Former head of global apparel at Nike, Mindy Grossman, has spoken out about the backlash against the brand’s new plus-size mannequin.
Last week, Nike introduced a plus-size mannequin at its Oxford Street store in London, leading to mixed responses from the public. While many applauded Nike for its step toward inclusivity and body positivity, the praises were overshadowed by a select few declaring the mannequin promotes obesity. Specifically, a Telegraph article on June 9 from journalist Tanya Gold, who states the mannequin is “immense, gargantuan, vast” and “heaves with fat.”
Grossman, who is now the chief executive officer of WW International — formerly known as Weight Watchers — responded to the backlash in a LinkedIn post from Tuesday, stating: “[I’m] angry because of those who are so misguided to say that having larger mannequins are contributing to obesity — seriously? — and resolute as I truly believe that what they are doing with their size expansion and visualization with their mannequins is exactly what is needed in our society.”
She goes on to discuss her company’s mission to embrace body positivity and promote wellness and how someone’s health is not directly linked to their size. “I know firsthand that health and wellness is not about a number on a scale, not about what size you wear and should not be stigmatized as such.”
Working at Nike from 2000 to 2006, Grossman’s tenure saw the introduction of a new brand mission: “To bring innovation and inspiration to every athlete” where athlete is defined as “if you have a body, you’re an athlete.”
She believes that Nike is still living up to this message with the introduction of the mannequin. “Serving all athletes of every size is what they are doing with this new vision in women’s apparel,” she writes. “What I know is that this commitment will have a positive ripple effect. It will inspire more women of every shape and size to walk, to run, to workout and to feel powerful and beautiful as an athlete.”
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