Almost every body type in an ad hurts women's self-esteem

I’ve heard many say that using thin women in ads hurts the self-esteem of women and girls, because they can’t measure up to the fit and rail-thin women that appear.

As published in the Phoenix New Times, it seems like every body type depicted in an ad harms the self-esteem of women. Fat, thin, it doesn’t matter.

From the article:

*Naomi Mandel, an associate marketing professor at ASU, has been researching the relationship between body size and marketing and found that using chubsters in ad campaigns lowers womens’ self-esteem and makes them less likely to buy a product.

“We believe it is unlikely that many brands will gain market share by using heavy models in their ads,” Mandel says. “We found that overweight consumers demonstrated lower self-esteem – and therefore probably less enthusiasm about buying products. 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.”

Similarly, the use of emaciated, bulimic-looking beauties in ad campaigns could potentially make women develop an eating disorder, Mandel’s research found.

So, whose self-esteem would be hurt by using normal, weight-proportionate-to-height, size 6 through 8 women? Someone’s, most likely.

I think this can be summarized as, “Advertising sucks for women.”

So, why don’t men have their self-esteem hurt by ads showing, for example, extremely handsome, muscular, trim, taut, young male bodies? I suspect the answer is that, in general, young boys aren’t taught to worry about their body image as young girls are. So it’s that different gender role that’s the problem, not the ads per se.

I felt my self-esteem plummeting just reading the article.

You know, it kind of makes sense.

The ways that ads undermine self-esteem are not by presenting an impossible standard. It’s something more basic- the very act of objectification. Beauty-based ads remind women “you are here to be looked at,” a message that undermines a woman’s other qualities and can make even the most secure woman question if she is measuring up.

I agree with even sven and I think the women for the most part are doing it to themselves. A lot of mothers I know, including my sister-in-law, and mothers I have seen out in the world and on TV doll up their young girls from toddler age so they look cute. These young girls already have their ears pierced and the mothers fret over which cute dress to put their daughters in. By the time the girls are 6 or 7 they greatly enjoy playing dress up, especially beautiful princesses, and they enjoy playing mommy to their dolls and they dress their dolls up to look pretty.

Men also play a role in this but I haven’t seen it to the extent that women do. My brother is one of those guys always calling his daughter his “pretty little princess” so he’s not helping at all.

Also from my experience in school I can remember all the way back in 5th grade girls were making fun of other girls for wearing an ugly dress or her hair was ugly or her make-up was and this continued all the way through high school where I was hearing girls talking about how they couldn’t believe so-and-so wore “that” dress to the prom.

Now that I am out in the working world I still hear women being catty towards other women behind their backs.

I think this all starts when the women are toddlers and they are taught to be cute and pretty from the time of their earliest memories.

Personally I blame society. Shame on you society. wags finger at society

Solution: model the clothes on other species. A cat in a bra would make me want to buy.

I remember being picked on about my dress in first grade. I thought it was pretty. :frowning:

I’m not sure that it’s even society’s fault. I think it’s largely human nature.

Blame Darwin.



Not to mention that the title of the article uses “fatties,” as does the first sentence. :smack:

Like mobsters, only instead of working for the mob, they work for the chub. You do not want to piss off the chub! The chub makes Tony Soprano look like a wuss.

Maybe if ALL advertising showed a variety of body types, then there would be less of an issue. Dove is the only beauty company I know of that is advertising in that manner, showing a variety of body types, which marks it out as being different.

In a similar way, if you watch any television from the 70s or even 80s, you’ll see all sorts of people ranging from gorgeous to downright ugly. These days you’ll be hard-pressed to find anything less than a moderately attractive person on television and if there is an unattractive person, you can be sure that their role is ‘unattractive person’.

I don’t know- there are societies where it is the men who dress up and prance around while the women are busy getting work done.

Furthermore, the degree that women are concerned with beauty varies by society. I’ve lived on three continents, each of which has a very different view of female beauty. Not surprisingly, the degree that women are concerned with beauty is directly related to the rigidness of gender roles and women’s role in life in general. In cultures where a woman does not expect to have a career, beauty becomes an all-consuming pursuit. In cultures where women have other options, beauty is often less important.

If it were truly human nature, we wouldn’t see things change so rapidly and so directly in line with material circumstances.

Seriously. I have never had my self-esteem lowered by anything I saw on television.

Yeah, as far back as I could remember, grown ups, men and women alike, would meet me and make some comment like “Oh, what a pretty little girl.” My mom would immediately comment back that I was smart and got good grades in school. The conversation would always then turn into school, grades or books or something, and the “pretty little girl” business ceased. Hmm, maybe my mom never putting emphasis on being pretty is part of why I’ve never put much emphasis on being pretty, and don’t get all butthurt about my looks when watching a commercial. Thanks, mom. :slight_smile:

Then female products should be exclusively sold by ultra-desirable Don-Draper-esque spokesmen. It would be a sight to see a tampon add without a woman.

Speaking as a dude, I confess that I find a lot of things women do in regard to clothing/fashion/etc utterly bizarre, and I can’t imagine that it’s us dudes who’re forcing it on them. Good example: I’ve heard many women say that, when interviewing for a job, they cannot be seen in the same suit twice. Needless to say, that greatly increases the expense of job-searching, as well as the stress (because they need to shop for extra suits.)

I’ve interviewed people for professional gigs. The only time I noticed what a woman was wearing was when she wasn’t in a suit at all - and we’d insisted on business dress. Not only would I not have cared if a woman had worn the same suit twice - I really doubt I would have noticed.

They also make him look slim. Maybe thats why he was who he was. Deep down he had body image issues. And lets not even get into Pussy’s orientation issues.

Also: “emaciated, bulemic-looking beauties” is an oxymoron.

I don’t know, it seems to me that Society balances itself out. For every moment of diminished self esteem, there is a moment of triumph. Women are empowered like never before. Take this article for example: