According to a recently conducted study by the Florida State University researchers, women are more likely to be drawn to images that feature plus-size models rather than those with slimmer ones. Other than increasing the likelihood of them purchasing the items they are modeling, there was also a significant improvement in their mental health.
Science Confirms That Plus-Size Representation Ensures Positive Reinforcement for Women
More often than not, model’s bodies are slimmer than the average size of women. While fashion has seen progress over the years, it is still far from becoming mainstream. In fact, a survey done by the Fashion Spot found out that among the 422 models in Spring 2016 campaigns, only six were plus-size. “Plus-size” in fashion is classified as a US size 8, a number which has baffled many, considering the fact that the average size for women in the country is now between a 16 and 18. To add to the insult, the six models were cast to model plus-size clothing only.
Retailers may want to start reconsidering their marketing strategies because this case conducted by Florida State University just proved that plus-size representation could be the key to increasing sales. The study, which was published in the journal Communication Monographs, gathered data from 49 college-aged women. All the participants immediately voiced out how much they would like to have slimmer bodies after viewing images of straight-size models and average-size models.
However, when presented with photos of plus-size models, they paid more attention to the women and refrained from making comparisons. This only confirms how a woman’s body image can take a direct hit from the ads they see on print or television. That said, you can conclude that women respond better to images they can relate to, further proving the importance of plus-size representation.
“It might be a useful persuasive strategy for media producers to employ plus-size models if the goal of the campaign is to capture attention while also promoting body positivity,” lead author and assistant professor Russell Clayton said.
Aerie, an offshoot company of American Eagle, has been following this marketing strategy for years. After they swore to stop airbrushing their models back in 2014 for the #AerieReal campaign, they saw a significant increase in sales. By 2016, the company’s sales rose by an astounding 32 percent.