Date of Award

Spring 2022

Thesis Type

Open Access

Degree Name

Honors Bachelor of Arts




Dr. David Painter

Committee Member

Dr. Anne Stone

Committee Member

Dr. Brittany Sahm


This experiment explores the influence of a plus-size model’s dress (modest or revealing) and skin condition (perfect or imperfect) on participants’ responses to branded body positive Instagram posts. Specifically, participants were randomly assigned to one of the four conditions (i.e., modest-perfect; modest-imperfect; revealing-perfect; revealing-imperfect) to compare their (a) ratings of the model’s attractiveness, (b) emotional responses, (c) perceptions of the sponsoring brand’s authenticity, and (d) purchase intentions. In addition to the four treatment conditions, responses were also compared across participants with varying attitudes toward society’s beauty standards and with high or low body images. The results indicate the condition, the manipulated independent variable exerted significant main and interaction effects with the measured independent variables, beauty standard internalization and body image scores, on all four of the dependent or outcome variables. Overall, participants rated the perfect skin posts the most attractive and the imperfect skin posts the least attractive. However, the revealing posts elicited the strongest positive emotions, and they were rated the most authentic. Finally, the results indicate participants’ purchase intentions were largely determined by their emotional responses to the posts, followed by their authenticity ratings, the model’s dress, and skin condition, but not by their attractiveness ratings. Finally, the implications of these results for both body positivity theories and fashion marketing practices are discussed.

Included in

Communication Commons