The influence of fashion magazines on the body image satisfaction of college women: an exploratory a

Many contemporary American women covet an unrealistically thin body
build for themselves (Lamb, Jackson, Cassidy, Priest, 1993;
Mallick, Whipple, Huerta, 1987; Silberstein, Striegel-Moore,
Timko, Rodin, 1988; Spillman Everington, 1989), a new phenomenon
that could probably be detrimental to their emotive as well as physical health. The
rising significance of the thin ideal is actually apparent in the changing
perceptions of the ectomorphic body type. in your fifty years since
Sheldon and Stevens (1942) conducted their own somatotype research, the
negative characteristics connected with all the thin, as well as ectomorphic, body
build possess dwindled. Throughout the particular early 1940s, Sheldon as well as Stevens located that
ectomorphic people had been perceived negatively by other people as nervous,
submissive, as well as socially withdrawn. by your late 1980s, however, this
perception had changed. compared to individuals along with endomorphic and
mesomorphic entire body types, ectomorphic people were rated most
positively along with considered to become one with the most sexually appealing (Spillman
Everington, 1989).

The emergence in the slender entire body type as being a beauty normal for women
is especially salient inside the mass media, and also a amount of researchers have
demonstrated the method the female entire body depicted in the media provides become
increasingly thin (Garner, Garfinkel, Schwartz, Thompson, 1980;
Ogletree, Williams, Raffeld, Mason, Fricke, 1990; Silverstein,
Perdue, Peterson, Kelly, 1986; Wiseman, Gray, Mosimann,
Ahrens, 1992). Assessing the particular height, weight, and body measurements of
Playboy centerfolds and associated with Miss America Competition contestants coming from 1960 to
1979, Garner et al. (1980) discovered that the particular percent involving average weight of
the models declined significantly.(1) With Regard To example, in 1960, the average
weight regarding Playboy models was 91% of the people mean. Through 1978, mean
weight with the models provides dropped in order to 84% of the population mean. A
similar trend was apparent one associated with the Miss America Competition contestants:
Prior in order to 1970, mean excess weight of the contestants ended up being approximately 88% of
the population norm. following 1970, imply excess weight in the contestants had
decreased to 85% regarding the people norm.(2)

Garner along with colleagues in addition noted a new trend towards noncurvaceousnessfrom 1960 to be able to 1979. The Particular bust along with hip measurements of Playboy modelsdecreased and their waist measurements increased significantly. Thesefindings are constant along with those reported by Silverstein, Perdue,Peterson, and also Kelly (1986) whom analyzed the actual curvaceousness associated with modelsappearing throughout Vogue and Ladies Residence Journal through 1901 to end up being able to 1981 and ofpopular movie actresses through 1941 for you to 1979. The Actual investigators discovered thatamong the particular models appearing throughout Ladies House Journal and also Vogue, thebust-to-waist ratio dropped significantly. Additionally, your averagebust-to-waist ratio involving actresses from your 1960s and 1970s wassignificantly smaller than those of actresses in the 1940s as well as 1950s.Similar outcomes had been reported through Morris, Cooper, and Cooper (1989) intheir study regarding British manner models.Taken together, the actual findings associated with Garner as well as colleagues along with of
Silverstein and colleagues reveal that from the turn in the century
throughout the particular 1970s, your normal regarding physical attractiveness with regard to women
presented within the mass media became a lot thinner and fewer curvaceous.
These findings were replicated in a current update of the Garner et al.
(1980) research. Making Use Of the identical processes employed within the Garner study,
Wiseman et al. (1992) found out that through the period involving time through 1979 in order to 1988,
Miss America contestants continued to decrease within entire body size along with Playboy
models maintained their already lower entire body sizes. Since did previous
researchers, Wiseman et al. (1992) discovered that curvaceousness (i.e., hip
measurements) continued in order to decline amongst Miss America contestants.

