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The Self Chapter 5. Perspectives on the Self. Does the Self Exist? 1980 ’ s called the “ Me Decade ” March 7 th designated “ Self Day ” by Self magazine Western societies emphasize uniqueness of self.

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The Self

Chapter 5

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

    • Very complex structure of attributes

      • Attribute dimensions: content, positivity, intensity, stability over time, and accuracy

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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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  • Self-esteem advertising: products provide remedy to low self-esteem

    • Think about/locate examples of self-esteem advertising.

    • Evaluate the probable effectiveness of these appeals. Is it true that “flattery gets you everywhere?”

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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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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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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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Male Sex Roles

  • Masculinism

    • Three models of masculinity:

      • Breadwinner

      • Rebel

      • Man-of-action hero

  • Misandry

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Male Sex Roles (Cont’d)

  • Grooming products for men

    • Metrosexual

      • David Beckham

      • Queer Eye for the Straight Guy

    • Prosumers/urban influentials

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Reinforcing Gender Stereotypes

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

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  • The “metrosexual” is a big buzzword in marketing, but is it real or just media hype?

  • Do you see men in your age group changing their ideas about acceptable interests for males (e.g., home design, cooking, etc.)?

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GLBT Consumers

  • ~4%-8% of U.S. population

    • Equivalent to Asian American market

    • Spends $250-$350 billion a year

    • Simmons study: compared to heterosexual markets, readers of gay publications are more likely to…

      • Hold professional jobs

      • Own a vacation home

      • Own a notebook computer

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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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The Western Ideal

  • Skin color & eye shape = status, sophistication, and social desirability

  • Less powerful cultures adopt standards of beauty in dominant cultures

  • Plastic surgery to obtain…

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

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  • How prevalent is the Western ideal of beauty among your peers?

  • How do you see this ideal evolving now (if at all)?

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Ideals of Beauty Over Time

  • Specific “looks”/ideals of beauty

    • Early 1800s: delicate/”looking ill” appearance, 18-inch waistline (use of corsets)

    • 1890s: voluptuous, lusty woman

    • Bad economy: mature features vs. good economy: babyish features

    • 1990s: “waif” look

    • Modern women: high heels, body waxing, eyelifts, liposuction

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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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Ideals of Beauty Over Time (Cont’d)

  • Media & marketing communicate standards of beauty

    • Barbie dolls: unnatural ideal of thinness

  • Plus-sized apparel market

  • Strongly masculine, muscled body for men

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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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Body Image Distortions

  • To some, body quality reflects self-worth (particularly among women)

  • Distorted body image is linked to eating disorders among females

  • Body dysmorphic disorder & males

    • Steroid scandals

    • GI Joe/Batman action figures

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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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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 & Mutilation

  • Decorating the self…

    • Separates group members from nonmembers

    • Places the individual in the social organization

    • Provides a sense of security

  • Tattoos & body piercing

    • Historically associated with social outcasts

    • Now a fashion statement