Obesity Epidemic Spreads to Inanimate Objects

|

The Spanish government knows what its people need: fat mannequins. The health ministry says all shop window dummies will henceforth be size 38 or above (very roughly equivalent to a size 6 stateside), and officials plan to measure 8,500 Spanish women "to determine the true shape of Spanish women's bodies." It gets better.

Retailers have also pledged to stop putting clients through the nightmare of having to work out exactly what their size is in each shop they visit. With different retailers deciding for themselves exactly what, for example, a size 38 really is, consumers are confused.

Now retailers are to agree a common sizing policy that will be "truthful, homogenous and comprehensible".

Isn't this just obviously counterproductive? Sorry boys and girls, but you have to pick one: truth or flattery. Standardizing sizes will slow the delightful spread of vanity sizing, in which the numbers only get smaller as our trans-fat stuffed bodies get bigger. Telling adolescent girls how fat they really are seems unlikely to curb anyone's pro-ana enthusiasm. 

NEXT: Feingold Goes for the Gold

Editor's Note: We invite comments and request that they be civil and on-topic. We do not moderate or assume any responsibility for comments, which are owned by the readers who post them. Comments do not represent the views of Reason.com or Reason Foundation. We reserve the right to delete any comment for any reason at any time. Report abuses.

  1. This foolishness would never be tolerated in Myanmar.

  2. If they standardized sizes here, Old Navy would be the first casualty. The whole point of that store is that everything is a full size larger than what it says on the tag.

  3. plan to measure 8,500 Spanish women “to determine the true shape of Spanish women’s bodies.”

    OK! Where to I apply?

    Do I need papers? I have a passport around somewhere.

    I’ll even supply my own measuring tape.

  4. I know the dogma is that everything the government does is bad, but it would be nice if clothes were standardized sizes. I’m surprised the free market has not straightened this out like it solves every other problem.

  5. The free market solves every problem?

    Cool. I have this neighbor who plays really crappy metal music. I’d like “the market” to make him, um, disappear. Who do I see?

  6. know the dogma is that everything the government does is bad, but it would be nice if clothes were standardized sizes.

    Only if people came in standardized sizes, too.

  7. Haywood,

    Why? There are no standardized sizes and yet I manage to find clothes that fit me every single time I go shopping.

    it’s hardly rocket surgery

    No problem, no demand for change, no free market solution required.

    It’s the sort of non-issue that only a goverment would even care about solving.

  8. Yes, but in addition to standardized sizes I want some secret sizes, made by secret designers.

  9. This has already been done by the US government (specifically, NIST):

    http://museum.nist.gov/exhibits/apparel/role.htm

  10. I wonder if standardized sizing will involve mandated waist-to-hip ratios. It could get confusing with all the different pant styles these days; low waist and straight hip, “curvy” styles where the hip is a full size larger than the waist, below the belly button waist with a slight curve to the hip, etc.

    I’d guess the idea that standardized sizes will eliminate the need to try different sizes to find what looks best on an individual is flawed because the variation in clothing styles and individual body types won’t go away. Unless the government does in fact mandate specific w/h ratios, inseams, rises, etc.

  11. Haywood,

    Why? There are no standardized sizes and yet I manage to find clothes that fit me every single time I go shopping.

    So do I, but it would be much easier if the label actually told me what size the garmet was so I didn’t have to try it on.

    I know it’s not an earth-shattering problem but it would be more efficient.

  12. Most industries work out a standard over time.

    Interestingly, there is a company who sets ALL the standards for color, worldwide. They worked it out, copyrighted their system and marketed it. Neat little monopoly, but everyone finds it useful and convenient to have a universal standard, so nobody complains. [Sorry I’ve forgotten the company’s name, I think it starts with a B.] Only monopoly I know of that evolved without government intervention.

    OTOH, many industries are afraid to get together to set overall standards because they fear being charged with a trust violation.

  13. tactical shopper,

    You have a vagina, and therefore enjoy taking a cartload of clothes to the fitting room and trying on 372 different garments.

    I have a penis, and therefore would prefer ordering my clothes off the internet. Preferably on some sort of subscription where every six months they send me three white jockey shorts, three pair of socks, one new pair of pants, and two new shirts in last year’s style appropriate for the upcoming season. Sweeeeeeet

  14. i find the size of inanimate objects to be growing at an inversely proportional rate to our waistlines. add three inches, the size of a cell phone shrinks 3 inches. i would think that manufacturers of electronics would like standardized sizing in the clothing industry so they would know how small to make their gadgets.

  15. Warren,

    I have a vagina and buy most of my clothes off the internet. I did have to do a little hit-or-miss research to find manufacturers whose products I like and to learn their sizing quirks, and that did involve returning a few things or just giving them away if I didn’t like them. But overall, I think it was worth the effort because now there are a few places where I can go to get most of my clothing without going on dreaded actual shopping excursions. You can do it too.