One discovering reported within the Wiseman et al. (1992) research offers serious
implications for women's well-being. In The Particular course Of your period of time via 1979 to
1988, 69% of Playboy models and 60% associated with Miss America contestants weighed
15% or even much more down below your expected excess weight regarding how old that they are and also height category.
The researchers note which according towards the DSM III-R, keeping body
weight associated with 15% down below one's expected weight is really a criterion for
anorexia nervosa. Some Other researchers possess additionally noted the particular prevalence of
disordered consuming among trend models (e.g., Brenner Cunningham,
1992) and furthermore the severe wellness risks connected together with achieving a really thin
body type. Females whose physique fat falls down below 22% less difficult more
susceptible to infertility, amenorrhea, ovarian as well as endometrial cancer,
and osteoporosis (Seid, 1989). These kinds of findings declare that the particular slim
beauty ideal offered inside the media might always be unhealthy with regard to women.

Given the messages aimed at females by means of the actual mass media, it is not
surprising that numerous American women desire to be thin and also that will women
typically really feel dissatisfied with their bodies. Females usually are generally less
satisfied using their bodies when compared with are generally men (Altabe Thompson, 1993;
Brenner Cunningham, 1992; Davis Cowles, 1991; Koff, Rierdan,
Stubbs, 1990; Mintz Betz, 1986). Even females who can be
classified as becoming within or even slightly beneath the typical excess weight range for
their height often perceive themselves as becoming overweight and are
dissatisfied using their bodies. body image dissatisfaction can always be a crucial
area involving investigation because regarding its relationship to reduced self-esteem
(Koff, Rierdan, Stubbs, 1990) and to depression (Rierdan, Koff
Stubbs, 1989).

One question raised by these studies concerns the nature regarding the
relationship between media depictions of females as well as women's
perception associated with their really own bodies. An implicit assumption underlying
previous study is always that the actual portrayal of the thin entire body ideal along with the
focus about dieting and workout trigger ladies to grow to become able to be dissatisfied with
their very own bodies and to favor your thin physique type. Although previous
researchers (i.e., Spillman Everington, 1989) have got implied that
the media have changed our perceptions with the female body, few studies
have truly tested this hypothesis empirically. Further study is
needed in which examines regardless associated with whether exposure to end up being able to media depictions with the thin
female physique will influence women's body image satisfaction.

Evidence in which perceptions associated with their own bodies could end up being affected by
media portrayals of females has been supplied by Irving (1990) who
investigated your impact involving publicity to slides associated with thin, average, and
oversize models about the self-evaluations involving 162 university ladies exhibiting
varying levels regarding self-reported bulimic symptoms. Irving discovered that
exposure to thin models was related in order to lower self-evaluations,
regardless in the level of bulimic symptoms. Extra research is
needed to be able to figure out whether or not really the thin models featured within popular
women's periodicals would possess a similar effect on women's

The aim in the current investigation was to investigate regardless regarding whether the
depictions of women throughout publications do, within fact, affect women's
perceptions associated with their own bodies. Specifically, the particular impact regarding publicity to
fashion publications in women's entire body image fulfillment was
investigated. Constant together with prior research, we hypothesized that
viewing fashion periodicals would cause lower amounts of physique image
satisfaction amongst college women. Simply Because regarding the little nonrepresentative
sample, the information are offered to stimulate further investigation regarding the
effects with the mass media about females' development.


Participants were 49 undergraduate females signed up for an
introductory psychology course at a New England women's college.
Participants were randomly assigned to always be able to 2 experimental conditions: half
(n = 24) had been assigned towards the fashion magazine group, as well as the remaining
half (n = 25) had been assigned to the information publication group. Preliminary
analyses revealed simply no significant variations inside the mean height, weight,
or chronilogical get older of the two categories of participants. Imply weight for the trial was
129.43 pounds as well as ranged via 92 in order to 160 pounds. Suggest height was 64.98
inches and ranged from 60 to always be able to 71 inches. Imply age for your sample was
18.63 a prolonged time along with ranged via 17 to 21 years.


