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Chapter 5 The Self. By Michael R. Solomon. Consumer Behavior Buying, Having, and Being Sixth Edition. Opening Vignette: Lisa. What depresses Lisa about the magazine models? Lisa feels that women don’t look like models in “real life.” Do you agree?

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Chapter 5 the self l.jpg

Chapter 5The Self

By Michael R. Solomon

Consumer Behavior

Buying, Having, and Being

Sixth Edition

Opening vignette lisa l.jpg
Opening Vignette: Lisa

  • What depresses Lisa about the magazine models?

  • Lisa feels that women don’t look like models in “real life.” Do you agree?

  • If Lisa doesn’t consider herself unattractive, why does she consider cosmetic surgery?

  • Does Lisa want to improve herself for Eric or herself?

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Perspectives on the Self

  • Does the Self Exist?

    • 1980’s called the “Me Decade”

    • March 7th designated “Self Day” by Self magazine

    • Western societies emphasize uniqueness of self.

    • Collective self: Eastern culture’s belief that a person’s identity is derived from his or her social group.

    • Mien-Tzu (face): Confucian belief that reputation is achieved through success and ostentation

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Self Concept

  • Self Concept:

    • The beliefs a person holds about his or her own attributes and how he or she evaluates these qualities

  • Dimensions of the Attributes of Self Concept:

    • Content

    • Positivity

    • Intensity

    • Accuracy

  • Consumer perceptions of self can be quite distorted, particularly with regard to their physical appearance.

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  • Self-esteem:

    • Refers to the positivity of a person’s self-concept.

  • Social Comparison:

    • A process by which consumers evaluate themselves by comparing themselves with others (particularly comparisons with idealized images of people in advertising)

  • Self-esteem Advertising:

    • Attempts to change product attitudes by stimulating positive feelings about the self.

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Real and Idealized Selves

  • Ideal Self:

    • A person’s conception of how he or she would like to be

    • Partially molded by elements of a consumer’s culture

  • Actual Self:

    • A person’s realistic appraisal of the qualities he or she does and does not possess

  • Fantasy: Bridging the Gap between the Selves:

    • Fantasy: A self-induced shift in consciousness

    • Fantasy appeals: Marketing communications aimed at individuals with a large discrepancy between their real and ideal selves

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Multiple Selves

  • Role Identities:

    • Different components of the self

  • Symbolic Interactionism:

    • Stresses that relationships with other people play a large part in forming the self

    • Self-fulfilling prophecy: By acting the way we assume others expect us to act, we wind up confirming these perceptions

  • The Looking-Glass Self:

    • The process of imagining the reactions of others toward us

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  • Self-Consciousness:

    • A painful awareness of oneself magnified by the belief that others are intently watching.

  • Public Self-Consciousness:

    • A heightened concern about the nature of one’s public “image”

    • Results in more concern about the appropriateness of products and consumption activities

  • Self Monitoring:

    • Awareness of how one presents oneself in a social environment

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Consumption and Self-Concept

  • Products that Shape the Self: You are What you Consume:

    • People use an individual’s consumption behaviors to help them make judgments about that person’s social identity.

    • Symbolic self-completion theory: People who have an incomplete self-definition tend to complete this identity by acquiring and displaying symbols associated with it.

  • Self/Product Congruence:

    • Consumers demonstrate consistency between their values and the things they buy.

    • Self-image congruence models: Products will be chosen when their attributes match some aspect of the self.

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The Extended Self

  • Extended Self:

    • External objects that consumers consider a part of themselves

  • Four Levels of the Extended Self:

    • (1) Individual Level: Personal possessions

    • (2) Family Level: Residence and furnishings

    • (3) Community Level: Neighborhood or town one is from

    • (4) Group Level: Social groups

    • A consumer may also feel that landmarks, monuments, or sports teams are part of the extended self.

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Advertisements Extending the Self

  • This Italian ad demonstrates that our favorite products are part of the extended self.

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Discussion Question

  • Some consumers feel that a sports team is part of the extended self. At they celebrate fanaticism toward the Tennessee Titans football team.

  • How does affiliation with a sports team affect self perceptions? What other affiliations are part of the extended self?

