The Impact of Advertisements Featuring Ultra-thin or Average-size Models on Women With a History of Eating Disorders

This article will be summarized by Aiyana Shelton.

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The Impact of Advertisements Featuring Ultra Thin or Average size models on Women with a History by Emma Halliwell, Helga Dittmar, and Jessica Howe focuses on the comparison of using “average size women” in the modeling world versus the “ultra thin” models that are used in today’s modeling world. The article mentions studies of how women’s self image would benefit if they viewed average size women in the media instead of women that are not the girl next door. The benefit from the media inserting healthy women in the spotlight instead of the stereotypical would be vast, according to this article. Lower levels of health related issues such as bulimia and anorexia would decrease since women would view themselves as normal and not try to obtain the unrealistic goal of being a size 0.

The authors of this article constructed their conclusion by conducting two experiments. One of the experiments used in the article was asset by  utilizing a controlled group to conduct their research. In the second experiment they used people from the “Eating Disorder Association in the UK.” Both experiments contained people with a choice to pick between the thin model’s picture or the thicker model’s.  This study furthermore exhibits that many people can get (and have) “body-focus anxiety” from “ultra-thin models” in advertisements, but when they viewed “average size” models their anxiety levels decreased dramatically. The article explains that there were different results for the women that had eating disorders. The article continues to discuss the results of the study and the different variables with the women that had an eating disorder. The article concludes stating the motif: Average-size models in advertisement would have a positive result in a women’s perspective on her own body image.

One way that this reflects to class is when we were discussing norms and deviants. Even though most normal women do not look like (or have the body image of) celebrities or the models off the runway; and because of the fact that thinner women are seen everywhere because of the media (TV, advertisements, etc.), celebrities are the norm and women of other sizes are the deviants. Some of you might be shaking your head that this is not true, but think about it. Men and women are always trying to obtain that ideal weight. What is that ideal weight? Where do we get it from? One word: The media. If the models and celebrities were the social deviant then normal people would not always be on diets trying to appear thinner that whatever they are. We would view celebrities as the social deviant, but we don’t.