Mall Scavenger Hunt, Critical Look at Mannequins, and Body Image-April 2018 Workshop
For our April workshop, our mentors and students headed to the mall. Everyone spent a good chunk of time exploring the mall with a worksheet, going into different stores and seeing what their mannequins were wearing. The students and mentors discussed what was being sold on the surface level, and then what was subtly being sold.
As a group they defined body image as “the mental image one has of themselves”. Then matches shared what they saw out in the mall and how that can affect our own, or someone else’s body image.
Jessica, Manuel and Jamila noticed that at the Nike store the only mannequins were male, and that they were of an athletic build. While exploring the store, they noticed that there are female Nike shoes, but based on the mannequins, the store was speaking to the male buyer. They also noticed that, if you were new to working out, or not a male with an athletic build, it could be intimidating to go into that store and purchase something.
Lani and Alex went into a different store that sold only clothes for young women. They noticed right away that the mannequins had a darker, tan skin tone-so diversity was trying to be portrayed. Along with that, the mannequins were wearing summery, festival clothing-shorts and crop tops. Through our discussion, Alex and Lani decided that beyond just summery, fun outfits, this store was trying to sell the idea of a fun time.
As we continued discussing the different mannequins, the group saw where someone could change their perception of body image, based on what they saw at the mall. None of the stores we visited had mannequins of the average sized person, and there was not much variety of the style they were wearing.
Our students left feeling more aware of what can be found when you critically look at something, and hopefully will not let advertisements or mannequins impact their body image and own self worth.