Thin models, believed to set unrealistic standards of beauty are most commonly blamed for lowering self-esteem of women who watch the advertisement. Based on this trend, a lot of marketing companies (including Dove) have started looking out for realistic-looking models to convey messages in an effective way.
A new study has now revealed that moderately heavy women are more likely to lower the onlooker's self esteem, contrary to the existing assumption. Looking at thin models has infact been found to raise a woman's self esteem. The results of this interesting study can be found in the Journal of Consumer Research.
The research points out that exposure to ultra thin models do not necessarily lower the self-esteem. The study consisted of two parts. In the initial part of the study, four models were selected to represent each of the model categories: extremely heavy, moderately heavy, moderately thin and extremely thin.
The images of the models were given to women on a random basis. Visualization of extremely heavy models or moderately thin models was found to manifest in an increased self-esteem and perception of thinness. When provided with images of extremely thin or heavy models, the focus shifted to how heavy the study participants felt.
The results of the present study have valuable implications regarding the success of advertising and magazines. Magazines that feature realistic, moderately heavy models might not yield as much inspiration as thought, concluded the study authors.