TODAY |

'Grotesquely thin' mannequin at Farmers store horrifies Dunedin shopper

A Dunedin woman was shocked to see "grotesquely thin" mannequins at a Dunedin Farmers store.

The woman, who does not want to be named, was confronted with the "shockingly thin model" recently, and told 1 NEWS, "As someone who has struggled with an eating disorder and mental health conditions I have always been attuned to the impact advertising and social media have on our lives, particularly young people".

The 19-year-old said she was "disgusted" after spotting two of the mannequins and had concerns, especially with an already powerful social media influence on young people, that images of unhealthy bodies could be harmful.

"It's not the norm," the woman said. "It's a really dangerous image to portray.

"I was so taken aback by the model I was interested to find out if there were any standardised obligations retailers have to ensure models are of an appropriate size."

READ MORE: Critics of new plus-sized mannequins called out for 'fat phobia', experts defend Nike's messaging

She said she wanted to raise awareness of the issue so she wrote a letter of complaint to Farmers on Wednesday outlining her concerns, saying she was "horrified" at the Calvin Klein mannequin.

"Quite frankly I am not sure why a model of that size was even produced let alone allowed to be displayed," she wrote.

"We live in a society where there is already immense pressure on men, women and young people alike to look a certain way and be the "right" body type. The mannequin in your store encourages an unhealthy body image and an unrealistic body ideal in young people and customers visiting your store, it was awfully skinny."

She also said a human with a body size like the Farmers mannequin would be considered "medically unhealthy", adding she would be "seriously concerned for their wellbeing".

"Body Dysmorphic Disorder (BDD) and Eating Disorder statistics are on the rise in New Zealand. Such disorders distort an individual’s perception of their appearance. Unrealistic body standards and advertising can fuel these thoughts and behaviours," she wrote, adding such disorders could be deadly.

She told 1 NEWS, it may have been an isolated incident as the two models she saw with that body type were both in the Calvin Klein section, but she wanted steps taken to ensure it was not an issue in other of their stores.

Farmers has been approached for comment.

What do you think? Email Rebecca.Moore@tvnz.co.nz

A Dunedin woman was confronted with the "shockingly thin model" at her local Dunedin Farmers store. Source: Supplied