Book Panel | Talking About Walking Mannequins: A Conversation with Joya Misra and Kyla Walters

Photograph of four women of diverse size and race all dressed in white tank tops and jeans, with and one mannequin, all in similar pose
Wednesday, March 30, 2022 - 11:15am to 12:45pm
Online Event - Login credentials via email for registered participants

In malls across the United States, clothing retail workers navigate low wages and unpredictable schedules. Despite these problems, they devote time and money to mirror the sleek mannequins stylishly adorned with the latest merchandise. Bringing workers' voices to the fore, sociologists Joya Misra and Kyla Walters demonstrate how employers reproduce gendered and racist "beauty" standards by regulating workers' size and look. Interactions with customers, coworkers, and managers further reinforce racial hierarchies. New surveillance technologies also lead to ineffective corporate decision-making based on flawed data. By focusing on the interaction of race, gender, and surveillance, Walking Mannequins sheds important new light on the dynamics of retail work in the twenty-first century.

Please join us in conversation with the authors of this important new book.

  • Dr. Joya Misra (Sociology and Public Policy, and Director of the Institute for Social Science Research, UMass Amherst)
  • Dr. Kyla Walters (Sociology, Sonoma State University)


  • Dr. Maxine Craig (Sociology, University of California, Davis), author of Ain't I a Beauty Queen? Black Women, Beauty, and the Politics of Race
  • Dr. Eileen Otis (Sociology, Northeastern University), author of Markets and Bodies: Women, Service Work and the Making of Inequality in China 
  • Dr. Dennis Nickson (Service Work and Employment, University of Strathclyde), coauthor of Aesthetic Labour 

This event is co-sponsored by the Sociology Department Colloquium and Special Events Committee, College of Social and Behavioral Sciences, Anthropology Department, Economics Department, Women’s, Gender, and Sexuality Studies Department, and the School of Public Policy at UMass Amherst.


* Walking Mannequins is available for purchase with a 30% discount from the University of California Press.