Plus size models

In former years, the term "plus size model" referred to individuals who were perceived to be of huge proportions and were interested in modeling plus size clothing.

These models are not only involved in the sale of large-sized goods, but also in other sorts of work such as advertising (Dittmar, Halliwell, & Stirling, 2009).

Fashion designers have recently begun to include plus-sized models in advertisements for plus size items.

Fashion designers such as John Galliano and Jean-Paul Gaultier have featured plus-size models in their exhibitions in recent years. Gaultier also has used plus sized models Crystal Renn and Marquita Pring in ready to wear show in Spring 2011 (Arnould, Cayla & Dion, 2017). Lane Bryant started dealing with expectant mothers clothing in the early 1900s.

During the early 1920s, they categorized and started selling clothing under the category for brave women.

During this year's catalogs used illustrations in selling their products. But as improved technology photographs stated being used. After criticism through the period between 1960 to the late 1980 Lane started to use plus size models. In the 1970s and the years before, plus-sized models always dealt directly with designers, retailers, and magazines (Harmon & Reddy, 2016). Plus Models was established by Pat Swift in the late 70s an agency that began to represent plus-sized models. During subsequent years other organizations were created to serve plus-sized models a venture that proved to be profitable as these companies enjoyed enormous recognition and excellent revenue collection. Previous studies held found out about perceptions of Body Mass Index(BMI) of healthiest women bodies are in the proximity of the healthy BMI guidelines whereas the attractive BMI is lower.

Although, the media plays a role in the communication of aesthetics of the body appearance and its stereotypes.

The media represent the central character. Emphasizing exposure to messages from media. It is unrealistic how they define and describe beauty a factor that is causing body dissatisfaction thus triggering disordered eating habits (Grabe, Ward, & Hyde, 2008). Given the concerns about media effects on women's body self-concept, the research focuses mainly on young adult women and adolescent girls.

The perception of thin ideal and desired type of body continues the consistencies in cultural stereotypes, the constraints in gender roles despite efforts for gender equality.

The result of the process that tradition socializes gender roles women and young girls now have learned to objectify themselves. They value their outside appearance and not on their internal capabilities. Although, in the part of adoption, there are enormous differences between individual women. In Western societies up to young girls between age 3 and five years have specific characteristics to slender targets. This has proved to have its roots in cultural and social forces in society. For example, pressures to adhere to ideals that have been socially defined on ideological representations, physical attractiveness, peer influence, modeling of the female beauty. Ashley Graham is an American plus-size model who has appeared on the covers of some fashion magazines and several campaigns (Hinde, N. (2015)). In an era when there is an increase in some overweight and obese people, and there has been a growing concern for public health, lifestyle issues and body size (Sand, Emaus & Lian, 2015). Young women have proven to comprise of the vulnerable groups dealing with appearance and weight balance issues. Ashley Graham featuring in Sports illustrated proved to many women that they could achieve whatever they wanted to if only they put their minds to it. The cover Sports illustrated was about every woman who because of her size felt that she wasn't beautiful enough. Graham appearance proved otherwise. In her photographs, she commands attention. She owns her sexiness confidently in a way that all women should.

Who, What, When, Where, Why and How


Ashley Graham is a plus sized model who featured in the Sports Illustrated magazine cover. She is signed with an international modeling agency where she has been since the age of 13. Graham has worked in with numerous areas and departments in the fashion industry sector that is runway, catalog, television, film, and editorial. She is the first size 14 models to appear and feature in a Sports Illustrated Swimsuit edition and was on the covers of the magazine. Ashley has starred in some magazines and cover among them being vogue, SELF, Cosmopolitan. She has earned herself respect and recognition among peers for her great works and determination. An entrepreneur, television personality and businesswoman she has hosted quite some shows and spoken on many occasions and given advice. She is a body activist who often is invited to institutions and conferences to give talks on body image acceptance and empowerment of women.

Over the years the media and other forms of communication have deceived and brainwashed women into preferring certain types and kinds of features in their bodies.

It has conveyed a message where women tend to believe that is they are not of a particular skin complexion, of a specific height and thin that they are not beautiful. This has made a lot of ladies and women to be vulnerable and lacked a sense of self-love and positivity towards their body. Young Women's perspective and perspectives regarding their bodies are emerging out to be a motivational factor in lifestyle changes. There has been a considerable focus on overweight and obesity. Women are increasingly focusing on appearance rather than health.


