Is bigger better? Some fuller figured women are repulsed by the thought of using plus sized models for product ads.

Various studies show that body image is directly related to self-esteem issues in young women; however, a new study at Arizona State University found that plus-size models can not sell products as effectively as thinner models. In addition, the conclusion of the study suggests that this is directly related to lower self-esteem in fuller-figured women.

I love the fuller-figured look and have personally worked with many plus sized models, however, I’ve found that there are some fuller-figured women that are negatively affected by the open display of larger bodies in product ads. Unfortunately, this is only an issue because of how these women feel about themselves.

Naomi Mandel, marketing associate professor in the W. P. Carey School of Business at ASU says, “We found that overweight consumers demonstrated lower self-esteem — and therefore probably less enthusiasm about buying products — after exposure to any size models in ads (versus ads with no models). Also, normal-weight consumers experienced lower self-esteem after exposure to moderately heavy models, such as those in Dove soap’s ‘Real Women’ campaign, than after exposure to moderately thin models.”

10 Tips to help improve self-concept for fuller-figured women:

• Stay away from fashion magazines!
• Clear negative mind clutter
• Never use your weight to measure your self worth
• A positive attitude is your best asset
• Look to develop a healthy lifestyle for yourself
• Be thankful for what you have and who you are
• Make the best of what you do well, highlight your strengths
• Be happy with your body shape
• Educate yourself on the issues of body size and weight
• Surround yourself with positive, supportive people


Fallon, A. (1990). Culture in the mirror: Sociocultural determinants of body image. In T. Cash & R. Prozinsky (Eds.), Body images: Development, deviance, and change (pp. 80-
109). New York: The Guilford Press.

Jambekar, S., Quinn, D. M., & Crocker, J. (2001). The effects of feeling overweight and
achievement on the self-esteem and mood of women. Psychology of Women Quarterly,
25, 48-56.

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