Half of women have felt bad about their body after an ad, and most Americans think the media should aim to make people feel good about their bodies rather to prevent people being overweight

YouTube comedian Nicole Arbour faced a huge internet backlash recently for posting a comedic video titled 'Dear Fat People' in which she blasted overweight people for being overweight. The controversy highlights the growing influence of the 'body positive' movement, a largely internet based discussion which calls for society and the media to recognize that beauty can come in a wide range of shapes and sizes. Media coverage, especially advertisements, are routinely criticised by body positive activists.

YouGov's latest research shows that a large number of Americans do report feeling bad about their body after seeing an advertisement. While 55% of Americans say that they have not felt bad about their body after seeing an ad, 38% have. Women (49%) are almost twice as likely as men (26%) to say that they have felt bad about how they look after looking at an ad. 

Asked whether the priority of the media and society should be to encourage people to be healthy or to feel good about their body as it is, 60% of Americans say that the media should focus on making people feel good about their bodies. 40% want the media to focus on encouraging people to not be overweight. Again there is a notable gender split on this issue, as men (49%) are much more likely than women (32%) to say that the media should focus on encouraging people to not be overweight. 

These dramatic differences may be a result of how much pressure people feel society puts on men and women to be fit and attractive. 74% of the American public (and 81% of American women) say that society puts 'too much pressure' on women to be fit an attractive. Only 41% say the same about social pressure on men. Indeed, 18% of American women say that society puts 'too little pressure' on men to be fit and attractive.

The good news is, however, that most Americans (53%) consider themselves to be attractive, though only 32% say that they live up to society's standards of what is attractive. 

Full poll results can be found here and topline results and margin of error here.

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