Body Image Satisfaction in Women: The Effects of Traditional Women’s Magazines vs. Online/E-reader Women’s Magazines
A negative perception of body satisfaction in women has become a socially accepted occurrence in how women view their body. Devaraj and Lewis (2010) explain in their study that body image can be defined as a person’s perception of how his or her physical body appears to him or her, including their feelings and attitudes towards their body (p. 103). There are sociocultural pressures for women to be thin, and when this cultural expectation cannot be met, a level of decreased body satisfaction is then internalized. In Western society there is discontent with body image in women that has been described as “normative” (McLaren & Kuh, 2004; Rodin, Silberstein, & Striegel-Moore, 1984; Tiggemann & Lynch, 2001; Devaraj & Lewis, 2010 p. 103). Women in Western cultures tend to focus on the thin ideal, or the preference for a lower weight, even if that means having a lower Body Mass Index (BMI) than what is considered a healthy average (Ferguson, Munoz, Contreras & Velasquez, 2011 p. 459). The greatest influences for body satisfaction in women in Western cultures have been observed to be motivated through media sources. There have been a multitude of studies completed examining this occurrence, specifically with television and how the female figure is represented. This study will be examining a new territory of specific factors within the realm of media that influence how women perceive their body image. With the launch of new technology such as the Ipad, Nook, Kindle and other various tablets there are now even more modes that enables exposure to the “ideal thin” body image. We will be focusing on magazines and their effect on women’s internalization of body satisfaction and how the introduction of new technologies with online magazines and e-readers have affected this phenomenon.
Western culture has become obsessed with perfectionism, seeking it no matter the consequences. In the current decade the emphasis and portrayal of the woman’s body has dramatically increased. It is now near impossible to perform even mundane tasks without being continually assaulted by images of perfectly thin, bony, and too proportionate women. Although the majority of women are able to realize that the figures glorified in western culture today are unattainable and unhealthy, the desire to mimic or epitomize is not lost. Body Satisfaction
The Social Identity Theory (1970) predicts that certain intergroup behaviors and relationships are constructed upon the basis of aligning one’s self with the perceived accepted behaviors of the desired group. Past research conducted has found, that due to the frequency and type of images highlighted in women’s magazines, and according to the Social Identity Theory, there is a direct correlation between women’s body dissatisfaction and the inability to attain the culturally desired physique. A study performed by Shaw (1995) found through research that adolescents whose bodies do not match the thin ideals depicted in women’s magazines will experience social pressure to conform to achieve this ideal, in hopes of gaining social approval. Body dissatisfaction is normalized through magazines as well. The Social Comparison Theory (1954) claims that people have a need to gain an accurate self-evaluation of themselves by comparing their bodies to other people, including media images, which a person views to represent as realistic and ideal goals. It is proposed that people make judgments regarding their own body image and compare themselves to other images, without realizing that they are doing so (Festinger, p. 117). Festinger’s theory relates to body satisfaction and links this phenomenon of women comparing their body to the representation of women within media, and specifically in magazines. “Content analyses of magazines show high levels of thin ideals impossible for most women to...
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