Beware the power of social media: After one keen shopper with an active Twitter account posted a picture of a scary-looking mannequin at a UK Topshop, word is getting around that its stick-thin legs are perpetuating negative stereotypes.
That shopper is Becky Hopper, 23, who’s been getting a ton of attention since her impactful tweet—with over 6,200 retweets and counting. “We’re overwhelmed by the response and general positive attitude towards this issue and the photo,” she said in an interview with the Daily Mail. “We aren’t out to body shame skinny girls, far from it. We’re hoping to encourage Topshop to show a more diverse range of mannequins, all sizes should be celebrated.”
This news comes on the heels of a bad week for retailers. Not only was Walmart called out for having a “Fat Girl Costumes” section (yes, seriously) but just yesterday Victoria’s Secret was the subject of negative press due to their new “Perfect Bodies” campaign, which some are saying promotes negative body image.
“Many girls can be healthy whilst looking similar to this mannequin, however, most cannot,” Hopper continued. “We simply wish for Topshop to acknowledge that and appreciate that things like this can act as a trigger for those with eating disorders.”
One could argue that Topshop is doing just that by collaborating on an athletic streetwear line with Beyoncé, a pop star celebrated for her curves and (somewhat) attainable figure. But if they are indeed focused on promoting an active lifestyle it should be represented throughout the brand—from the promotional messages to the mannequins on the floor.
“Teenage girls are Topshop’s target audience, one of the most influential groups of people there are,” offered Hopper. “We owe it to young girls to be more responsible with how we portray body image.”
Topshop has yet to comment.