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Sex Roles

  • Sex Identity:

    • An important component of a consumer’s self concept

  • Gender Differences in Socialization:

    • Agentic goals (Males): Stress self assertion and mastery

    • Communal goals (Females): Stress affiliation and fostering of harmonious relations

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Satirical Ad of Exploitation

  • This French shoe ad pokes fun at ads that demean women by proclaiming: “No woman’s body was exploited in the making of this advertisement.”

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Sex Roles (cont.)

  • Gender Versus Sexual Identity:

    • Sex-Typed Traits: Characteristics stereotypically associated with gender

  • Sex-Typed Products:

    • Many products are sex-typed (i.e., they take on masculine or feminine attributes and are associated with gender)

  • Androgyny:

    • Refers to the possession of both masculine and feminine traits

    • Sex-typed people: Stereotypically masculine or feminine

    • Androgynous people: Mixed gender characteristics

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Culturally Bound Sex Roles

  • This ad for Bijan illustrates how sex-role identities are culturally bound by contrasting the expectations of how women should appear in two different countries.

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Sex Roles (conc.)

  • Female Sex Roles:

    • Female sex roles are still evolving

  • Male Sex Roles:

    • Masculinism: The study of the male image and the cultural meanings of masculinity

  • Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual, and Transgender (GLBT) Consumers:

    • GLBT population is an attractive segment to marketers

    • The 1990’s saw big corporations actively court this market segment

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Reinforcing Gender Stereotypes

  • This ad rebels somewhat against “political correctness” by reinforcing gender stereotypes.

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Targeting GLBT Consumers

  • This ad for Alize, a cognac drink, is geared toward lesbians.

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Body Image

  • Body Image:

    • Refers to a consumer’s subjective evaluation of his or her physical self

  • Body Cathexis:

    • A person’s feelings about his or her body

  • Ideal of Beauty:

    • A particular model, or exemplar, of appearance

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Ideals of Beauty

  • Is Beauty Universal?

    • Men are attracted to an hourglass shape

    • Women prefer men with a heavy lower face, above-average height, and a prominent brow

  • The Western Ideal:

    • Big round eyes, tiny waists, large breasts, blond hair, and blue eyes

  • Ideals of Beauty over Time:

    • Periods of history tend to be characterized by a specific “look”

    • Sexual dimorphic markers: Aspects of the body that distinguish between the sexes

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Waist-Hip Ratios

Figure 5.1

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Beauty Ideals in the 1950’s

  • This 1951 bathing beauty exemplified an ideal of American femininity at that time.

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Working on the Body

  • Fattism:

    • Our society is obsessed with weight

  • Body Image Distortions:

    • Women’s ideal figure is much thinner than their actual figure

    • Anorexia: Starving oneself in a quest for thinness

    • Bulimia: Binge eating followed by purging (vomiting, laxatives, fasting, or over-exercising)

    • Body dysmorphic disorder: An obsession with perceived flaws in appearance

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Unrealistic Body Shape Expectations

  • This ad for an online weight-loss site drives home the idea that the media often communicate unrealistic expectations about body shape.

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Discussion Question

  • In this advertisement, it is insinuated that this model’s physique was achieved partially through drinking milk. (Notice that the model is so thin you can see her ribs.)

  • Is her physique really ideal? What kind of distorted message is this sending to young girls about body image?

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Cultural Emphasis on Thinness

  • Society’s emphasis on thinness makes many consumers insecure about their body image. This South American ad promises, “You’ll never have to go to the beach in a T-Shirt again.”

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Working on the Body (cont.)

  • Cosmetic Surgery:

    • Consumers are increasing electing to have cosmetic surgery to change a poor body image or enhance appearance.

    • Men are increasingly having cosmetic surgery too.

  • Breast Augmentation:

    • Our culture tends to equate breast size with sex appeal.

    • Some women have breast augmentation procedures because they feel larger breasts will increase their allure.

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Body Decoration and Mutilation

  • Purpose of Decorating the Self:

    • To separate group members from nonmembers

    • To place the individual in the social organization

    • To place the person in a gender category

    • To enhance sex-role identification

    • To indicate desired social conduct

    • To indicate high status or rank

    • To provide a sense of security

  • Tattoos

  • Body Piercing

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Body Piercing

  • Body piercing has practically become a mainstream fashion statement.

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  • Tattooing is becoming mainstream. This Spanish ad for Nike tennis products says, “Rest in heaven, not on the court.”