Monday, November 23, 2009

Muscular Ideal Media Images and Men's Body Image: Social Comparison Processing and Individual Vulnerability

Author: Duane A. Hargreaves and Marika Tiggemann
Source: Psychology of Men and Masculinity 2009, Vol. 10, No. 2, 109-119
  • Background: Body dissatisfaction has been known to impact western women more than men in the past, but it has been increasingly common among western men. this includes eating disorders, obsessive exercise, depression and low self-esteem. Unlike women's obsession with the ideal image of being thin, men are more concern with their muscle size and tone. Within the past few decade, to be increasingly muscular and lean is the ideal image for men, but most media portrayal of these "ideal look" are unrealistic . For both men and women, factors that affect how they evaluate their appearance includes family and peer's opinion and media exposure.
  • Argument: This study sought out to find out if the exposure to televised idealized muscular images would lead to lower body satisfaction, that this effect would be greatest for men low on appearance evaluation and high on appearance investment.
  • Method: This study evaluates the immediate impact of media exposure of men's muscular ideals of TV commercials on men's body satisfaction. Also, this study examines how men evaluate their appearance and how it affects there body image. Lastly, this study manipulate social comparison and measures the resulting amount and direction of comparison of how the exposure of media ideals and men's appearance. This study included 104 male undergraduate students participants that answered three sets of questionnaires on a rating scale involving their opinion of commercial (commercials with muscular men and commercials with product only), and personal appearance evaluation.
  • Results: The results supported the argument. After viewing product commercial that had muscular male models, most men felt less physically attractive. In regards of personal orientation of appearance, men with high appearance orientation were more negatively affected then men that were less appearance oriented. Between the social comparison of men and women, men were not as affected by idealized media images as women.
  • Personal thoughts: I believe that idealized male images are increasingly affecting men around the world. The results from this study supports my opinion that men are affected from media exposure. The media is making men insecure about their body just like it made women insecure about their body. The media promotes these idealized body images by using the same kind of body in different ads and in different industry. To promote sales of products, companies would usually use "good-looking" people to promote their products, in this case men that are muscular or women that are thin. The media makes people think that these people think that muscular men and thin women are idealized because they constantly use these bodies in their ads, making it a cultural norm. I believe that if the media started to use overweight models, and glamorize their bodies, in a few years, overweight will be the new thin. To encourage fashion, the media always focus on the "new look" to sell products. For example, runway models were always more thin than the average person, but as we can see through out the years, the demand for runway models has changed. In the 70's, the male models were definitely lean, but not as muscular as male models today. The focus on more muscle increased through out the years, and male models because much more muscular than the next.

1970 Male Model
2008 Male Model

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