The researchers found this hypothesis to be supported.Body satisfaction was less when thin models, who represented participants’ ideal body size, were shown, but body satisfaction increased when models who appeared similar in size (average and plus size) were shown.And that, of course, leads to constant scrutiny and comparisons, which can potentially be detrimental to women’s mental and physical health.
Since the advent of fashion magazines, women have been comparing their bodies to those of models.
In today’s era, it’s nearly impossible to avoid imagery of thin, scantily-clothed women – whether in magazines, on runways, television commercials, or in our social media feeds.
The findings indicated that when participants viewed plus-size models, their heart rates decelerated, indicating they allocated greater resources to encoding (greater attention) plus-size models followed by average-size models.
Participants’ heart rate decelerated the least when thin size models were shown, indicating less attention.
So, when the researchers showed thin models, it was expected that there would be less reported body satisfaction.
It was also expected that the participants would experience enhanced body satisfaction when presented with models whose bodies were closer to the participants’ actual self.Researchers at Florida State University, including lead author Russell Clayton, Assistant Professor in the School of Communication; Jessica Ridgway, Assistant Professor in the Department of Retail, Merchandising and Product Development; and Joshua Hendrickse, doctoral student in the School of Communication, conducted an experiment in the School of Communication’s Cognition and Emotion Lab, examining 49 women’s responses to images of fashion models.Participants’ heart rates were recorded during image exposure, and they were asked questions about social comparisons and their own body satisfaction after viewing each image.Negative body image of women is a very hot topic these days!The female body image and what a person should or could look like in marketing and advertising in particular is a controversial issue.The term “thin-ideal media” refers to media images, shows and films that contain very thin female leads.This is something that comes up a lot in fashion magazines, clothing catalogs and pop culture television shows.This interpretation becomes stronger, because as social comparisons decreased with average- and plus-size models, resources allocated to encoding and storing the models into memory increased.The authors’ results suggest that exposure to images of one’s ideal body type (thin models) leads to the greatest amount of dejection-related emotions, and the least amount of body satisfaction.It is noticeable that the body size of women as portrayed in mass media has been steadily getting smaller(1).Marketers will often do anything that they can to sell a product and make a profit, and almost anything can be sold if it appeals to our sense of beauty or is considered attractive.