15 June 2017

Women more likely to remember plus-size models

There is a clear psychological advantage when the media shows more realistic body types than the traditional thin model.


The fashion industry is overflowing with skinny models: on runways, in magazines and on billboards. But will this slim image stick in women's minds?

If you're advertising to women, think beyond "skinny minnies" and find new ways to boost women's health and body satisfaction, a new study suggests.

Young women are more likely to notice and remember average- and plus-size fashion models than thin ones, according to Florida State University researchers.

Seeing plus-size models also gives a boost to many women's mental health, the researchers found.

"We found overwhelmingly that there is a clear psychological advantage when the media shows more realistic body types than the traditional thin model," study co-author Jessica Ridgway said in a university news release. She's an assistant professor in the department of retail, merchandising and product development.

Realistic approach

The study, which was published online recently in the journal Communication Monographs, included 49 college-age women shown images of thin, average and plus-size fashion models. They also answered questions about their body satisfaction and how much they had compared themselves to the models.

Seeing thin models led the participants to make more social comparisons, pay less attention, remember less about the models, and feel worse about their body, the study found.

But, when they saw average and plus-size models, the participants made fewer social comparisons and paid more attention. They also remembered more about those models, and had higher levels of body satisfaction, according to the researchers.

If media producers want to capture attention while also promoting positive body image, it might be useful to employ plus-size models, said lead author Russell Clayton, director of the school's Cognition and Emotion Lab.

Read more:

Vogue bans skinny models

Dangerously thin: how models torture themselves

Obesity and anorexia - two sides of the same coin?


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