Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:

 

Does size matter? Research tackles female body image

17.09.2004


New research into how women view their bodies aims to challenge the as yet untested belief that thin, glamorous, perfect female models in advertising are socially desirable and "sell" products to the consumer more successfully than other body types.



The research, to be carried out by Dr Helga Dittmar, Senior Lecturer in Psychology at the University of Sussex, with Emma Halliwell, from the University of the West of England, will also look at precisely how - and why - ultra-thin media ideals used in advertising have a negative effect in making many women feel dissatisfied with their own bodies.

The study will involve 400 female students at each university. They will first be asked to give information about how they feel about their own bodies before their reactions to various images are studied at three different stages, then compared to their original self-image.


One of the aims of the study, which will take about a year to complete and starts this September, is to discover whether the use of ultra-thin models in advertising actually helps to sell products. Although unrealistically thin young women are often used in advertisements for everything from soft drinks to cars, there has been no previous research to show that using such images actually increases sales of any product.

In fact, argues Dr Dittmar, previous research has already shown that such advertising contributes to negative body images among young girls and women.

Dr Dittmar, who has also recently carried out research into the tactics of door-to-door salesmen, says: "Body dissatisfaction can produce extreme body shaping behaviours, such as eating disorders. Women and girls can’t help being exposed to ultra-thin models in advertising, whose body size is unrealistic and unhealthy. There is good evidence already that exposure to these unhealthy models leads a large proportion of women to feel dissatisfied with their own bodies. We still know little about who is most vulnerable, why or how these effects occur, and how we can best protect body esteem. This is what we are examining."

She adds: "Results from our studies so far suggest that average-size attractive models are equally effective in advertising as ultra-thin models. However, we need to conduct wider research before we can be confident that average-size models have good advertising effectiveness, but avoid increasing women’s body dissatisfaction. "We hope that the research will identify factors that make women particularly vulnerable to the negative effects of the thin ideal and help with the development of ways to protect women and girls."

The research is being funded by a grant of just over £44,000 awarded by the Economic and Social Research Council, which aims to provide high-quality research on issues of importance to business, the public sector and government, including economic competitiveness, the effectiveness of public services and our quality of life.

Maggie Clune | alfa
Further information:
http://www.sussex.ac.uk

More articles from Social Sciences:

nachricht Fixating on faces
26.01.2017 | California Institute of Technology

nachricht Internet use in class tied to lower test scores
16.12.2016 | Michigan State University

All articles from Social Sciences >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

Die letzten 5 Focus-News des innovations-reports im Überblick:

Im Focus: Making lightweight construction suitable for series production

More and more automobile companies are focusing on body parts made of carbon fiber reinforced plastics (CFRP). However, manufacturing and repair costs must be further reduced in order to make CFRP more economical in use. Together with the Volkswagen AG and five other partners in the project HolQueSt 3D, the Laser Zentrum Hannover e.V. (LZH) has developed laser processes for the automatic trimming, drilling and repair of three-dimensional components.

Automated manufacturing processes are the basis for ultimately establishing the series production of CFRP components. In the project HolQueSt 3D, the LZH has...

Im Focus: Wonder material? Novel nanotube structure strengthens thin films for flexible electronics

Reflecting the structure of composites found in nature and the ancient world, researchers at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign have synthesized thin carbon nanotube (CNT) textiles that exhibit both high electrical conductivity and a level of toughness that is about fifty times higher than copper films, currently used in electronics.

"The structural robustness of thin metal films has significant importance for the reliable operation of smart skin and flexible electronics including...

Im Focus: Deep inside Galaxy M87

The nearby, giant radio galaxy M87 hosts a supermassive black hole (BH) and is well-known for its bright jet dominating the spectrum over ten orders of magnitude in frequency. Due to its proximity, jet prominence, and the large black hole mass, M87 is the best laboratory for investigating the formation, acceleration, and collimation of relativistic jets. A research team led by Silke Britzen from the Max Planck Institute for Radio Astronomy in Bonn, Germany, has found strong indication for turbulent processes connecting the accretion disk and the jet of that galaxy providing insights into the longstanding problem of the origin of astrophysical jets.

Supermassive black holes form some of the most enigmatic phenomena in astrophysics. Their enormous energy output is supposed to be generated by the...

Im Focus: A Quantum Low Pass for Photons

Physicists in Garching observe novel quantum effect that limits the number of emitted photons.

The probability to find a certain number of photons inside a laser pulse usually corresponds to a classical distribution of independent events, the so-called...

Im Focus: Microprocessors based on a layer of just three atoms

Microprocessors based on atomically thin materials hold the promise of the evolution of traditional processors as well as new applications in the field of flexible electronics. Now, a TU Wien research team led by Thomas Müller has made a breakthrough in this field as part of an ongoing research project.

Two-dimensional materials, or 2D materials for short, are extremely versatile, although – or often more precisely because – they are made up of just one or a...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

Event News

Fighting drug resistant tuberculosis – InfectoGnostics meets MYCO-NET² partners in Peru

28.04.2017 | Event News

Expert meeting “Health Business Connect” will connect international medical technology companies

20.04.2017 | Event News

Wenn der Computer das Gehirn austrickst

18.04.2017 | Event News

 
Latest News

Wireless power can drive tiny electronic devices in the GI tract

28.04.2017 | Medical Engineering

Ice cave in Transylvania yields window into region's past

28.04.2017 | Earth Sciences

Nose2Brain – Better Therapy for Multiple Sclerosis

28.04.2017 | Life Sciences

VideoLinks
B2B-VideoLinks
More VideoLinks >>>