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H&M Raises the Beauty Bar and Lowers Our Self-Esteem Simultaneously

H&M

Do those abs look suspiciously similar?

First there were the über-skinny mannequins at the Gap that left no doubt that someone thought anorexia should be en vogue this season. Then there were the ads from a clothier named Drop Dead featuring a pin-thin model who was so malnourished-looking that the UK’s Advertising Standards Authority banned them for fear the images could “possibly warp young girls’ perceptions of a healthy body image.”

Now comes H&M. The department store known for being “budget chic” has been caught red-handed putting real-life model’s heads on computer-generated bodies. And the fake bodies aren’t fully dressed. They’re wearing underwear, lingerie and swimsuits. And guess what? The bodies are perfect, natch.

H&M, however, could care less if your less-than-perfect feathers are ruffled, according to Fox News.

Norwegian website Bildbluffen was the first to point out that H&M’s underwear models’ bodies were exactly identical — and even posed identically — while their heads (and in some cases, skin colors) were different.

“This is a technique that is not new, it is available within the industry today and we are using it for our Shop Online in combination with real life models pictures and still life pictures,” an H&M rep Håcan Andersson told the English-language Swedish website The Local. “This is not about ideals or to show off a perfect body, we do this to demonstrate an item of clothing.”

It is a practice they have no plans to stop. H&M said the online models should be thought of like mannequins found in stores.

Riiiiiiiiiiiiiight. That’s just what I think when I see photos of gorgeous, perfectly thin and shaped women. I won’t assume, “Hey, there’s another woman who was born perfect whom I have zero chance of resembling,” or, “Hey, there’s another woman who is genetically blessed whom I’ll never be as thin as or as pretty as.”

Oh, wait. Yes, that is exactly what I’ll be thinking. Thanks for making me feel worse about myself and letting me know that the ideal size and shape is utterly and literally unattainable. That I should look at real-looking yet flawless women and assume they’re mannequins.

If you really say we should think of the women in those images like mannequins, H&M, then how about simply using mannequins instead? You know, instead of telling us we’re the dumb ones for not looking at real-looking yet flawless women and assuming they’re literally fake. 

Or do you really actually not want of us to think of the models as mannequins, but instead as women who we want to look like so maybe if we buy your clothes we’ll kind of look like them?

Somehow I think the latter is the case. In which case, thanks for nothing, H&M.

Do you think H&M should be ashamed of itself?

Image: H&M

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