The chain was quick to respond via Twitter when a shopper tweeted out an image of its rib-bearing mannequin saying they’d look into it. Days later, Primark announced the mannequins would be removed.
@Melfyx We're currently changing our window displays. The mannequins you describe will not be used in this way again.
— Primark (@Primark) July 24, 2014
Despite their vow to take down the display, the image of the very slim mannequin had already been retweeted over 2,000 times. Many users seemed displeased with the appearance of the mannequins calling them "disgusting," "shocking" and "utterly terrifying."
Jezebel, however, pointed out that while the mannequins may encourage unhealthy body image expectations, many women look like that, citing a trend toward more realistic looking mannequins. American Apparel, for example, was lambasted after displaying mannequins with pubic hair. JCPenny recently created a window display with mannequins molded after real people from a wheelchair-clad veteran to a 6-foot-tall female college basketball player.
Earlier this year, lingerie boutique La Perla faced similar flack when their mannequins appeared with protruding ribs. An image of their eye-catching display made its way to Twitter and was removed from the store window soon thereafter.
In this situation, diversity is key. If mannequins were made to represent an array of body types rather than just one ideal, a thin, ribbed mannequin might not seem so offensive, but rather a representation of a real-life build.