Recently, body shaming has been more focused on the overly skinny models rather than the plus size models. The super skinny model type is now seen as unhealthy or problematic and plus size models are starting to become more prevalent. Although the appearance of more and more plus size models helps women with larger body types feel more confident, it promotes unhealthy lifestyle choices and obesity.
Normative Social Influence
Instagram accounts, blogs and other types of social media and advertising are supporting this new trend and giving bigger women a new found confidence. Many of these posts display the idea that these larger women are the “normal” body type for a woman. According to the theory of normative social influence, “the influence of other people that leads us to conform in order to be liked and accepted by them.” Society sees these models as the social norm and aspire to be like them. If “big is beautiful,” then why would people choose to stay away from the sugar and work their butts off in the gym?
Ad campaigns with plus size models advertise that these are “real” women and that “big is Beautiful.” If statements like these were made regarding thin women alluding to the idea that thin is normal, it would be shut down. Being too thin is seen as a problem but being overweight is considered ok because it is “normal” although just as unhealthy.
Women with naturally thin body types should not be told that they are not normal just as naturally bigger girls shouldn’t hear that they are not normal. A woman who is naturally thin should not be embarrassed about her body type because of the way our culture highlights plus size women.
Society’s shift from super skinny models to plus size models has given the modeling industry a more realistic portrayal of women but the focus on plus size models doesn’t encourage a bigger boned body type but instead promotes the idea that an unhealthy lifestyle is acceptable and normal.