Study Shows "Dove Effect" of Plus-Sized Models Discourages Healthy Eating

Those exposed to the acceptance ad had less motivation to be in better shape,” the study, published by the Journal of Public Policy & Marketing, states.

In some parts of the study, participants were offered snacks or asked to put together their ideal meal, and answers varied based on which ad they’d seen.

Accepting larger bodies increases a person’s tendency to choose unhealthy foods and decreases their motivation to get in shape, the report called "The (Ironic) Dove Effect" went on to say.

Just like I suggested in my book!

Studies have blamed the media for promoting anorexia acceptance by glamorizing unhealthily thin models, so why wouldn't the opposite be applicable? Why should for-profit companies selling products to women be in the business of telling any woman what makes her body acceptable? Why not just show women of all sizes modeling clothing and products?

Comments

  1. Indeed. I like your idea of using all sizes of models. It's representative of reality and value-neutral. The debate would be ended right there.

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    1. I would think so! But in reality, reality doesn't sell in this modern society.

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  2. I just saw on the news this week that Plus Size models are asking to be called "Curvy" models because "Plus Size" has a negative connotation. What do you think, Averyl?

    Interesting finding but not surprising. "Dove" effect- Ha ha.

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    1. I think the implication would be that women who aren't "plus sized" aren't curvy and therefor there's room for others to take offense.

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  3. Agree. There is both thin and curvy and there is "plus size" and curvy. I think the former looks better, but someone might disagree. I notice the old ads often called women too skinny,(suggesting "no one would want her - she's too skinny"), as they advertise their product. Averyl, do you think being "skinny" was ever unattractive back then? Or, were they just playing with our emotions in order to sell? donna

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    1. Donna, that's an interesting question.

      I think there were and always will be women and men whose preferences, as far as physical beauty, are such that a healthily thin woman may be perceived as "too skinny." But when I consider the beautiful stars and sex symbols of the 40s and 50s like, for example, Rita Hayworth and Barbara Stanwyck (very thin ladies) I don't think skinny = unattractive was the norm. The emphasis was mostly on a woman's figure/proportions. So, like you stated, a woman can be both curvy and thin. The ads and diets in my vintage magazines and books for the skinny people (men and woman alike) speak of being healthy and having a healthy physique, but never is it about adding layers of fat.

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    2. I think that a lot of ads were influenced by the time, just as ours are today. Coming from the Great Depression and WWII I think being skinny was a negative because it called to mind the hardship of the past decades.

      Sarah

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    3. Sarah, keep in mind that the fashionable flapper girls of the roaring 20s were super thin. Popeye's girl Olive Oyl was styled after them. :)

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    4. Oops, I originally read what you wrote as WWI not WWII.

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  4. That's funny. I saw WW1 too, and only saw WW11 after a second look. I guess the "I" following it tricks the eye :-) Averyl, and all, your posts keep me motivated to cook more at home. I am seeing my kitchen as a health/recover center, of sorts. That processed food outside of our homes is terrible. I live in Texas and it seems like if you are thin, you are in the minority. If you are thin, and healthy, you are almost in an elite category. Some thin and healthy adults will be brutally honest and say, "the goal is how can I make this last. I don't want to look like them," referring obese individuals. Many of their own loved ones are obese so it's very clear how easy it is to slip into obesity, no matter who you are. I am thankful for shared knowledge and OUR KITCHENS. donna

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    1. Oh good, I thought maybe I needed yet another new eyeglass prescription! And yes, the kitchen is key to good health. Blog reader Aileen is also from Texas. Maybe she'll read this and chime in!

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  5. Working in retail here: Women's sizes in our store come in petite (under 5'5" of any weight, but now Petite/women is starting to comein), misses (about size 18 and under), and womens (over size 18, but also new sizing categories: 1x, 2x, 3x and brand new to us, 0x).

    One of the problems with vanity sizing, by the way, is that they've created size 0 and sub-zero. Some women are offended at being referred to as either. In previous generations they were probably just a little more slender than average.

    Our Juniors department doesn't have special sizing for overweight teens. The size numbers just keep going up, so the range is from 0 - 19. I think this is a more sensible way to size, because it keeps you in reality.

    Girls have regular sizes and plus sizes. Boys have regular and husky. Men have regular and "big and tall."

    I don't think there's any way to not offend somebody somewhere with how you label things.

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    1. Valerie, have you seen Chico's sizing scheme? No one is above a size four:

      http://www.chicos.com/store/page.jsp?id=45

      It's all so silly yet all of this is designed to pander to denial so they can sell more merchandise (like those slimming mirrors).

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  6. And what are we supposed to call women who are size 2, 0 and sub-zero? Minus sizes?

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  7. I guess the positive spin would be that a positive role model does motivate people.

    The sizing changes makes me think of, "Going where none have gone before." :-)

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