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By Michael R. Solomon. Chapter 5 The Self. 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

By Michael R. Solomon

Chapter 5The Self

Consumer Behavior

Buying, Having, and Being

Sixth Edition

opening vignette lisa
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?
self concept
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:
  • a) Content—such as facial attractiveness versus mental aptitude.

b) Positivity or negativity—such as self-esteem.

c) Intensity, stability over time, and accuracy—the degree to which one’s self-assessment corresponds to reality

  • Consumer perceptions of self can be quite distorted, particularly with regard to their physical appearance.
self esteem
  • 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.
real and idealized selves
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
multiple selves
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
self consciousness
  • 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
consumption and self concept
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.
the extended self
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.
  • Identity Theft:
    • Criminal use of personal information to secure credit
advertisements extending the self
Advertisements Extending the Self
  • This Italian ad demonstrates that our favorite products are part of the extended self.
discussion question
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?
sex roles
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
satirical ad of exploitation
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.”
sex roles cont
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
culturally bound sex roles
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.
sex roles conc
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
reinforcing gender stereotypes
Reinforcing Gender Stereotypes
  • This ad rebels somewhat against “political correctness” by reinforcing gender stereotypes.
body image
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
ideals of beauty
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
beauty ideals in the 1950 s
Beauty Ideals in the 1950’s
  • This 1951 bathing beauty exemplified an ideal of American femininity at that time.
working on the body
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
unrealistic body shape expectations
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.
discussion question1
Discussion Question

In this advertisement, it is insinuated that this model’s physique was achieved partially through drinking milk.

Is her physique really ideal?

cultural emphasis on thinness
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.”
working on the body cont
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.
body decoration and mutilation
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
  • Tattooing is becoming mainstream. This Spanish ad for Nike tennis products says, “Rest in heaven, not on the court.”