0 comments / Posted on by Michelle Rosenfield

[caption id="attachment_5081" align="aligncenter" width="400"]Beth Ridgeway
Beth Ridgeway
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I always have The Today Show on the tv as I get ready for work in the morning.  But I never get to watch more than a few minutes in my rush to get out the door.  So I felt so lucky to catch a segment today exploring why mannequins in stores windows fail to truly reflect the sizes and shapes of all shoppers. After all, everyone isn't a size 4 or 6, the standard size for storefront mannequins according to Women's Wear Daily. (The average size of a plus size women' s dresses at Sydney's Closet is 24!) The segment on mannequin is part of the show's  "love your selfie," reclaiming beauty series that takes a closeup look at body image.  The five fabulous stars in the mannequin segment represent people of all different sizes and shapes.  And not one of them  conforms to the stereotype image of models on the runway or in magazines or in store windows. Each of the five agreed to pose as models for life-like mannequins created in their image:
  • An Army paratrooper who lost his legs in Afghanistan and wear double prosthesis.
  • A female athlete who uses a wheelchair and competes in the Boston Marathon.
  • A stellar female college basketball players who stands very tall.
  • A husband who has dwarfism and stands very short and proud.
But it is the fifth participant that had me put down my cup of coffee to focus strictly on the screen.  Her name is Beth Ridgeway, and she is a wife, mother, entrepreneur who just happens to be plus size.  "It's emotional," Beth tells the reporter wiping away a tear.    "I hope she looks like a beautiful, strong  plus size woman." She did.  “Beauty isn't a size or shape, it’s your heart and your mind,” she told the millions of  people watching as she stood next to the mannequin modeled after herself.   What was her goal in being part of the pioneering project.  “I hope it opens people’s eyes ." Beth represents someone we all know who is plus size.  A sister.  A mother. An aunt.  A cousin, friend or neighbor. "No matter what size you are, you're still beautiful" , Beth reminds us on national television. It's a question I've asked for years.  Why are plus size mannequins only in stores dedicated exclusively to men and women who wear larger sizes? But until I saw the segment, I hadn't thought about portraying people with disabilities, of short and tall stature in window displays.  And it seems so obvious now! Bravo to Fusion Specialties Inc. in Colorado the mannequin makes who partnered with the TODAY Show to build these one-of-a-kind mannequins. Now the Today Show is looking for a department or clothing store that can display these beautiful mannequins.   Any takers out there?

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