Eating disorder professionals and advocates have long discussed the effect of the 'thin-ideal' on body-image and self-esteem. Westerners see an average of 2,000 images in advertising alone, on a daily basis, and images of thin bodies far outweigh the number of normal and plus-size bodies seen in the media. There have been multiple studies on how this may play into the creation of eating disorders and how it affects the self-image of people who don't have eating disorders.
Interestingly, there is new research that society's preference for small bodies could be changed by viewing more images of plus-size models. A study done recently at Durham University in the United Kingdom, showed women images of both slim bodies and plus-sized bodies. When shown the photographs of the plus-sized models in 'aspirational' settings (such as a beauty product or fashion advertisement), the preferences of the women being surveyed changed.
Although it is unknown if viewing larger people would change preferences long-term, it is an important finding and one that encourages fashion designers and magazines to continue to increase the number of plus and normal sized women who are featured on their pages and in their shows.
What do you think of this study's results? Do you think that viewing more normal and/or plus-sized women would change your preferences?