For many centuries people have been wondering what beauty is, but up to the present day there is neither definite answer nor a shared vision. Despite of the changes in beauty standard over time and its variety across cultures, it seems that in almost today’s societies, beauty is mainly associated with thinness. Nonetheless, the growth of fashion plus-size garment industry recently promises to bring a reverse trend for the ideal of beauty in today’s society. This could lead to the conflict between the two polarisations of beauty ideal. In the above context, this paper aims to analyse the influence of media in consumers’ self-identity and how thinness is considered beauty ideal because of that. It also hopes to identify the reverse trend towards beauty ideal by explaining the success of Lane Bryant, a market leader in plus-size garment industry. Finally, the dilemma of society’s preference in thinness and fatness will be discussed and reconciled accordingly. Media influenced consumers’ self-identity, causing thinness ideal as beauty According to the research of Cory and Burns (2007), media vision of beauty change dramatically in these ten years. From the 1950’s female beauty were encouraged to be curvy with small waists, however, the ideal body image portrayed today is thinness (Robles, 2011). Nowadays, the world of advertising use sexualized and objectified women as tools to attract customers. Movie and TV show attract audience with believable stereotype and misleading images. The idea of beauty has also been changed over the years in part because of the Internet. Not just company websites promoting the products people have always bought offline or through their advertising campaigns, but through social media marketing. In addition, there are how-to videos to teach people how to correctly put on makeup, what damages consumers’ skin and how to protect it. A ton of free samples are given out to try a product and see who is better than the competition. These sources of media keep depicting celebrities and the small size trend, which allow these media create a stereotype and change our way of thinking (Cory & Burns, 2007). According to the social comparison theory, people constantly evaluate themselves by comparing them to others people in order to define themselves (Festinger,1954). Strahan, Wilson, Cressman, & Buote (2006) indicated that more female consumers make upward comparisons and like to compare themselves with unrealistic high standards figure in the media. Compared with family and social comparison, media play a key role in influencing our identity. Nowadays media create unrealistic model for female consumer which is impossible to imitate. However, when consumers watch these unrealistic images, they may not consider these images are processed with computer. Most consumers may consider how to imitate them and looks as same. Therefore, they used diet product to make them thin and beautiful and wear the same clothes in order to fit media ideal images in their mind. According to McCracken (1986) theory, consumer goods reflect their consumer self. Because of the influence of advertising and fashion system move beauty idea from the culturally constituted world to consumer goods, while consumer rituals move beauty idea from the consumer good to the consumer. Therefore, fashion system and advertising change our way of choosing product and goods. It creates creating beauty idea in customer mind. Consumer bought these products in order to fit their identity in the media. However, this model two way influences, individual consumers also influence culturally constituted world. The beauty idea in consumer mind makes culture think thinness is beauty. That leads to the media and advertising use thin model to attract audience.
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Over time, slowly yet surely, the ideal of beauty has been changing from thinness preference to the greater acceptance of fatness due to social changes....
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