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Posts from — October 2009

Do images of plus-size models make you feel better about yourself?

Does this image make you feel better about your body?


How about this one?

Why or why not? I’d love to know.

I have  preferred Glamour Magazine to any other mainstream fashion magazine for a while now, because over the last few years they have subtly been slipping in images of full-figured models. I’m very happy that they are finally out and proud about including a diversity of beauty images.

Two of our curvy friends have sent articles to me that I find fascinating.

First, thanks to Dan for sending me the link to the reader reaction to Glamour’s first nude “plus-size” model shot. I have been quietly following this story, and I am amazed at the fat hate (though I guess I shouldn’t be) that even this very average looking woman generated. There’s a great discussion in the comment section of this article. Well worth the read. Thanks again, Dan.

The second article, Nonplussed: Study Says Even Full-figured Models Damage Self-esteem, sent to me by Samantha, is also very thought provoking. In a study from the U.S., Germany, and the Netherlands and published in the Journal of Consumer Research,

“Overweight women’s self-esteem always decreases, regardless of the model they look at,” says the study, implying that it’s not the particular image someone looks at that’s damaging, but rather the presentation of beauty, in any form, that troubles many readers.

I have two thoughts on this:

  1. The women in the picture above, and most plus-size models, aren’t really “plus,” so to be told that this is what plus-size looks like is inherently depressing. How about looking at pictures like Leonard Nimoy’s plus-sized nudes? I bet the esteem issue would be different. And to use the language of the article: ‘implying that the particular image IS damaging, because it is still unrealistic.’
  2. It takes time to undo the damage caused by a generation’s worth of body loathing. Give us a little time to let our eyes get adjusted to recognizing ourselves portrayed as beautiful.

I’m with Anna North



“The fact is, images whose purpose is to sell women shit — whether those images look more or less like them — are probably never going to be on the forefront of social change. Including plus-size women in ads and fashion spreads is an important step not just for social good, but for aesthetic value — magazines would be more interesting if they contained a greater diversity of models.”

So, my beautiful, sexy, powerful, curvy readers: does these images make you feel better about your own beauty? I’d love to hear your take.

October 16, 2009   7 Comments