Is the “New Normal” All that New?

Recent campaigns have placed mannequins shaped to resemble people with physical disabilities in shopping centers in attempt to create a “new normal” for body image. When people look at an outfit on a mannequin, they see how the clothing is supposed to fit and they can’t help but compare their body shape to that of the mannequin. The youth is especially vulnerable to basing what a body should look like off of what they see in everyday life such as mannequins in shopping malls.

Mannequins with missing limbs or distorted body parts were reported to have caused such a shock as people had never seen anything like that before. The mannequins elicited a generally positive response, but the issue was that there was that element of shock. It’s true that a disabled body is not usually considered the norm and is also not a common thing that you would see being advertised, but why is that? Why isn’t a physically disabled body seen as normal?

Kris Castner, author of the article, “The handi-capable body,” wrote of her older sister’s struggle with physical disability. Her sister underwent a series of intensive surgeries in order to “fix” her body and allow her to walk normally. The problem Castner had wasn’t with the surgeries, but that her sister’s body wasn’t considered normal until after she had them. If people start looking at disabled bodies as normal, like they should have long ago, then seeing them displayed in public should no longer be such a shock.