Need an ego boost How a picture of your favourite skinny celebrity can make you feel better about your figure
Cheery news for mere mortals today comes in the form of a study that suggests seeing stick-thin celebrities in the media can, at times, be good for the ego.
/02/22/article-0-11A23409000005DC-658_468x702.jpg” width=”468″ height=”702″ alt=”Slender: Models Karlie Kloss and Chanel Iman are certainly skinny – but if you had a connection with one of them would you feel better about your figure” class=”blkBorder” />
Slender: Models Karlie Kloss and Chanel Iman are certainly skinny – but if you had a connection with one of them would you feel better about your figure
'Ironically, it may be that we don’t need to reject thin celebrities,' she wrote, 'but rather make women feel closer to them in order to allow these protective benefits.'
The University of Buffalo researcher showed 150 college women photos of unknown slim models with whom they were led to believe that they shared a birthday.
Postmedia News reports that the respondents said they felt better about themselves after being shown the photo of the woman they believed they had a link with.
They also experienced an ego boost when shown pictures of their favourite thin celebrities rather pictures of thin celebrities whom they did not admire.
The key to the findings – which seem to counter the popular scientific belief that exposure to slim women can negatively affect individuals' self-esteem – is that the beneficial effects only occur when individuals have a personal connection with the pictured model or celebrity.
Feeling no attachment to a star will not make us feel any better.
'We assimilate the traits of our favourite celebrities the way we do a real close other, such as a friend'
In the report, The Skinny on Celebrities: Parasocial Relationships Moderate the Effects of Thin Media Figures on Women’s Body Image, the author explains that through a process of parasocial, or one-sided, assimilation, we tend to assume likenesses between ourselves and those we admire.
'We assimilate the traits of our favourite celebrities the way we do a real close other, such as a friend,' she told the site.
'So, having a parasocial bond with favourite celebrities is actually protective, and may even be beneficial for women’s body image.'
Rather than fleeing from images that may make us feel bad about ourselves – as often thought of waif-like celebrities, exposure to their photos may help us through harder times, Ms Young said.
'If we know that women are assimilating the body traits of their favourite celebrities, we might assume that they seek out those celebrities when they’re feeling low.'
It is not known whether the same rule holds true of much-admired heavier celebrities – and, indeed, friends – or whether the respondents were heavy or dieting.