Has anyone besides me noticed the strange goings on in the world of mannequin boobs? Aside from the problem that the vast majority of mannequins hover somewhere around a size 2 when the average woman in this country wears a size 12, there is something amiss here. It seems these days that if a mannequin’s breasts haven’t been grotesquely enlarged, they have at least been adorned with conspicuously erect nipples.
If we must have fake plastic people in the form of mannequins and dolls, I’m all for anatomically correct representations of the human body, but I seriously doubt that’s the intention here. I mean, I know most of us have nipples, and that most of them have the capability of becoming erect, but I also know that that isn’t their default state. It takes either cold or sexual arousal to create an erect nipple, and something tells me these clothing stores aren’t trying to create an association between their products and a brisk winter’s day.
Then there are the new mannequins with the ridiculously large breasts. The makers claim that these mannequins are hot sellers because of the growing number of women with breast implants and the resultant demand for clothing designed to fit a size 4 body with 34 Z breasts or whatever the fuck these are.
Isn’t this a symptom of the fact that our perception of what a woman’s body ought to look like has gotten away from us? That mannequin on the left looks like an anime character, not a human being. Mannequins purportedly represent an ideal (fascistic) body type, which makes this trend quite troubling. It means that breast implants are becoming so commonplace that the general public no longer thinks it odd for a female mannequin to have breasts six times larger than those that nature could provide a woman with. It means that the “ideal” body type is no longer something that can be attained without surgery. It’s distressing to me that porn culture (which is the source of the breast implant craze) has seeped into the mainstream to such an extent that the average woman now apparently doesn’t do a double-take when presented with a representation of the human female body that is so distorted that it reminds one of science fiction. In both the erect-nipple and the giant-boob incarnations, these mannequins are a representation of the fact that women’s bodies are, in all circumstances, to be seen as sexualized objects, and that mannequin makers have (probably correctly) surmised that women have internalized that idea to the point that they won’t demur when confronted with such oddities. Fucking sweet.
(This is kind of a silly aside, but what if some people in the future found these two sorts of mannequins and, knowing nothing of 21st-century American culture, attempted to construct some conception of our culture therefrom? I would really like it if people commented with what kinds of theories they think these future anthropologists would come up with.)