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Does This Display Want You to Be Skinny?

About Face is a fantastic organization for girls — and anyone else, for that matter. The San Francisco-based nonprofit works to help young women rise above media messages (advertisements, music videos, magazine spreads) that perpetuate an overly thin, unattainably "perfect" ideal. Unfortunately, they have their work cut out for them, as there aren't too many media sources that promote a more true-to-life vision of womanhood.

About Face has its own blog, and one recent post takes Macy's to task for a denim display that features skinny jeans. The writer says:

I have become accustomed to the waif-thin mannequins sporting bodies that the majority of human beings cannot attain without the help of anorexia. But to focus [the] display on the word “skinny” is taking the assault on women’s image to a new level. . . . I know, I get it: Skinny jeans, hence the S-K-I-N-N-Y. I get it. But with the addition of the word “skinny” to the size 2 mannequins, they are communicating to the “non-skinnies” that these pants are not for them. Mainstream advertising is once again reminding the world that to be skinny is glamorous and should be what everyone strives for.

The writer goes on to say that she'd rather "have the body of a woman, not that of a pre-pubescent boy." While I see what she's saying, I don't look at this display and think, "Ah, the fat-hating patriarchy is at it again." Instead, I'm amazed that the skinny-jean silhouette is still around, given its ability to make almost everyone look like a bizarre carrot-sausage hybrid of denim disaster. I'm curious about your thoughts on this display. Do you think it sends a message about skinny bodies along with clothes, or is it just trying to sell us some questionably flattering jeans?


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