Last week my feed blew up with photos from the Nike London flagship store; they officially have plus size mannequins! People were jumping up and down with excitement, Instagram was abuzz, and some of the top Body-Positive Influencers were there to take photos with the ol'girl:
Source: @Bodyposipanda Instagram: 1.1 million followers
Source: @dianasirokai Instagram: 897K followers
Yay for representation! But wait. There's more.
A couple of days after the news was out, a lovely article came out, by Tanya Gold. With excerpts such as these:
"Yet the new Nike mannequin is not size 12, which is healthy, or even 16 – a hefty weight, yes, but not one to kill a woman. She is immense, gargantuan, vast. She heaves with fat.She is, in every measure, obese, and she is not readying herself for a run in her shiny Nike gear. She cannot run. She is, more likely, pre-diabetic and on her way to a hip replacement. What terrible cynicism is this on the part of Nike?"
Inflammatory, right? It's almost as if... hm.... She INTENDED to upset people.
What happened next? Oh I don't know.
EVERYONE. SHARED IT.
Everyone in the world+ their mother+their favorite influencer posted about it on their social media. And you know what three words were included in all of the ranting and raving?
Nike. Tanya Gold. And Plus Size.
It's like an all powerful SEO genius was like, "hm, how can we get a bunch of people to share these three buzzwords for free?" How can we make sure we reach every plus size woman who has an Instagram and/or Twitter/Facebook account?
So first, let's play both sides of the fence. Let's sponsor very well known body positive influencers to get the ball rolling, so there's a beginning of a general awareness around the new plus size mannequin (the Nike plus size line started in 2017, I didn't know this).
THEN. Let's get someone to start some controversy, right? That'll get clicks. Should we have Nike say something awful about women? No! Let's make them the hero in this situation. Let's have a A PLUS SIZE JOURNALIST WRITE A HATE ARTICLE ABOUT IT AND SHE CAN BEAR THE BRUNT OF THE BACKLASH(Also, you had to pay to read her recent viral article. So it seems we have 3 parties with skin in the game, folks).
You know what else I love? TANYA GOLD IS A PLUS SIZE WOMAN WHO WROTE AN ARTICLE TITLED: "IN DEFENCE OF OUR FATTIES:.. LET THEM EAT CAKE." For the Daily Mail in 2008!
Tanya Gold in the Daily Mail
Brilliant. It really is. I have to admire it. It's marketing genius. On everyone's behalf.
I doubt Nike directly paid Ms. Gold to write the article (though would that really surprise anyone?) but here's what I do know:
They are taking advantage of another way to make money. End of story. There's a demand for plus size athletic gear, and they've decided to call attention to the fact that they're currently providing that. Creating a lot of press around a new mannequin is a cheap, easy, quick way to get the word out.
Tanya is taking advantage of a hot button issue to get clicks. She wrote a rag, for a rag mag, and all of us slags don't really have to nag.
Plus size and loving it? AWESOME! Go live your life, and help more worthy posts go viral. Think this mannequin is the root of all evil? Go mind your own business and realize that the more plus size women see representation in athletic media, the more we might feel encouraged to be more active ourselves. Isn't that what you claim to want anyway?