Magazines. Eight mags were utilised as stimulus materials. Each
magazine was selected on the time frame regarding its popularity along with availability.
Four magazines that had reputations with regard to exhibiting the thin fashion
ideal among ladies had been chosen: Vogue (November, 1991), Bazaar (October,
1991), Elle (November, 1991), and Allure (November, 1991). The Particular 4 news
magazines used within the control situation included Moment (November 4,
1991), Newsweek (October 28, 1991), U.S. Information Globe Report
(October 28, 1991), and also Enterprise Week (November 4, 1991).(3)

Questionnaire. Any three-part, self-administered questionnaire had been used
to assess women's body image satisfaction. The first part involving the
questionnaire consisted associated with adult figure sketches designed and
illustrated simply by Stunkard, Sorenson, and Schulsinger (1980). Each
participant has been inspired to analyze nine female silhouettes involving different size
and in order to indicate the actual figure that a whole lot of clearly reflected the girl perceptions
of her very own body type, her ideal entire body type, as well as the body sort considered
to become the majority of perfect simply by society. A New nine-point scale ended up being used, with the
lowest numbers corresponding towards the thinnest silhouettes.

The 2nd a component of the actual questionnaire contained 31 items developed by
the researchers, which in turn assessed respondents' perceptions involving their
bodies in supplement to be able to their dieting attitudes and also behaviors. Examples regarding these
questions are: "I am very frustrated with regards to my weight"; "I
am fearful of acquiring fat"; and also "I diet plan to enhance my
looks." A New 5-point scale had been used, with possible responses ranging
from 1, "never," to be able to 5, "always." also included were
questions about the respondents' present height and also weight, ideal
height and also weight, along with qualifications details (i.e., get older along with family
income). Members had been then inspired to indicate that in the eight
magazines they study just before completing your questionnaire.


Thirty-minute appointments were scheduled for all those females who
expressed an fascination within this study. Upon arrival, each participant was
greeted with a part of the research team and offered a new consent form
explaining that the research has been built to examine body image
satisfaction amongst school women. Right After giving consent, every participant
was informed that will there could be any short delay, questioned to leave your ex books
and other pursuits inside the lobby, and escorted to a small room exactly where she
waited alone.

The waiting space contained three chairs along using a coffee table upon which
four mags had been placed. Pertaining To half of the participants, the particular waiting
room contained simply information magazines; for the remaining half, there were
only style magazines. Absolutely No various other posters or perhaps pictures of individuals or
reading materials had been obtainable in the waiting room. Right After 13 minutes,
participants had been escorted to a sizable classroom and provided the
questionnaire to be able to complete. Endless time was offered with regarding completion.

Ten individuals indicated on their own questionnaire which they did not
read the magazine whilst waiting. These types of students had been eliminated coming from the
data analyses. The Actual resulting test consisted involving 18 (37%) participants
in the fashion magazine condition along with 21 (43%) in the news magazine

Statistical Analyses

The dependent variable had been women's physique image satisfaction. The
independent variable was journal type. Our significant hypothesis was that
when in contrast to their peers whom viewed news magazines, ladies who viewed
fashion mags just before completing an appearance image satisfaction
questionnaire would: (1) always be much less happy using their bodies; (2) prefer
an perfect entire body sort that is smaller, along with (3) express greater
preoccupation using thinness and dieting. T-tests had been used to examine
differences among participants within the fashion newspaper and also news
magazine conditions.


Current, Private Ideal, as well as Societal Perfect body Types

Participants' perceptions regarding their really own body type, their particular ideal
body type, and society's perfect entire body type had been assessed using the
nine adult figure drawings. Analyses demonstrated that mean scores were 3.78
(range = 2 for you to 6) pertaining to present entire body type, 2.88 (range = 1 to 4) for
personal perfect physique type, and also 2.45 (range = 1 to 4) for society's
ideal physique type. T-tests said that neither current, private ideal,
nor society's perfect entire body kind differed for your a pair of groups of women.

Based in data supplied by open-ended questions, ideal height regarding the
sample (M = 66.06 inches, range = 60 in order to 72 inches) failed to differ for
the 2 groups. ideal weight, however, do differ for that 2 groups.
Women which viewed magazines (m = 119.44) perceived a lower ideal
weight than did ladies who viewed information magazines (m = 126.14), t(37) =
2.00, p [less than] .027).

