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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

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