The effect of thin and average-sized models on women's appearance and functionality satisfaction: Does pose matter?

Kate E. Mulgrew, Kate Schulz, Odette Norton, Marika Tiggemann

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

1 Citation (Scopus)

Abstract

Idealised imagery depicting the functionality of a model's body (e.g., in fitness contexts) can trigger negative effects in viewers similar to, or worse than, traditionally posed images of models. Thus far, most of this research has been conducted on images of thin models. Building upon previous research, we examined the effect of pose (active versus posed) and body size (thin versus average-sized) on women's body satisfaction. In an online study, 379 women aged 17–30 years completed pre-test measures of appearance and functionality satisfaction before viewing models across one of five conditions: Thin Posed, Thin Active, Average Posed, Average Active, or Scenery images. Post-test measures were taken of body satisfaction and social comparison across appearance and functionality domains. Planned contrasts showed that exposure to thin models produced poorer appearance and functionality satisfaction and more upward comparison than exposure to average-sized models or scenery. Model pose was important only when the model had an average body size. Images of active average-sized models produced poorer appearance satisfaction and triggered more upward functionality-based comparison than when the average-sized models were posed. These findings suggest that although the thinness of the model is influential, how the body is presented can also affect satisfaction and comparison.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)128-135
Number of pages8
JournalBody Image
Volume32
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - Mar 2020

Keywords

  • Body satisfaction
  • Body size
  • Functionality
  • media
  • Social comparison

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