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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

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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 4:22PM
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What they call plus size is normally perfect.  Super skinny and super fat are turn offs.  Somewhat in shape without being fanatical and willing to indulge without it being a habit.  Fun and functional.
Nov 12, 2012 4:15PM
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Or it shows what most men already know....women are nuts and when they ask "does this make me look fat?" or some such nonsense you obfuscate, misdirect, deny, or lie.
Nov 12, 2012 4:10PM
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I wish the fashion industry would try their clothes on real women instead of the skinny no hip women. I wear a medium and the new style of pants in every store with the short tight cropped pants leg make your thighs look huge in addition to the struggle with trying them on. Don't buy them and send a message to the fashion industry.
Nov 12, 2012 4:10PM
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This so called Plus Size is much prettier and sexier than a No Size model.
Nov 12, 2012 4:05PM
Nov 12, 2012 3:51PM
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Absolutely gorgeous! I would jump over 5 skinny chicks to get at that.
Nov 12, 2012 3:50PM
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Most men that I know do not like thin. They like plus size. They like shapely  not the scrawny twiggy shape. They like meat not bone. They like the more natural beauty of a woman other than a lot of war paint that these companies would have them believe that they need.

In the 1700s, 1800s, and early 1900s. A midriff  bulge on a woman was considered sexy. Until the Corporate Pig got a hold of things and started telling woman what she wanted and what to cloth them self's in.

By the way. Woman does not dress or put makeup on to impress men. It is to compete and impress other woman.
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Diversity is great- but it's not ok to promote unhealthy eating habits and abnormal BMI's as "sexy".  It sends a message to kids to go ahead and eat what you want and forget exercize.  This is as bad as the old Camel cigarette ads that promoted smoking to kids.  It says killing yourself with food is sexy. 

Truth be told, this photo is retouched- the actual fat body is globular with divits of cellulite... not ideal to most.  I don't think women should be skrawny or anorexic either- I think promoting a healthy size 8-10 over a 2 or an 18 would better serve today's youth.

 

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