An eating disorders expert has slammed the use of a skinny mannequin at clothing store Glassons, which sparked controversy because its ribs are showing.

Auckland psychotherapist Anna Drijver, who specialises in anorexia, bulimia, binge-eating and overeating, said it was "absurd" to use a mannequin baring ribs.

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"It's just ridiculous to show ribs. It's absurd to me."


The thin Glassons model sends a potentially dangerous message, an expert says.

Use of the model in a popular retail outlet like Glassons, aimed at teenagers and young women, was worrying, she said. "It absolutely will have a negative effect on young women - and young boys as well, actually. They see these images and assume that's what we should look like.

"Statistically that's not what society looks like so I think it's a terrible idea having such mannequins in the shops."

Most of her patients with eating disorders were in their teens, but she had treated some as young as 10.

Size 12 to 14 was the average size of Kiwi women, she said.

"Why not go the other way? Why not show realistic healthy people? They'll still buy the clothes."

A staff member at Glassons in Hamilton yesterday said there had been no backlash in the store, where the skimpiest outfit on a mannequin was a crop top which covered the rib cage. In Wellington, a store manager from Lambton Quay Glassons said staff had been instructed not to make any comment.

She would not confirm whether the store modelled its clothes on the mannequins in question.

There was no sign of mannequins with protruding ribs at the Queen St Glassons store in Auckland.

Hallenstein Glasson chief executive Graeme Popplewell could not be reached for comment yesterday.

He has previously defended the mannequin, telling Fairfax its rib cage was naturally enhanced because of its pose. Popplewell said that the mannequin's BMI of 18.8 put it within the healthy weight range of 18.5-24.9.