I would like to continue the discussion taken part in my previous post, where I mostly presented my vision of the problem. Today I’m going to give some information about airbrushing and then turn to some research findings on the ‘ideal body’ issue.
According to the Advertising Association,
76% of women want to see images that are natural,
84% believe that is not acceptable to edit the way models look at adverts and
48% are less likely to trust campaigns where airbrushing is used.
Have a look at this clip on airbrushing and specifically banned Lancom campaign:
You can find more extra information on this banned campaign in BBC website by following this link:
Now I want to concentrate on the ‘ideal body’ problem.
The images of glamorous slender girls we are exposed to every day affect our cognitive system are make changes in our body-schema. With regard to research conducted by Legenbauer et al. (2008), participants with eating disorders (ED) evaluated themselves as much heavier than participants from the control group, even though the BMI did not differ between those groups. What is more, after watching adverts showing female appearance the ED group’s chosen ideal got thinner and significantly underweight. It was also proved that commercials containing ‘ideal’ pictures trigger not only distortion of body schema and self-dissatisfaction, but also ‘self-destructive’ behaviour, leading, for example, to eating disorders (Legenbauer et al., 2008).
There is an interesting approach named ‘third person effect'(TPE) consisting in that women’s idea of what is ‘ideal’ body is influenced by their beliefs how men are affected by media representation of female beauty. This concept put attention on ‘perceived media effects on others relative to self’ (Choi et al., 2008, 148 p.). The idea of this concept: 1) we think other people are more influenced by mass media than we are; 2) this belief leads to behavioural outcome (Choi et al., 2008). It was shown that the women’s prototype of attractive female figure is thinner than men’s actual preference (Fallon & Rozin, 1985; Demarest & Allen, 2000; cited by Choi et al., 2008).
The body dissatisfaction in many cases leads to depression. There are some findings showing the bind between depression and eating disorders. According to McCarthy:
‘ (1) depression is more prevalent in women than in men; the female to male ratio is
typically reported as 2 : 1 (Nolen-Hoeksema, 1987);
(2) this sex ratio first appears at puberty; before
puberty depression is twice as common in boys, after puberty it is twice as common in girls (Rutter
et al., 1986);
(3) this sex ratio is only reported in western societies; it is not reported in rural,
non-modern societies (Nolen-Hoeksema, 1987);
(4) the rate of depression has been increasing,
especially among young females (Klerman, 1988);
(5) the age of onset for depression is younger
in the present generation than for older generations (Klerman, 1988).
Four of these trends are parallel to trends in eating disorders:
(1) the majority (95%) of eating
disorder patients are female (DSM III R, 1987);
(2) eating disorders emerge at puberty (DSM III
(3) eating disorders are present in western countries and absent in non-western countries
(Garner and Garfinkel, 1980);
(4) the incidence of eating disorders has risen over the past 20 yr
(Silverstein et al., 1986)’ (McCarthy, 1990, p. 205).
So there is some reason to think about it in a more serious way. While the media representation of beaty is not going to be change, we face such severe problems…
To be continued…