Waif Goodbye! Average-size female models promote positive body image and appeal to consumers
Diedrichs, P. C. and Lee, C. (2011) Waif Goodbye! Average-size female models promote positive body image and appeal to consumers. Psychology and Health, 26 (10). pp. 1273-1291. ISSN 0887-0446
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Publisher's URL: http://dx.doi.org/10.1080/08870446.2010.515308
Despite consensus that exposure to media images of ultra-thin fashion models is associated with poor body image and disordered eating behaviours, few attempts have been made to enact change in the media. The current study sought to investigate effective alternatives to current media imagery, by exploring the advertising effectiveness of average-size female fashion models, and their impact on the body image of both women and men. A sample of 171 women and 120 men were systematically assigned to one of three advertisement conditions: no models, ultra-thin models and average-size models. Women and men rated average-size models as equally effective in advertisements as ultra-thin and no models. For women with average and high levels of internalisation of cultural beauty ideals, exposure to average-size female models was associated with a significantly more positive body image state in comparison to exposure to ultra-thin female models and no models. For men reporting high levels of internalisation, exposure to average-size models was also associated with a more positive body image state in comparison to viewing ultra-thin models. These findings suggest that average-size female models can promote positive body image and appeal to consumers.
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