Body Positivity Advocates Defend Nike’s New Mannequins After “Hateful” Column

High-profile advocates of the idea that women shouldn’t be shamed over their bodies have lambasted a recent UK newspaper column which criticises Nike‘s new plus-size mannequins.

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In case you missed it, a photograph of a plus-sized mannequin at a London Nike store sparked international headlines this week, with many praising the athletic clothing brand for showcasing an inclusive range of products.

However, The Telegraph columnist Tanya Gold penned a column suggesting Nike was, in fact, working to normalise an unhealthy weight range by promoting those sports bras and leggings.

Specifically, Gold said a woman the same size as that mannequin “cannot run. She is, more likely, pre-diabetic and on her way to a hip replacement.”

The piece was seized upon by The Good Place star Jameela Jamil, who has tirelessly catalogued the myriad of ways pop culture and commercial enterprises make women feel like their bodies don’t belong. Her take: Nike was totally in the right, and Gold was guilty of “bullying and bigotry” for making unfounded assumptions about women who exercise.

“How can we shame people about their size and then try to take down mannequins for sportswear that include their size, inviting them at last into a part of the world they have been previously excluded from,” she added in an Instagram post.

Jamil later shared a more succinct post on the matter:

Earlier, memoirist Roxane Gay added her take, responding directly to the Telegraph’s article on Twitter.

Those two figures are hardly the only individuals to have been rankled by Gold’s column, with many women sharing how they exercise while not fitting Gold’s ideal of a ‘woman who works out’.

Add to that the studies that show making people feel worse about their bodies will only keep them from taking steps to ensure their health, and it seems Gold published the perfect take: incendiary and flawed.

As an aside, we highly recommend you look at some of the strongest women in the world, and ask yourself if they’d fit Gold’s conception of a ‘healthy’ aesthetic.