However, a study by researchers at Arizona State University in the states, and Erasmus University and the University of Cologne in Europe, shows that real women might not actually want clothing marketed to them by… well, real women. It seems that ads featuring plus-size models have a more negative effect on self-esteem than ads filled with waif-like covergirls.
In the study, women with lower, average, and higher BMI‘s were exposed to ads featuring skinnier and heavier models. After seeing the heavier models, women with higher BMI’s tended to feel more poorly about themselves than after seeing the thinner ones, because they worried that they were overweight, and women with lower BMI’s worried about becoming overweight.
My first thought is that although it may be true that exposure to plus-size women may have a more immediate affect on women’s self-esteem, it has also been proven dozens of times over that the long-term effects of ultra-skinny models are equally, if not even more, detrimental to self-image, and we shouldn’t take that lightly.
My second thought is that I think magazines and runway shows making special “exhibits” out of normal-sized women, deemed “plus size,” does more harm than good in a way. The fashion world seems to either like putting its “perfect” girls in the spotlight, or going to the opposite extreme to showcase “big girls,” with no middle ground. Instead of making pointed celebrations of curvier, average-sized women, which I think draws more attention to the fact that curves are generally rejected as being fashionable, why can’t normal-sized women be included in fashion on a regular basis?
Or better yet, why can’t the focus be just on healthiness in general, regardless of size? Why not celebrate the people who, like my sister, are natural size 0’s without accusing them of having an eating disorder, and also the size 16’s, who are curvier yet still fit?