Do plus-size models make women feel bad about themselves?

DoveDoveWe at Shine love the stronger presence of curvier models in ads and on the runways, but apparently some women do not. A new Arizona State University study has found that plus-size models cannot sell products as well as fit models, and researches say this is in part because these fuller-figured ladies lower our self esteem.

"We believe it is unlikely that many brands will gain market share by using heavy models in their ads," says Naomi Mandel, marketing associate professor in the W. P. Carey School of Business at ASU. "We found that overweight consumers demonstrated lower self-esteem - and therefore probably less enthusiasm about buying products - after exposure to any size models in ads (versus ads with no models). Also, normal-weight consumers experienced lower self-esteem after exposure to moderately heavy models, such as those in Dove soap's 'Real Women' campaign, than after exposure to moderately thin models."

Mandel and her researchers studied hundreds of female students and factored in the body size of consumers, and measured their self esteem changes before and after viewing ads of various sizes of models. And while extremely thin models negatively affected the self esteem of the women tested, regular fit models, which are also pretty thin, seemed to measure the most positive results in terms of a healthy self esteem and eagerness to buy in consumers. Perhaps women like to idealize and see their vision of "perfect" when viewing advertisements. You can read more on the study here. [ASU]