We all want to be kind to our bodies, whether that means jamming to some body-positive singers, snacking on delicious and healthy treats, making time for a good workout session, or posting a bold #nomakeup selfie. But staying positive can be tough in a world that doesn’t always celebrate every body type. We already knew that body shaming could make you sick, but it turns out that this shape obsession could be hitting you in another place that hurts: your wallet.
According to new research published in the Journal of Consumer Research, the human-like shape of objects around you — think those cute POM bottles or even the wacky inflatable tube guys you see outside used car lots — could be changing the way you spend money. Colorado State University researcher Marisabel Romero and University of Kentucky researcher Adam W. Craig presented about a hundred adults with the shapely silhouettes of objects (thin and wide) and then asked them questions about their buying habits.
They discovered a connection between the shape of the object viewed and the participants’ body mass index (BMI). Participants with a high BMI (those who tend to be heavier) who saw the thin objects were more likely to splurge on a pricier, name-brand bottle of water over a generic brand. In another task, participants with a high BMI viewed objects and were asked whether they’d like to wait to purchase a pricey electronic object or purchase it immediately by taking on credit card debt. After these participants viewed thin objects, they were more likely to choose credit card debt.
The researchers suggest that this inclination to spend more comes from the participants’ mental reactions to “thin” and “large” shapes. When participants with high BMIs saw the thin shapes, they felt less confident about their abilities, including their capability to handle their personal finances. The perception that society’s preferred body shape is one that is thin can cause certain consumers to overspend, perhaps in order to chase that ideal.
Take this result outside of the lab and apply it to real life, and it’ll make you second-guess the everyday objects and advertisements you encounter on a daily basis. While science hasn’t come up with a specific way to combat this phenomenon yet, we’re taking it as yet another reason to celebrate our bodies with humor and grace.
What’s your favorite way to be body-positive? Tweet us @BritandCo to let us know!
(Photos via Getty)