Mannequins have never represented Miss Average but today's store dummies look more like porn stars. Former Vogue editor Kirstie Clements questions how we can hope to raise well-adjusted girls when our kids are constantly bombarded with sexually explicit images.
Yesterday, I spent the day in Brisbane making an in-store appearance for Sportscraft with glamorous model/mum Kirsty Hinze, who is a long time ambassador for the brand.
We were walking through Carindale shopping centre on our way to the Sportscraft store when we stopped dead in our tracks in front of the window of a lingerie boutique.
Poised on either side of the door were two mannequins dressed in bras and knickers with the most enormous breasts I've ever seen on a dummy.
It wasn't designed to present larger-size lingerie to a larger-sized woman, because the mannequin certainly didn't have the larger hips, thighs or tummy to match.
It was an exaggerated porn star silhouette, like that of the UK numbskull model Katie Price aka Jordan.
Kristy has been a model since she was 15, and has posed for both Victoria's Secret and Sports Illustrated, so she's no stranger to sexy lingerie shoots, but we looked at each other shocked and said: "What the?"
We walked a few more steps and there was another store with the same sized dummies modeling cheesy bras and knickers. Clearly it's a trend.
But these boutiques are not tucked away in some side area (such a red light district in Amsterdam which would certainly be more appropriate). They sit next to regular fashion stores such as Saba, Country Road and Witchery.
They are passed by women pushing children in strollers, or out for a coffee with mum.
I was stunned to see such extreme sexualisation, so blatantly displayed in a suburban mall.
I don't have young daughters, but I can see how hard it is to keep overtly provocative and sexually explicit images away from them when they are at an impressionable age.
The prevalence of skimpy, slutty fashion and teetering hooker shoes is one thing, but now ordinary high street mannequins have moved into the Playboy mansion.
Raising a girl to feel comfortable with her body is hard enough: as the former editor of Vogue, I was constantly embroiled in the debate about anorexia and the modeling industry.
But now, we add giant pneumatic porn star breasts on those stick thin frames and make that the ideal body type, not just in the pages of men's magazines but in the local shops? Frankly, it's appalling.
I don't even understanding the marketing rationale behind these dummies that scream "stripper". If they're aiming to sell to men with their dicks in their hand, then tick. But I don't think there many of those in Carindale shopping centre at 11am on a Tuesday.
What I did see was a lot of average women of average shape and size, who are trying to raise girls who won't feel it's necessary to look like a silicon pumped pole dancer in order to be attractive.