Body Image Ideals in Society

Apr 14, 2016
by: Iharris16

I am researching how the media affects body image. I used the EBSCO database to look at articles relating to my topic. The article "Following And Resisting Body Image Ideals In Advertising: The Moderating Role Of Extrinsic Contingency Focus" written by Todd williams says, many self-esteem motives are connected to a need to fit in by distinguishing themselves from others. Children living a life surrounded by socializing agents that emphasize rules and love, tend to become more dependent on social approval and living up to the standards of others to acquire self-worth. Others that experience socialization situations that emphasize choice, freedom and acceptance tend to form a self regard, based more on living up to their own standards. Different socialization experiences may lead to different things on how the child perceives herself/ himself in society.
Another article I read, titled "The Effects Of The Media On Body Image: A Meta-Analysis,” written by Amanda Holmstrom, states, three theories of how the media negatively affects body image. The first theory, “Festinger social comparison theory(1954) argues that people evaluate themselves through comparison with others and are more likely to compare themselves to those who are similar to them and who are attractive.” Comparing themselves to others who are attractive can lead to a negative emotional state including depression and anorexia. The “Cultivation theory posits that the more television a person watches, the more that person will believe television life is "real life".” Those who believe this theory shows an explanation of the relationship between media and body image that thin images in the media lead people to believe the thin form is both realistic and ideal. The last theory, “Social cognitive theory assumes that people learn and model the behaviors of attractive others. Proponents of social cognitive theory posit that young women find thin models in the media attractive and try to imitate them through dieting and, eventually, the development of eating disorders.”

Works cited:

Williams, Todd J., et al. "Following And Resisting Body Image Ideals In Advertising: The Moderating Role Of Extrinsic Contingency Focus." Self & Identity 13.4 (2014): 398-418.Academic Search Premier. Web. 13 Apr. 2016.

Holmstrom, Amanda J. "The Effects Of The Media On Body Image: A Meta-Analysis." Journal Of Broadcasting & Electronic Media 48.2 (2004): 196-217. Academic Search Premier. Web. 13 Apr. 2016.


Great summaries of research!

lovebugleen's picture
Submitted by lovebugleen on Mon, 2016-04-25 12:50.

You did a great job on summarizing your research sources and had citations as well, which is a very good thing to have as a writer. It builds credibility in the writer, which I had as I read your writing! You chose a highly relatable topic, and I am excited to see how your research continues to progress your work.