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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
Nov 12, 2012 6:35AM
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Great, now women will feel "plus-size" is fine and quit working out.  I like thin, athletic women.  Keep the thin models around.  The women I find who dislike the thin models are fat themselves and too lazy to workout. 
Nov 12, 2012 5:51AM
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I'll take her over any of those pencil thin models any day!
Nov 12, 2012 5:42AM
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The woman in the above photo is positively gorgeous!
Nov 12, 2012 5:27AM
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She is  fat.  Not obese. But fat.
Nov 12, 2012 5:21AM
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Now that is an example of a fine, beautiful female, and the kind that can be hugged without the fear of breaking something or the feeling of hugging a pencil.  No bones showing through the skin, no well-defined rib cages, just beautiful skin, shapely legs, gorgeous curves (mmmm, hips!), cuddly tummy.  Females should realize that males prefer "womanish" figures to "boyish" figures (unless the male prefers males) overwhelmingly, and make it a point not to manufacture themselves into unnatural skeletal atrocities.  There are plenty of naturally slim females that look fantastic because they haven't gone overboard and erased their curves with starvation.  The fashion industry needs an overhaul. 
Nov 12, 2012 4:52AM
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Really?  You call her "plus" sized?  Why?  Because you can't see her ribs and when she bends there's a "slight" roll at her midsection?  Her skin is beautiful (hope it isn't photo shopped), awesome hair, a cute face and she has some great curves.  I bet she doesn't and won't have any weight related issues of diabetes, arthritis, or high cholesterol if she maintains her current weight during her lifetime.  I'd be a lucky man to be seen with her in public.  If she had a wonderful personality to match, I'd be on seventh heaven to know, date, and marry her.  You know, there's a lot of sculptures of "plus sized" women from the renaissance that men for ages called the pinnacle of beauty.
Nov 12, 2012 4:27AM
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I love plus size women. They can be very sexy.
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