The Kiffness, takes to Facebook to reprimand retail brand about too skinny mannequins. But are they being hypocritical?
*This story has been updated to include a new comment from Dave Scott of The Kiffness.
This past weekend local electronic band, The Kiffness,shared their disapproval for Woolworths' in-store mannequins, which according to them, have legs thinner that the kebab sticks sold by this very store.
Posting the below pic of one band member giving the mannequin a thumbs-down, the picture has since gone viral with almost 3000 shares on social media.
Many commenters found the retailer's unrealistic portrayal of South African women disturbing, while others focused on the fact that many women are naturally this skinny. The Kiffness responded accordingly:
While it’s obviously a positive thing for people to stand up against companies that promote unrealistic body ideals, it is confusing coming from this particular source.
Less than a month before the Woolworth’s post, The Kiffness posted a picture of him and his father-in-law in front of Cape Town strip club, Mavericks. The image of the two men standing in front of the notorious strip club had the following caption: “Spending some quality time with my father-in-law #Makeitrain.”
In it, they are brandishing R200 notes with which one can only assume they mean to honour the hashtag. The image has since been deleted, but we have a screenshot of the post.
Now while we support and understand female sexual emancipation and women’s choices to make a living off their naked bodies, no one can deny that this particular industry is still rife with oppression, discrimination, misogyny, body-shaming, bullying and exploitation.
So this is why this particular comment, made by The Kiffness, under the mannequin post reads kind of hollowly. “The whole fashion industry is built on making woman feel miff about themselves. Subtle things like this contribute to that. Enough of greedy business men capitalizing off of making woman feel miff. The only way it will end is if we name and shame.”
Greedy business men making women feel miff? If we were forced to be honest, that would be the tagline of every strip club in the world.
*UPDATED: Dave Scott from The Kiffness has given us the following statement after the publication of this article:
"I would first like to state that I have never set foot in a strip club, and nor has my father in law. This picture was completely tongue in cheek. We are both married men who have the utmost respect for our wives as well as women in general.
I would also like to say that I agree on the sentiments of the article, and I can see how the picture of me and my father in law standing outside Mavericks could raise questions about my character. While at the time my father in law and I were just having a laugh, I will admit that the post was done in poor taste. I deleted the post to dispel any unnecessary questions people had about mine or my father in law's character and/or the sentiments behind my quarrel with Woolworths' mannequins.
Anyone who knows me or The Kiffness brand will tell you that I find humour in things that are generally absurd - and pretending to visit a strip club with my rather conservative father in law seemed like a humorous post at the time. I know now that making jokes about visiting strip clubs isn't something that should be a laughing matter, as the women who work in these kinds of places are often desperate and are not in a position to be made fun of. Finding humour in absurd situations like this has landed me in trouble in the past, and I will always be quick to admit when I am wrong. I'm always trying to make sure that my humour is in line with building a better outlook on life & this post didn't do that. For that, I am sorry.
I would like to also point out though that this post doesn't take away from the validity of what I'm saying to Woolworths. You can knit-pick at someone's character and you will always find flaws and I'll be the first one to stand up and say I am far from perfect. But I believe the truth is the truth regardless of who it comes from, and that should never be undermined. Say what you will about me, but if Woolworths changed the policy on their mannequins then I will have played a small part in contributing to helping women have positive body images, and I believe that is far more important than finding fault in my character."
Meanwhile Woolworths has responded with the following statement:
“We thank our customers for their feedback. The concerns raised have been discussed in-depth today with our Visual Merchandising, Clothing and Marketing management teams who have committed to take these concerns into consideration when we next order mannequins. We currently source our display mannequins from international mannequin houses and these bodies are built to global or universal specifications.”