ERIC Number: ED257109
Record Type: RIE
Publication Date: 1985-Aug
Reference Count: 0
Media Images and Ideal Body Shapes: A Perspective on Women with Emphasis on Anorexics.
Smith, Linda Lazier
A study was conducted to determine whether the images of "standard" or "acceptable" thinness that women suffering from eating disorders strive to achieve come primarily from advertising. A questionnaire was administered to 19 college women in counseling for anorexia, a control group of 29 college women, and to 30 high school women. The questionnaire was designed to elicit attitudes on physical attractiveness, awareness of an "ideal" body shape, and media influence in promoting that ideal body shape. An experiment on model selection using print advertisement photographs of women was conducted at the end of the questionnaire, in which subjects rated the success of the models in the photographs. Significant findings fell into expected patterns: the anorexic subjects were less happy with their shapes and more influenced by an "ideal body shape." Surprisingly, though, they did not judge others by body shape standards as much as was expected. There was strong agreement that an "ideal body shape" exists in American society to which women are expected to conform. The anorexics were found to be significantly more media conscious and more influenced by the media on body images than the other two groups. The influence of television programs and movies was stronger for high school students than for the college control or anorexic groups. (The questionnaire and other materials used in the study are appended). (HTH)
Publication Type: Reports - Research; Speeches/Meeting Papers
Education Level: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A
Note: Paper presented at the Annual Meeting of the Association for Education in Journalism and Mass Communication (68th, Memphis, TN, August 3-6, 1985). Photographs may be marginally legible.