skin marks like stretch marks, freckles and vitiligo. They then could have gone on to have posters or pictures from these photoshoots hanging around their stores. 

This would have addressed the body positivity issues they were trying to tackle as a company much better; instead of adding creepy realistic mannequins — creepy in the sense that they look so lifelike, not that they feature realistic women features.    

They could have even not added these new mannequins because again it would be powerful to feature actual photos of models with these features around their stores. They should take a hint from Lane Bryant which their website features models with stretch marks wearing swimsuits. Now that is a movement.  

While you could say Missguided is definitely ahead of the mark when it comes to building a brand of positive body images, they missed the mark on this mannequin movement. Let us hope they and other stores can learn from this and do a better job of cheering on and representing women positivity because we all are beautiful no matter what we look like.