Dr. Dae Sheridan was shocked by the size of mannequins she saw during a shopping trip to J.C. Penney at Citrus Park Mall earlier this month.
But she’s not surprised at the response she’s received from a petition she created urging the department store to reconsider the size and proportion of its mannequins.
“I have been overwhelmed by the personal stories and the care that people are taking to offer their thoughtful comments,” Sheridan said. “They do not, however, surprise me, as I recognize the very real impact this issue has on girls and women.”
Sheridan is a Temple Terrace mother of two, adjunct professor at the University of South Florida, licensed psychotherapist, board certified clinical sexologist and certified rehabilitation counselor. She created the petition on change.org, the same site that USF professor Dr. Scott Ferguson used to start a petition to remove Chick-fil-A from the Marshall Student Center.
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“A few days ago I was in your store and one of your women’s mannequins in the center aisle was wearing a pair of your ‘super-skinny’ jeans,” the petition addressed to J.C. Penney reads. “It was a staggering image that truly disturbed me. The legs on the mannequin were not just ‘super-skinny’, they were extraordinarily, shockingly thin. So thin, that the mannequin’s leg was the same size as my arm!”
“I love fashion and I recognize how important it is to keep yourself at a healthy weight,” Sheridan’s petition also states. “This is not about body diversity or fashion trends. This is about a major retailer choosing to advertise with unrealistic portrayals of the human body. This was not a ‘thin’ mannequin, it was two malnourished poles with jeans on them, and I refuse to encourage retailers to SELL this image to our children.”
The petition has received more than 6,840 signatures and has been featured in The Huffington Post, ThinkProgress.org and RT.com. Sheridan said her goal is to get 55,000 signatures, one for every mannequin that J.C. Penney bought in the past year. Anyone can sign the petition.
Our culture is saturated with an unrealistic beauty standard that teaches girls and women to achieve impossible proportions, Sheridan wrote in the petition.
“I don’t know if they try to measure up, but what I do know is that once you see something like this, you can’t unsee it,” Sheridan said. “You can’t pretend that these aren’t the messages we are inundated with on a daily basis. I hope that every parent takes the time to point out to their kids how silly these unrealistic images are. Let’s be sure to talk more about real, healthy bodies rather than silently letting commercially-driven unattainable images of plastic ‘perfection’ do the talking for us.”
USF Professor Launches Petition Against On-Campus Chick-fil-A