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Seeing is believing: Plus-size models may boost body image

A new study shows that society’s seeming preference for super-skinny models may be only in the eyes of their beholders.

By Shannon McCarthy Nov 10, 2012 12:34AM

 

Preliminary research from Durham University in the United Kingdom reveals (yet again!) that what women see in the media shapes their views about their own shape. It seems logical, but it’s a message that’s only recently filtering in to top fashion magazines and couture catwalks – namely that if plus-size models are used in advertising and glam fashion shoots, women will find those body types beautiful and aspirational. And this may also have the side effect of boosting the self-esteem of average and plus-size women.

Related: Browse millions of women's plus-size clothing choices

In the study, the more images of thin models the participants saw, the more they preferred that body type. Yet, when they were shown pictures of plus-size models, their preference shifted to that figure. What this reveals is that women have a much more diverse view of female beauty than our media portrays, and what we’re exposed to absolutely affects our definition of an “ideal body.” Follow-up studies with more women (and men!) are forthcoming.

Related: Plus-size fall fashion guide 

Bing: See more photos of plus-size models

More on Simply Chic:

The 5 craziest looks from the Victoria's Secret fashion show 

Are these cheerleaders' outfits too skimpy?

Kate Middleton recycles another outfit

Tell us: Do you think that we’d all be better served by a fashion industry that reflected our true diversity?

Photo: Courtesy of Scenicreflections.com

198Comments
Feb 19, 2013 3:34AM
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This lady is HOT! Women are the beauty of life, and variety is the spice of life. Each man and woman should chase their dream knight/princess however their weight or looks was. I love all beauties and all sizes except for TOO skinny and TOO fat, when they are considered illnesses.
Nov 15, 2012 2:52PM
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One more time!  The size 0 of today is the size 8 of yesterday.  That model may well be a size 8 today, but a few decades ago she would be wearing a 16.  Look at the old I Love Lucy TV show and all the jokes about Ethel's weight.  Does Ethel Mertz look fat to you?  NO, our concept of normal size has increased along with our rear ends.  Lucy wore a size 12 - at 5'7" and 115 -130 lbs.  Now she would wear a size 2 or 4.

 

Be whatever size you want, but a size 0 is a normal size.  It's the size of a normal woman a generation or two ago before society went crazy gaining weight.  They changed the size measurements to make us feel better and sell more clothes.    

 

 

Nov 13, 2012 1:07AM
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I think she is beautiful. For all of you people who say she is "over weight", I bet you she is a size 7 or 8. NORMAL. All of these fugly stick-skinny models you see are a 0 or a 00. UNHEALTHY. And for those of you who think she has a "roll" on her side, that is just because she is laying at a funny angle. Unlike Stick-skinny models, this woman actually eats REAL FOOD! Wow, what a concept!
Nov 12, 2012 11:08PM
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Most Beautiful Woman I have ever seen,  Real and not faked

Nov 12, 2012 10:04PM
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Here we go again.  Larger people are just soposed to disappear.  To bad,  Not gonna happen.  The model pictured looks beautiful in my opinion.   I do not believe we were all created to look alike.  We are different sizes and colors.  I am sure the model in the picture would not find some of these grossed out people attractive either!!

Nov 12, 2012 7:47PM
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Veronica and others - Don't be fooled by the fashion industry.  Their size 0 is what we used to call a size 8 back in the 50s and 60s. As we got fatter, they changed the sizes so that we would continue to feel good and buy their clothes.  The smallest sizes back then were 5/6 with an occasionally specially ordered 3. 

 

They want to make money so they don't care how much weight we gain.  As America gets bigger and bigger, that's what looks normal.  It didn't used to be like that.  One company calls my 38" hips extra small. Oh come on, now!  Where will it all end?  I suppose since 2/3 of us are overweight, obese, morbidly obese etc, the majority makes the rules and normal weight will being considered skinny. 

 

The industry doesn't care if it promotes anorexia or morbid obesity, as long as we buy the clothes.

Nov 12, 2012 7:31PM
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She's really a normal sized woman.  We in the U.S. have a mindset that size 0 is the norm.  In fact, it's almost impossible for the majority of woman to get down to that size.   And we don't want to . . . so there.
Nov 12, 2012 6:18PM
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If you look at the photo...she is very pretty by the way...and look at her head, face and neck...although a tad poofy and lacking cheekbone structure, and I don't mean boney...and compare it to the rest of her body, even the way it is, looks like her head and neck should be attched to a healthier leaner figure (noticed I didn't say skinnier figure)...but one taht has thinner skin and good muscle density.  She looks to be probably 5'10" give or take...to try and label with a size or weight is pointless, but her body is bloated and she is overweight into the obesity side of the equation...if you took a machine and scraped off all the excess fat over her entire body you would have at least 30-40 lbs of excess fat...she has lard roles, and they have her in a position to try and minimize it as much as possible for that particular angle, trying to make her look as good as possible for what she is...put her in a different position and most people would think she is obese, which she clearly is...at this rate she will be developing health issues at a young age...pretty much guaranteed...
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