Some have criticized supermodels for being (extremely) thin. They said that these models are holding to unrealistic standards (e.g. maintain size zero). Hence, some companies are now using plus-sized models to counter body shaming. But this might change now after a study found that the use of plus-sized models in advertising campaigns is the reason of the rising obesity rates.
According to a study published by the Journal of Public Policy and Marketing, the strategy of using fewer images of underweight models and opting for plus-sized models can have a negative effect on the lifestyle and eating behavior of the public.
The researchers said that the subjects in the experiments thought that being obese was acceptable. They displayed more affinity to unhealthy foods, rather than engaging in a healthier lifestyle. For the authors of the study, these subjects consumed unhealthy foods because they have an increase belief that obesity is now socially acceptable.
The researchers also hypothesized that the efforts of increasing the acceptance of plus-sized women to stop body shaming didn’t result into something that the marketing campaigns wanted to achieve.
Furthermore, the researchers recommend being mindful of how one’s body is portrayed in the media and find new strategies that won’t focus on any body shape.
Despite the result of the negative consequence of the use of plus-sized models, the study didn’t show that fat-shaming motivated people to lose weight or maintain an ideal size. This means that, whether people accepted larger bodies or not, the marketing campaign didn’t provide the desired results.
That said, the researchers recommend finding a middle ground. They advised that marketers should use images of individuals with a healthy weight (not underweight or overweight). Moreover, they should also use images that won’t draw attention to the body size of the model.
Source: Canada Journal