Body Image Satisfaction, Dieting Attitudes and also Behaviors, and
Preoccupation with Thinness

Table one shows the final results with the t-tests examining differences among
the a pair of teams of women inside the 31 Likert scale objects assessing body
image satisfaction, dieting attitudes and also behaviors, as well as preoccupation
[TABULAR DATA FOR TABLE 1 OMITTED] with thinness. Since shown inside the table,
women who viewed magazines reported more often feeling very
frustrated regarding their particular weight, t(37) = 1.73,p [less than] .046; dieting,
t(37) = 1.72,p [less than] .047); weighing on their own own greater than as quickly as a
week, t(37) = 1.75), p [less than] .045; working out simply to lose weight,
t(37) = 1.71, p [less than] .048; sensation guilty while eating, t(37) =
1.83, p [less than] .038; feeling guilty right after eating, t(37) = 2.00, p
[less than] .027; getting preoccupied with just about all the desire to become thinner, t(37)
= 2.84, p [less than] .0035; and being afraid of getting fat, t(37) =
1.87, p [less than] .035. Similarly, when in comparison to girls that viewed
news magazines, those that viewed fashion periodicals much less frequently
reported becoming pleased with regards to their own bodies, t(37) = 1.87, p [less than]
.035; and feeling happy using the shape of their particular bodies, t(37) =
2.22, p [less than] .016.


The results regarding this investigation demonstrate the particular role of the media
in shaping, as opposed to merely reflecting, societal perceptions regarding the
female body. consistent along with our hypothesis, it was found that
women's body image satisfaction is, indeed, influenced by their
exposure to the thin ideal presented within fashion magazines. Although the
two groups of women on this study didn't differ significantly throughout height
or weight, people who read fashion periodicals ahead of completing the body
image fulfillment survey desired for you to weigh less and also perceived themselves
more negatively as compared to does those that read news magazines. Coverage to
fashion magazines was related in order to women's greater preoccupation with
being thin, dissatisfaction using their bodies, frustration concerning weight,
and concern concerning deviating from the thin standard.

The results are consistent together with previous studies examining media
depictions of females and also women's physique image satisfaction. Since did
Spillman along with Everington (1989), we discovered that females preferred the
slender physique type regarding themselves along with were "sometimes"
preoccupied along with getting thin. However, our findings extend individuals of
Spillman and also Everington within determining which preoccupation using thinness
was heightened right after viewing the actual thin models depicted inside fashion
magazines. These findings are also consistent using those reported by
Irving (1990) where publicity to become able to thin models ended up being related for you to lower
self-evaluations among school women. An important distinction between
Irving's research and also the existing studies our use associated with popular
women's magazines as stimuli as opposed to slides. This kind of reliance on
popular magazines bore near resemblance to a real environment within which
women tend to be confronted with publications and to unrealistically thin female

Previous research shows that will obese women report becoming less
satisfied making use associated with their bodies as compared to do slender ladies (Stake Lauer,
1987). Throughout the present study, however, it absolutely was demonstrated which the
perception regarding getting overweight could be manipulated through exposing women to
thin models. The Actual perception of obese (whether accurate or
inaccurate), throughout turn, ended up being connected along with greater entire body image
dissatisfaction one of the women. the proven fact that participants were
randomly assigned towards the 2 experimental circumstances points too the
two groups failed to differ in height, weight, or body proportion. Thus,
it has been coverage towards the magazines which influenced physique image

The variances observed in between both teams of ladies inside this
study are striking, given that the members viewed publications for
only 13 minutes. Extra studies necessary which examines the actual impact
of prolonged publicity to magazines about women's physique image
satisfaction as well as self-concept. Moreover, our findings with regards to the
influence involving fashion periodicals in women's perceptions associated with their
bodies ought to be interpreted throughout light of previous analysis which
examined fluctuations within women's body image satisfaction.
Specifically, Haimovitz, Lansky, and O'Reilly (1993) discovered that
women's entire body fulfillment ratings varied across four behavioral
situations and were lower inside options where ladies were forced to
scrutinize their very own health as opposed to throughout "everyday" situations.
Eldredge, Wilson, as well as Whaley (1990) furthermore discovered that experiences that
provoke failure as well as self-evaluation lead females to perceive their own physique and
weight negatively. Inside our study, it will be possible that exposure for you to the
fashion periodicals developed a climate in which individuals had been more
likely to become able to concentrate on their extremely own bodies and, inside turn, temporarily evaluate
themselves negatively. determining whether as well as not necessarily the results of viewing
fashion mags still can be found more than a prolonged period regarding time involving time
would represent further interest.

