JCPenney revealing five mannequins based on bodies of people with disabilities

JCPenney is celebrating the diversity of body shapes in its new shop-window promotion in New York. The national retailer’s store is featuring five unique mannequins that come as replicas of real-life bodies, beautiful in their imperfection. There’s a model of a lady in a wheelchair, a double leg amputee and a man with dwarfism among others.

These mannequins were specially created for TODAY’s «Love Your Selfie» April series in collaboration with Fusion Specialties in Denver. The effort is designed to drive awareness towards people with disabilities on a new level, encourage greater acceptance and also inspire all people to love their bodies as they are. The latter might be even more important today, when many healthy people have distorted perception of beauty.

These models have been developed after real physically-challenged people, with their real stories of survival. As part of this project, the creative group collaborated with Desiree Hunter, who is a 6-foot-1½-inch college basketball player; Dawna Callahan, who uses a wheelchair due to incomplete paralysis; plus-size woman Beth Ridgeway, Neil Duncan, a former Army paratrooper who lost parts of both of his legs in Afghanistan war; and Ricardo Gil, who has dwarfism.

“We felt like this was a great opportunity to really make sure we were helping showcase the important subject of body image,” commented Debra Berman, senior vice president of marketing, JCPenney.

The mannequins will be on display at JCPenney’s Manhattan store for about one month, through the end of August.

This effort is very similar to the last year’s project by Swiss non-profit Pro Infirmis that advocates for better acceptance of people’s bodies, no matter how far from the standard shapes they might be.