by Hannah McCartney
You know when you’re at the store and they’ve run out of your size in a shirt you really, really wanted? And you look at the one hanging on the mannequin hoping and praying it’s a medium so you can derobe her and leave with that peplum top? We all know that’s a lost cause, because she’s always, without fail, wearing a damn extra small, because anything larger would engulf the porcelain, size 2 life-size Barbie, which would make the clothes terrible and nobody would want to buy them. One department store in Sweden — surprisingly, the stereotypical exporters of blonde, Scandinavian ice queens — has finally launched a "f&*# you" campaign against the mannequin industry standard, which apparently values female mannequins that are often designed to be six inches taller and six inches smaller than the average woman, according to the Chicago Tribune. Basically, clothes made only for this Ukrainian woman, who went through an insane amount of plastic surgery to become the first "real-life Barbie" (click on her photo to read more): The store only has two of the normal mannequins right now, who are sporting some classy lingerie. Photos of the mannequins have gone viral, and to absolutely nobody's surprise, women across the world have become pretty smitten with the concept of seeing models in clothes that don't look radically different from themselves. It's actually pretty genius, from a marketing standpoint: Aside from making a super-powerful social statement, it seems likely their sales will probably skyrocket — how many times, after all, have you seen something looking fabulous on a mannequin and tried it on yourself, only to look in the mirror with horror and disgust? Let's compare. On the left, two Victoria's Secret mannequins. On the right, the lady from the Swedish department store. The photo of the healthy-looking models was apparently taken in 2010, but it didn't go viral until recently, when Women's Rights News posted on March 12 the image to its Facebook account with the caption, "Store mannequins in Sweden. They look like real women. The US should invest in some of these." The post has earned nearly 20,000 shares and more than 64,000 likes. In the past, you'd probably usually find non-Barbie-fied mannequins strictly at "plus-sized" ladies' stores, which, to me, sort of gives off the impression that there are two types of women in this world who need clothes: white runway lingerie models and white overweight women. Of course, this is not the case, and it's probably time retailers stop deluding themselves and listening to what shoppers want. It's much easier — and less painful — to make smart shopping decisions, which makes for happier shoppers. And it goes without saying that advertising — particularly in the clothing and beauty industries — plays a huge role in how young girls and women (and men) develop self-image. According to the National Eating Disorders Foundation, 20 million women and 10 million men suffer from eating disorders sometime during their lives, and 40 to 60 percent of elementary school girls (ages 6-12) have expressed concern about their weight or becoming "too fat."