According for you to Havighurst (1972), accepting one's physique will be an
essential feature regarding adolescent development. However, the particular pervasiveness
of your thin perfect presented inside publications and other forms of mass media,
may severely hinder ladies coming from accomplishing this developmental task.
Rather as compared to increasingly accepting of their own bodies, women may become
much a lot more conscious of and also negative inside their evaluations of their bodies
after viewing trend magazines. Further studies necessary which
examines the particular role in the media being an agent associated with socialization for young
women. The Particular escalating stress to become thin and the unrealistic images
portrayed inside the mass media might use a devastating effect on
women's self-perceptions, self-esteem, and identity development.

Because the analysis ended up being conducted at a prestigious, New England
women's college, our taste ended up being predominately white. future studies
should consist of larger, a lot more representative selections. Particularly needed
are studies which look at social class as well as ethnic variations in
women's body image satisfaction. previous numerous studies have demonstrated
differences amongst ladies of different ethnic backgrounds on measures of
body image satisfaction. Within a new research involving Black along with white
college women, Rucker and cash (1992) discovered that when compared, African
American females had been a lot more happy with most the dimension and also form of their
body, desired in order to use a much less thin body, had been less fearful of getting fat,
and had fewer dieting concerns. Smith along with Krejci (1991) discovered that when
compared in order to white females, Native American and also Hispanic females were
somewhat more likely to become dissatisfied making use involving their bodies.

The influence in the media on the body image satisfaction and
self-perception involving non-white women in addition deserves attention. African
American, Asian American, Native American, and also Latina females are generally often
overlooked within analysis on this subject. Further, ladies involving color are
grossly underrepresented in fashion periodicals and other forms of media.
Thus, the impact in the media's reinforcement in the thin as well as white
ideal on the physical as well as mental well-being of females of color should
be understood.

A developmental approach to comprehending the influence with the media
and other sociocultural influences about women's physique image perception
is in addition needed. Females are usually bombarded along with media images throughout
childhood as well as adolescence. Emphasis on physical physical appearance and the entire body type
are prevalent even throughout children's television commercials (Ogletree
et al. (1990), along with well-known teen mags heavily emphasize fashion,
beauty, along with stereotypical female roles (Evans, Rutberg, Sather,
Turner, 1991; Pierce, 1990, 1993). With exactly the same time, entire body image
dissatisfaction and also preferences to get a slender (or significantly slimmer) body
have been proven within studies involving preadolescent (Collins, 1991) and
adolescent girls (Koff et al., 1990; Rierdan et al., 1989). Future
studies might try to determine how females and girls encode messages aimed
at them through the actual mass media, as well as the relationship of these messages
to physique image distortion, self-esteem, along with eating disorders.

The authors wish saying thanks to Cherie Bagley, Francine Deutsch, and
Beverly Tatum for useful feedback by using an earlier draft associated with this paper.

An earlier model involving this paper had been offered at the 20th Annual
Feminist Psychologist Conference in the Association with regard to Ladies in
Psychology, March, 1995, Indianapolis.

1 % associated with average weight had been established through converting each
model's weight into a % in the expected weight based upon the
1959 Society associated with Actuaries report.

2 Interestingly, the actual contest winners weighed even less than
the other contestants. Thus, the particular comparison using the population norm is
particularly striking among this group.

3 The Actual variety of pages photos of females included within the eight
magazines was: Vogue, 347 pages and 200 pictures; Elle, 283 pages and 97
pictures; Allure, 113 pages and 97 pictures; Bazaar, 186 pages and also 107
pictures; T/me, 98 pages as well as 10 pictures; Newsweek, 82 pages along with 6
pictures; U.S. Information along with world Report, 92 pages and 2 pictures; and
Business Week, 164 pages and two pictures.


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