Women & Media Beauty Pursuit for Perfection. Emily Motzkus, Natalie Jensen, Jessica St. Jeor Afshan Nabi & Kirsten Whitworth. Why our Sex in the City friends are dissatisfied. Social Comparison Theory Proposed by Leon Festinger in 1957
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Women & MediaBeauty Pursuit for Perfection
Emily Motzkus, Natalie Jensen, Jessica St. Jeor
Afshan Nabi & Kirsten Whitworth
Social Comparison Theory
Proposed by Leon Festinger in 1957
Central proposition states the so-called similarity hypothesis. Under this hypothesis it is assumed that people compare themselves with others whom they consider relevant comparison targets rather than compare themselves to with less relevant comparison targets.
Comparison relevance is an important prerequisite for social comparison effects to occur
Helps explain why people emulate models they see in the media.
Experiment:On Models and Vases: Body Dissatisfaction and Proneness to Social Comparison Effects
Question Asked:When and why do media-portrayed physically attractive women affect Perceivers’ self evaluations?
Hypothesis:Whether social comparison effects occur depends both on who the comparison target is and on who the perceiver target is. & also that target features and perceiver features jointly determine whether female body shapes will exert contrastive social comparison effects on their perceivers.
Study 1- (focuses on target features) After exposure to a physically attractive target, women’s self-evaluations were lower than after exposure to the same target, when the target was presented as professional models.
Study 2- (Focuses on comparison tendencies of perceivers) It was found that the more women were dissatisfied with their body, the more they reported that they compared their own body with the bodies of other women.
Study 3- (Self-evaluations) Showed that body-dissatisfied women are more readily affected by viewing images of thin female body shapes. Body-dissatisfied women evaluated themselves negatively after exposure to a physically attractive target regardless of whether or not the target was presented as models.
In contrast, body-satisfied women did differentiate between targets that were presented as models, such that self-evaluations were lower following non-model as compared with model.
The Truth about Beauty
With the help of make-up artists, hair stylists and digital transformations a seemingly ordinary woman with uneven skin tone, dull flat hair, and slightly lopsided eyes can easily become a beautiful, striking woman.
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Changing Images Over Time
The History of Female Body Modification
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The cultural imagery of women serves as a mirror held up to the real world. This mirror reflects the options for and value of women, depending on the popular beliefs of the time.
-Sound familiar? “Looking glass self”
Dark Ages-Reformation-ideal woman is chaste, virgin-like, motherly, round, pale and soft. Women largely discouraged from sexual independence. (Eve)
An Interesting Analysis of the Woman’s Image in the Industrial Age-”Women’s Domestic Body: The Conceptual Conflation of Women and Interiors in the Industrial Age” -Beverly Gordon
Watch for examples coming around room.
-Popular images of women have more to do with a culture’s “values and identities than literal description[s] of women.”
-Popular images are “intentionally constructed by societal leaders to perpetuate political, economic, and social order.”
-All women, even those who try to fight or resist the cultural roles assigned to them are affected by the attitudes and beliefs implied by the popular images. This means that they will face expectations, stereotypes, limitations, and societal/personal implications because of the images.
“Images of women and men can effectively incite both sexes to adopt certain self images, attitudes and behaviour. Male-constructed images of women are so embedded in Western culture that they appear quite “natural”. Once it is recognized that they are constructions, it becomes necessary to ask not only how they are constructed but why.” (italics added)
Jessica St. Jeor
Viewing individuals as a sexual object by emphasizing their sexual attributes and physical attractiveness, while de-emphasizing their existence as a living person with emotions and feelings of their own.(Aubrey, 2006)
In the media women’s bodies are more likely to be shown to advertise products and there is often a focus on parts of the body, rather than the whole body, which emphasizes the view of woman as an object. (Frederickson & Roberts, 1997)
Developed by Fedrickson & Roberts as an attempt to understand the consequences of being female in a society that sexually objectifies women.
Concluded that self-objectification can lead to habitual body monitoring, which can increase the opportunity for shame, anxiety and diminished awareness of internal body states.
Accumulation of experiences such as these helps to account for the range of mental health risks that affect women particularly depression, sexual dysfunction and eating disorders.
Research: Murnen S.K. et alThin, Sexy Women and Strong, Muscular Men: Grade-School Children’s Responses to Objectified Images of Women and Men
to examine the links between sexual objectification and self-objectification from a developmental perspective by examining how grade-school girls responded to objectified images of women. (Murnen, S.K. et al, 2006)
*included 88 girls ranging in age from 6 to 12
* girls to four pictures of female singing stars (Brittney Spears, Christina Agulera, Shania Twain, and Jennifer Lopez).
*after seeing the pictures, the girls were asked to respond to a list of questions relating to their experience and opinions relating to the picture they had just seen.
* consistently positive responses to the pictures correlated to the girls awareness of objectification, high level of internalization, and low body esteem.
* among the girls you showed acceptance and internal consistency in response to the four images, some girls showed a fairly sophisticated understanding of the role objectification plays in women’s lives based upon their responses. (Murnen S.K. et al, 2003)
Overall… these results advocate that girls who are aware of this thin, sexy ideal (sexual objectification) and internalize it (self-objectification) believe that it is important to live up to these ideals to be viewed as valued and capable
Media’s Effects on Self-esteem of Teenage Girls
No One Is Immune!