Despite the general self-congratulations of Dove, Glamour, et. al. for using Plus Size models, turns out, seeing them in advertisements just makes women feel worse. A University of Arizona study found that larger women preferred ads without any models, average sized women felt less bad about themselves (yes, that's what we're aiming for — less bad) with ads with skinny models, and skinny women preferred ads with skinny women.
I'm not shocked about the skinny women — It's hard to imagine a size 2 woman looking at an ad with a size 18 and wanting to look like her — and therefore be moved to purchase that product. Our society has elevated the size 2 to a much higher place than the size 18, so there's nothing aspirational about the size 18 to the size 2. Same goes for the average size woman — who, again, let's note, doesn't feel good about herself either way, just "less bad." These women would see a thinner model, think she looked like her and feel good, and if they saw a heavier model, worry that they were the same — and feel bad.
Good news though, using heavier models, which makes women feel bad about their own size/weight/etc. can be a useful tool in selling diet and weight loss products.
Anyone else disgusted by our own mind games?