After plus-size mannequin ridiculed, boutique sends out message on inclusivity

While much is being spoken about clothing not being inclusive for all sizes, a plus-size mannequin on window display at a UK bridal store was being fat-ashamed and jeered at by passersby. The large-size figurine, nicknamed Fuchsia and put up at Somerset Bridal in Minehead in April, was being ridiculed so often that would-be-brides shopping at the store started getting affected.

After about two months of relentless heckling, the owner of the store, Debbie Shelley, 53, finally decided to deal with it. “Fuchsia has feelings and we think she is stunning,” the store owner put up a sign near the mannequin. “Please send lots of love not laughs,” another signboard read.

Shelley told Daily Star that as passersby laughed at the Size 32 mannequin on a daily basis, she put up another note asking people: “Are you laughing? or Are you fat-shaming?”

“We’ve had women with children laughing at the mannequin and coming up to the window and saying ‘don’t ever get that fat love, because no one’s ever going to want to marry you are they?” Shelley told BBC News. “That’s been the most hurtful part for me.”

Highlighting that she caters to brides in ‘all shapes and sizes’, she added: “It’s easy to get smaller mannequins but not so easy to get anything over a size 20 and half of our brides are over a size 20.”

Hoping that the signboards would have some effect in “changing people’s attitude”, Shelley put up the post urging people on social media to show support. When she requested followers to make Fuchsia viral, netizens didn’t disappoint. Now that the attitude of locals have changed, she said, she couldn’t have been happier.

Thanking people for their overwhelming support and love, the store owner while sharing another photo of the mannequin in another dress, joked: “She is now famous, (she is charging me £50 for her autograph – cheek!)”. She also added that now passersby are “proud to have their photo taken with her, it is AMAZING!!!!”

Inundated with mails and messages, Shelley also added: “If ever there was proof needed that there is more love for her than hate then the sheer volume of messages and emails we have received definitely shows us.”

Many across the globe thanked her for being inclusive. The post also inspired many plus-size women share their struggles of finding a ‘perfect dress’ for their wedding.

Netizens also wondered that if a mannequin can be fat-shamed, then what plus-size people have to go through while bridal shopping in reality.