Written on Monday, October 30, 2006 by Gemini
Viewing ads of super-skinny models may make young women feel worse about themselves, especially if they have body image problems, according to a new study. Researcher Gayle Bessenoff, reports the findings in Psychology of Women Quarterly. Bessenoff is an assistant professor in the University of Connecticut’s psychology department.
Bessenoff studied 112 college women (average age: 18) in an introductory psychology course at an unnamed Northeastern US college. Almost all were white. Half of the women were quite harsh about their bodies, claiming they fell far short of their ideal. The other women had a more upbeat outlook, saying their bodies were closer to their ideal. Bessenoff gave the students packets of ads from women’s magazines such as Glamour and Vogue.
1950s: Marilyn Monroe - large bust, curves
1960s: Twiggy - extremely slim with no curves
1970s: Farrah Fawcett - shift from thin to toned
1980s: Brooke Shields - fit with less curves
1990s: Kate Moss - "heroin chic" ultra thin
Some students got clothing ads showing thin female models. Afterward, the students completed a series of surveys to rate their depression, agitation, self-esteem, and urge to lose weight. They fared badly, especially if they had low body image to begin with.
The average woman has gained over 20 lbs. (9 kg) since 2000; the average model is two-thirds the weight of the average woman