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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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The Self

Chapter 5

perspectives on the self
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
self concept
  • 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
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.
  • 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?”
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
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.
advertisements extending the self
Advertisements Extending the Self
  • This Italian ad demonstrates that our favorite products 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
    • Androgynous people: Mixed gender characteristics
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
  • 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
male sex roles


Male Sex Roles
  • Masculinism
    • Three models of masculinity:
      • Breadwinner
      • Rebel
      • Man-of-action hero
  • Misandry
male sex roles cont d
Male Sex Roles (Cont’d)
  • Grooming products for men
    • Metrosexual
      • David Beckham
      • Queer Eye for the Straight Guy
    • Prosumers/urban influentials
reinforcing gender stereotypes
Reinforcing Gender Stereotypes
  • This ad rebels somewhat against “political correctness” by reinforcing gender stereotypes.
  • 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.)?
glbt consumers
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
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
the western ideal
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
  • How prevalent is the Western ideal of beauty among your peers?
  • How do you see this ideal evolving now (if at all)?
ideals of beauty over time
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
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.
ideals of beauty over time cont d
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
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.
body image distortions
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
discussion question
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?
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 mutilation
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