This is the places and avenues that plus-sized woe showcase for example Paris. Ashley does her modeling and advertisements of obese sized clothing and other merchandise, for instance, a photograph and other cosmetics.


Going through fashion magazines has not for the longest time been associated with adverse effects either on body satisfaction or body size dissatisfaction. The sexy and attractive notion of the thin ideal has brought about the decrease of resentment and the positive mood.


Slender body types have most of the times and in most places considered to be attractive. This kind of body type contains small amounts of fats as compared to obese body types. This has mostly been as a result of peoples' perceptions which have primarily been influenced by the exposure to slender media personalities and figures. Often, most of the time the media presents slim images and people that have now been widely accepted to be attractive (Saraceni & Russell, 2007). Social media has been a motivating factor in the way people's lives are running. Communication agencies and even people bully people based on their body sizes.


Studies that have been done has proven that media portrayal of body stature (Chen et al., 2012). Those with thin body stature have been perceived to be beautiful which has shown to present sociocultural risks for development of the eating procedures. In this paper, the primary focus will be on Gender and media, gender roles and stereotypes, gender and culture and gender and non-verbal communication.

Gender and media

Exposure to light-skinned and thin media personalities and figures affect females' beliefs about their bodies. Portrayals of media figures to be small only is working in reinforcing a notion that women ladies are valued for how they appear and for who they are. Thin and idealized depictions develop expectations and desires among women about how they should look like. Skinny and sexualized media figures and personalities are having consequences on young women. Researchers and scholars have found that media exposure and the internalization of the thin ideal and body dissatisfaction. Young women view fatness negatively and are always scared and afraid of being fat.

Gender roles and stereotypes

This is how society has assigned tasks to people based on their body size and stature. Less than 20% of obese or overweight people are featured in communication means, for example, magazines, newspapers, and television. They are not likely to be considered to be romantic partners, attractive, to interact with or to display affection with. Overweight and obese people are more likely to be shown while eating. The media's depiction of stereotypically thin and attractive women is a major contributing factor in body dissatisfaction and body size distortion. In recent research, it has been vividly shown that exposure of thin images exacerbates body size distortion in females with eating disorders.

Gender and culture

For quite some people culture has a significant influence on the eating habits, attitudes toward body weight and food. Types of food that one chooses to eat, the way they may want to prepare them when to eat and the amount they take all have a social meaning if people strongly identify with their cultures. One's perception includes the place where he or she lives, the family composition and size, ethnicity, gender, age, the educational level. It involves every aspect of one's life. One's work culture and job influence eating habits, activities and even weight. Religion is seen to provide meanings for a particular behavior. Customs are passed and distributed within areas or people who possess the same knowledge.

Gender and non-verbal communication

Nonverbal communication includes the facial expressions and gestures that are displayed through the language of the body. Overweight people tend to cause difficulties while using this form of communication. For example, someone who is obese finds it tiring to nod their heads vigorously when communicating or emphasizing their points. Waving vigorous can also prove to be hard for them. However, communication cannot only be judged based solely on nonverbal cues since other forms of communication can be used.


Buffering finding and hypothesis in the past studies have shown some degree of self-love and acceptance felt by portions of the population. For instance, black women felt and perceived themselves to be attractive in comparison with their white counterparts. The relationship between the observed beauty and attractiveness was moderated by gender, culture, and ethnicity. Attractiveness and body mass index were associated with white women. Black women's evaluation of appearance is independent of the variable weight whereas white women sometimes experience lower levels of satisfaction with an increase in pressure. Cultural differences between the Whites and Blacks could contribute to the outcome of the results. In research, it has been previously suggested that curvaceous body types experienced by blacks are a show of beauty and health, whereas thinness is associated with economic instability and poor health conditions.

The black women report that what the media represents and depicts of the thin ideal is familiar to whites, which has been a contributing factor to a lower drive for body dissatisfaction and thinness among blacks. Past research indicates that the cultural beliefs of blacks isolate them from body disturbances (Herpertz et al., 2016)). It is known that black women assess themselves ranging from fashionable hairstyles, clothing, and makeup, a matter that renders them likely to be affected by influences of the media who define beauty by thinness. Positive body images among black women contribute to obesity among blacks. Black women, most of the time, do not associate overweight with reduced attractiveness, so interventions in the future about obesity may benefit by promoting wellness and health. It is essential that individuals aim to work toward reducing body weight without idealizing a particular body type. Body shapes are indicators of attractiveness among women, specifically the ratio between the hip and waist.