  16. Aresen,

    Pantone?

  17. I know the dogma is that everything the government does is bad, but it would be nice if clothes were standardized sizes. I’m surprised the free market has not straightened this out like it solves every other problem.

    Yeah, great! Like it isn’t hard enough to buy pants already, without the government making clothes that fit my non-standard sized body illegal!

  18. Preferably on some sort of subscription where every six months they send me three white jockey shorts, three pair of socks, one new pair of pants, and two new shirts in last year’s style appropriate for the upcoming season.

    What are you, some kind of metrosexual big spender guy? THREE new pairs of underwear?

  19. Downstater:

    you mean something like the final ad from the movie Crazy People (U tube, probably NSFW due to non-PC content)?

  20. Jesus Haywood, I don’t know what your problem is. There are 3 sizes, L for larger than I wear, S for smaller than I wear, and M which presumably means Me.

  21. I for one welcome our new ‘official’ size 38 overlords.

  22. jf

    I think you’re right. Thanks.

  23. I always buy all of my clothes in X-M (extra medium) ­čÖé

  24. About the mannequins: note that someone did an analysis of standard female mannequins and noted that a real live woman with the same dimensions would be considered anorexic.

    I don’t think it’s asking too much to ask that a product claiming to be a standard of the female body be at least be one involving a healthy female body.

  25. I’ve been to Spain, and I don’t recall seeing any fat women, ever. The women in Spain (at least the parts I visited) are like the women in New York’s garment district, only more so.

  26. Just how in the hell am I supposed to display my Nicole Richie line of ready-to-wear overseas now, huh?

  27. “I don’t think it’s asking too much to ask that a product claiming to be a standard of the female body be at least be one involving a healthy female body.”

    Well, which do you want? Average or healthy. If they were to repeat such a thing in the US the mannequin would be overweigt. And anyway, I don’t think they are ‘asking’.

  28. I just figured out what I can use to display my Nicole Richie line accurately….hangers.

  29. Let’s just measure Penelope Cruz.

  30. “I just figured out what I can use to display my Nicole Richie line accurately….hangers.”

    Do you put them on the normal way, or put the hanger bar vertical?

  31. When you’ve got models looking like concentration camp victims, one starts to wonder. That’s what the market wants? That’s the image that women are supposed to aspire to?

    Incidentally, anorexia supposedly has a 10% fatality rate. Of the other 90%, a sizeable percentage will have wrecked their bones for life, not to mention other health effects.

    Look, can’t we at least insist that models be healthy?!

  32. I’m very glad to see the fashion industry responding to public opinion on the ghastly thinness of models. And I’m very interested to see what happens over time. As for mannequins, I really don’t pay much attention to them. I have noticed that they often look exactly the same except for their skin color, and some have erect nipples while others do not.

  33. GR,
    Who is “we”.

    In this case I can’t help but thinking the group would be made up of a bunch of women studies professors.

    I just throw up in my mouth a little.

  34. Those skinny-ass runway models gross me out. You have to be gay to find them attractive, since they are built like very thin teenage boys. If it’s true (what I’ve heard) that gays run the fashion industry, I think we now know why the models look the way they do.

  35. “Look, can’t we at least insist that models be healthy?!”

    better yet, let’s insist people use their brains.

    yay! we’re fucked!

  36. If you offer to pay an obscene lot of money to young women to ruin their health, a certain percentage will do so.

    I realize that libertarians have no problem with this.

  37. Actually, I had the idea for fat mannequins years ago. Just another of my brilliant schemes that never see the light of day, mainly due to my busy schedule playing guitar for Van Halen, and working with my charity Todd’s Girls.

  38. “Preferably on some sort of subscription where every six months they send me three white jockey shorts, three pair of socks, one new pair of pants, and two new shirts in last year’s style appropriate for the upcoming season.”

    Cool!

    Every three months they could switch off between grey and khaki for the pants.

    I think you’re onto something, Warren.

  39. Only monopoly I know of that evolved without government intervention.

    UIL.

    Every three months they could switch off between grey and khaki for the pants.

    Khaki holds color better.

    I’m surprised the free market has not straightened this out like it solves every other problem.

    The free market has solved this problem in accordance with the desires of the customers. I’d tell you how but it involves women and vanity and my flameproof outfit (XXL) is in the laundry.

  40. Size 6 isn’t fat by any stretch of the imagination. And how is standardizing counterproductive? *boggle*

  41. zil

    No one is saying that standardizing is necessarily counterproductive. It is government-enforced standardization that they are objecting to.

    If you are an American, how would you feel if the rest of the world were try to dictate to you that you MUST convert to System Internationale [metric] weights and measures?

    (It’s ironic that the FIRST country to successfully revolt against English rule is the LAST major holdout for the old Imperial system of measurements.)

    I can also thing of a major example where standardization would be extremely counterproductive: Imagine if all restaurant meals and menus had to be standardized?

Please to post comments

Comments are closed.