Degree Type


Date of Award


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy


Apparel, Events and Hospitality Management


Apparel, Merchandising and Design

First Advisor

Ellen McKinney


As the recognition of diverse body types in the U.S. increases and the body-positive movement gains traction, the presence of men’s plus sized clothing and models in advertising and media has increased in popularity. Manufacturers and retailers are beginning to respond to consumer sentiment, introducing or expanding their current offerings to include clothing for a market that wields a significant amount of purchasing power (Brown, 2019). The recent Body Positive Movement (BPM) has been influential in its efforts to include more diverse female body types in advertising and media, but has left consumers wondering why male consumers have not been included in recent efforts to increase body size diversity and male plus size clothing in retail stores. The purpose of this research was to understand men’s experiences with plus size clothing as well as their perceptions of male fashion models in advertising and media. Lastly, men’s perceptions of the BPM were also explored. Thirteen plus size men were interviewed for this study. Participants had a mostly negative shopping experience as men’s plus size clothing fit poorly and was not fashionable. Participants experiences with male fashion models were neutral as they were not influential on clothing purchase decisions or perceptions of brand image. Participants were mostly aware of the BPM, but viewed the movement as a movement geared toward empowering women. They did not believe the BPM had an influential effect on their lives or how they felt about their appearance. Festinger’s Social Comparison Theory, Bourdieu and Social Capital, and Postrational Feminism provided the theoretical lens through which participant responses were interpreted and used to build or add to existing theory.


Copyright Owner

Melissa Lynne Thompson



File Format


File Size

125 pages