In an era where there has been an enormous technological development overweight and obese issues are frequently expressed in the media on a daily basis, however, appearance seems to be emphasized over health. Many young women at times express disappointment and worry about their body size. Frequently young women receive information and messages from friends, peers, and family about their bodies. The media's focus on appearance is damaging the well-being and self-confidence of beautiful women. Perceptions of one's body and good self-esteem are the most critical factors of being healthy. Overweight and obesity are sensitive issues in society today. Overcoming them could cause adverse effects to people when not dealt with appropriately. The media needs to put more emphasis on linking both appearances and health. There is a need to reduce the focus on body image and appearance, which could prove to provide positive effects to people, specifically the obese and overweight. The pressure of body image and presence has led to others being squeezed in between their perception of their bodies and their cultural norms. All over the world, people are competing for the display of social status and prestige. Thinness has become the new high status. This is making people strive to follow these traits that are perceived to be associated with senior standing. This has gone along to breast enlargement putting into consideration individual preferences. Some individuals did not idealize small breast sizes, whereas others do. Men and women differ in health and attractiveness based on weight. Lower weight is preferred for attractiveness. The flat ideal that is often depicted in the media is influencing decisions and judgments on attractiveness. It is, therefore, essential to understand that the media plays a critical role in preferences for individual weights, and thus exposure to media has brought about negative consequences in society. Perspectives of people can be changed based on the type of media figures and personalities that they are exposed to. For example, models that are not underweight can be portrayed to help improve people's perception. Lower BMI preference in the optimization of attractiveness than of health is motivated by the discrimination or preference for lower fat instead of smaller muscle mass. It is a fact that differences between a healthy female body and an attractive one are based on rather than muscle mass. Western populations are being driven by the attractiveness of women bodies. However, in men, muscles and the celebration of fat optimizing attractiveness are similar. Though research has previously shown that lower BMI preferences for appearance rather than health. It is also important to note that a large accounts for the highest proportion of its variance. Higher body fat mass is often associated with negative consequences, for example, cardiovascular diseases, diabetes, and restricted movement. Women require a more significant percentage of body fat that is necessary for lactation, ovulation, and also subsequent fertility. Overweight shows considerable health challenges and complications. In countries like the United States of America where it rapidly grew in the early 1990s to the late 1990s. In most places of the world, the problem faces children and often end up dying prematurely. Most of these deaths are due to the physical ability and poor diet.


Arnould, E., Cayla, J., & Dion, D. (2017). Fetish, magic, marketing. Anthropology Today, 33(2), 28-32.

Chen, G. M., Williams, S., Hendrickson, N., & Chen, L. (2012). Male mammies: A social comparison perspective on how exaggeratedly overweight media portrayals of Madea Rasputia and Big Momma affect how Black women feel about themselves. Mass Communication and Society, 15(1), 115-135.

Dittmar, H., Halliwell, E., & Stirling, E. (2009). Understanding the impact of thin media models on women's body-focused affect: The roles of thin-ideal internalization and weight-related self-discrepancy activation in experimental exposure effects. Journal of Social and Clinical Psychology, 28(1), 43-72.

Grabe, S., Ward, L. M., & Hyde, J. S. (2008). The role of the media in body image concerns among women: a meta-analysis of experimental and correlational studies. Psychological Bulletin, 134(3), 460.

Harmon, J., & Reddy Best, K. (2016). Plus Is Equal? Analysis of the Negative Social Media Commentary of Lane Bryant's Campaign.

Hinde, N. (2015). Plus-Size Model Ashley Graham Delivers Perfect Response to Protein World’s ‘Beach Body’Advert. Huffington Post.

Loeber, S., Burgmer, R., Wyssen, A., Leins, J., Rustemeier, M., Munsch, S., & Herpertz, S. (2016). Short‐term effects of media exposure to the thin ideal in female inpatients with an eating disorder compared to female inpatients with a mood or anxiety disorder or women with no psychiatric disorder. International Journal of Eating Disorders, 49(7), 708-715.

Sand, A. S., Emaus, N., & Lian, O. (2015). Overweight and obesity in young adult women: A matter of health or appearance? The Tromsø study: Fit futures. International journal of qualitative studies on health and well-being, 10(1), 29026.

Saraceni, R., & Russell-Mayhew, S. (2007). Images and ideals: Counselling women and girls in a" thin-is-in" culture. Canadian Journal of Counselling, 41(2), 91.

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