YOU see them all the time while making your way through your favourite shopping malls. Mannequins, decked in all the popular fads of the season, carefully arranged inside the display windows of each and every clothing store.
Any change in the attire worn by these figurines would be unmistakable, but would you notice if they had body shapes that were perhaps, a little out of the ordinary?
Pro Infirmis, a Swiss organisation in support of people with disabilities, certainly thinks you would, as evidenced by its recently published YouTube video entitled “Because who is perfect?”
The short film, which lasts about four minutes, shows custom mannequins being made to depict the bodies of five famous personalities with disabilities: Miss Handicap 2010, Jasmine Rechsteiner; radio host and film critic Alex Oberholzer; athlete Urs Kolly; blogger Nadja Schmid; and actor Erwin Aljuki.
The resulting figurines were then used in the display windows of departmental stores across Zurich, including at several locations along Bahnhofstrasse street, a famous and expensive shopping area in Europe.
Reactions of passer-bys were also captured as part of the video.
The real deal
Pro Infirmis shot this video in conjunction with the International Day of Persons with Disabilities which was on Dec 3. It is part of the organisation’s “Who is perfect? Come closer!” campaign where it aims to encourage greater public acceptance of people with disabilities. I watched this video for the first time today, and was deeply moved by its contents.
I especially loved seeing the reaction on the faces of the five people when their very own mannequins were revealed to them. It was priceless. “It is special to see yourself like this when you usually can’t look at yourself in the mirror,” Rechsteiner had said.
Ever since I first saw the video, I’ve been keeping watch over the number of views it has garnered and have noticed that it’s been rising steadily throughout the day.
While I admit it has yet to reach the insane figures that most of us are used to seeing when a video goes viral, I really wouldn’t be surprised if it were to reach those levels some time soon.
The message behind the video was really thought provoking for me and I found that it spoke volumes to me.
I found myself asking what perfection ought to mean to me in terms of how I regard myself and others.
Most of the time, I think we tend to settle for the definition of “perfect” that pop culture teaches us. Perform this feat, fit into these dresses, answer this scientific equation correctly, and you are perfect. But is that really true?
As these five personalities clearly show, something doesn’t have to be perfect in order for it to be beautiful. I believe that the clothes that were fitted onto those five specially crafted mannequins in Zurich did not look any less appealing than they would have had they been placed on standard mannequins instead.
Bringing that closer to home, I learned here that my life is really no less significant even if it is, in reality, not as immaculate as I may like it to be. And that everybody else I meet deserves a little kindness too, because the truth is that nobody’s perfect. But that’s fine actually, because life’s just as wonderful the way it is, anyway.
Susanna Khoo, who is a self-proclaimed perfectionist, intends to be kinder to herself and others in the future now that she’s learned what a beautiful life ought to look like. What’s your take on perfection and its importance? Tell her all about it at susanna@thestar. com.my.
Thought-provoking message: blogger nadja Schmid poses in front of the mannequin created in her image.