Life as the textile expert at a regional history museum

Wednesday, November 2, 2016

Dark Corner of the Internet

In a few short weeks MOHAI is opening a major exhibition about food culture in Seattle called Edible City. Even though food is the focus, there will also be clothes-- including some chef's jackets and dresses worn to a famous Seattle restaurant.  For various reasons, we wanted a couple of the mannequins to not be the usual ones we had in stock. So I was tasked with finding some new mannequins.


Since we had a limited budget and limited time, it meant finding something from a retail supply company rather than a custom order from someplace fancy. So I went online to search. And I'm here to tell you that the internet world of mannequins was grimmer and even more upsetting than I expected.

I realize that the bar for icky things on the internet is set pretty high, but I still feel like this was a dark little corner I had stumbled upon. 

The idea was to get mannequins that were a bit more dynamic and lifelike than our regular ones. So I guess, faces? But if the faces are painted, you sort of need wigs...

Ok, ok, no wigs. Maybe "molded" hair? 

Erm. A little better, I guess, but sort of hard to pass her off as a 1930s housewife, right? 

Hey, oh actually this molded hair one looks a little better... come all the non-white mannequins are specifically listed as "Ethnic" or "African"? 

This...feels a bit racist. I guess it is good that they even sell mannequins that aren't white, but you lose points if the white version of the style is "female mannequin" and the black version is "ethnic female mannequin." And you definitely lose points if all your "African" mannequins are in a separate special category, away from all your "regular" (white or abstract) mannequins. 

Oh there was also a site that used "Latin style" as the euphemism for mannequins with larger butts. 

Even without the casual/blatant racism, there were lots of weird categories on the sites. Some that I really didn't want to click on...

And some that were a little more intriguing. Like a whole section of "Euro Male" mannequins???

Tell me more!!

And then there was just straight-up nightmare fodder. 

Aren't you glad I started blogging again?

1 comment:

  1. Hahahaha yes! I work at a museum with a limited budget so whenever I need to buy a mannequin I have to turn to sites like these. I'm always like "please work, do not take away my internet privileges for looking at weird's not my fault!"