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Plus size models make women feel better

Plus size models make women feel better and they are also more likely to be paid attention to, a new study finds.

Scientists from Florida State University say that women are more likely to pay attention to and remember average and plus-size models in the media compared to thin models.

And the models also have another effect, the researchers found. Women experience enhanced psychological health after viewing plus-size models, the study published in the journal Communication Monographs states.


Researchers recruited 49 college-age women, all of whom indicated they wanted to be thinner, and showed them various images of thin, average and plus-size fashion models on a TV screen. The project recorded participants’ psychophysiological responses, the interaction between the mind and the body, as the women viewed the images.

After viewing each image, participants answered questions about their body satisfaction and how much they had compared themselves to the models. The results revealed very different responses to thin and plus-size models.

When thin models were on screen, research participants made more comparisons, paid less attention and remembered less about the models. Participants also came away from the experiment with less body satisfaction, which can diminish psychological health.

But when average and plus-size models were on screen, research participants made fewer comparisons, paid more attention and remembered more about those models. Participants also reported higher levels of body satisfaction.

Russell Clayton, assistant professor in the FSU School of Communication and Jessica Ridgway, assistant professor in the Department of Retail, Merchandising and Product Development, authors of the study, say that the result will help promote women’s health and body positivity.

“We found overwhelmingly that there is a clear psychological advantage when the media shows more realistic body types than the traditional thin model,” Ridgway said.

“Women made fewer social comparisons, felt increased body satisfaction, paid more attention to and remembered average and plus-size models”, said Clayton. ”Therefore, it might be a useful persuasive strategy for media producers to employ plus-size models if the goal of the campaign is to capture attention while also promoting body positivity.”


Sylvia Jacob