Nicole Cottrell


I am a 20-year-old, 5ft 7, size eight female who isn’t really phased by the size of mannequins displaying clothes in stores. What I’m trying to work out is whether that’s because I’m the same size as the mannequins or not. Would I think differently if the mannequins represented the average woman in the UK – a size 16? Debenhams has launched “plus-size” mannequins in its stores in an attempt to depict the average British woman. So, should this phenomenon be encouraged worldwide, or has the issue surrounding body image overstepped the mark?
Essentially, being beautiful starts within. Feeling comfortable within your own skin is the first step in feeling confident about the way you look. For women who may be larger than a size 10, the introduction of a mannequin which reflects a true representation of women may be a positive step towards increasing self-confidence. What it won’t do however, is change them. For as long as I can remember, mannequins have been the same size, regardless of the UK average; therefore it’s become a social norm which the British public have accepted, until now.

I recently read that an MSP has spoken out about how he wants the size of mannequins to change after his daughter lost her life to anorexia. I do feel the widespread use of airbrushing needs to be curbed as it can toy with people’s confidence and spark inner demons, but I personally don’t know exactly what implementing mannequin changes will achieve. Maybe I’d feel differently if I was a size 14 or 16, but at the end of the day, why should people who are a size eight or 10 be made to feel like they aren’t normal, or average. Of course you could say the same about larger women, but there are such a diverse range of body shapes and sizes that you can’t please everybody.
With a topic as sensitive as body image and self confidence, unfortunately, it’s easy to get trapped in a vicious cycle. Whatever the decision, it’s going to divide opinion and won’t be universally accepted. I think it’s important that before any changes are made or disregarded, people should embrace their body, strive to feel comfortable in their own skin and believe they are beautiful. Confidence comes naturally, so the sooner you feel confident, the less you’ll care about what size others are or what size clothes you fit into. If you feel good, who cares whether you’re a size 10 or a size 16? So please ladies, learn to love yourself and the confidence will follow.

Find more from Nicole on her blog