Female “Thin Ideal” Media Images and Boys' Attitudes Toward Girls

Female “Thin Ideal” Media Images and Boys' Attitudes Toward Girls Both boys and girls are exposed repeatedly to “thin-ideal” images in the media, that is, images of unrealistically thin and attractive women. As yet, however, little research has examined the impact of these images on boys. In the present study we investigated the effect of exposure to televised thin-ideal images on boys' attitudes toward girls. The participants were 354 boys aged 13–15 years, who viewed either 20 commercials that epitomized the thin-ideal for women or 20 commercials that contained no such images. They then rated the importance of 10 characteristics, including slimness and physical attractiveness, in their choice of partner or girlfriend. Appearance schematicity, a trait measure of the extent of investment in appearance as the basis for self-evaluation, was also assessed. It was found that schematicity was positively related to boys' importance ratings of attractiveness, slimness, athletic ability, muscularity, and popularity in a girlfriend. Further, boys who scored medium (but not high or low) on appearance schematicity were influenced by the commercials. These findings suggest that the media may have an indirect impact on girls' body image through influence on boys' expectations and evaluations of girls' appearance. http://www.deepdyve.com/assets/images/DeepDyve-Logo-lg.png Sex Roles Springer Journals

Female “Thin Ideal” Media Images and Boys' Attitudes Toward Girls

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Publisher
Kluwer Academic Publishers-Plenum Publishers
Copyright
Copyright © 2003 by Plenum Publishing Corporation
Subject
Psychology; Gender Studies; Sociology, general; Medicine/Public Health, general
ISSN
0360-0025
eISSN
1573-2762
D.O.I.
10.1023/A:1025841008820
Publisher site
See Article on Publisher Site

Abstract

Both boys and girls are exposed repeatedly to “thin-ideal” images in the media, that is, images of unrealistically thin and attractive women. As yet, however, little research has examined the impact of these images on boys. In the present study we investigated the effect of exposure to televised thin-ideal images on boys' attitudes toward girls. The participants were 354 boys aged 13–15 years, who viewed either 20 commercials that epitomized the thin-ideal for women or 20 commercials that contained no such images. They then rated the importance of 10 characteristics, including slimness and physical attractiveness, in their choice of partner or girlfriend. Appearance schematicity, a trait measure of the extent of investment in appearance as the basis for self-evaluation, was also assessed. It was found that schematicity was positively related to boys' importance ratings of attractiveness, slimness, athletic ability, muscularity, and popularity in a girlfriend. Further, boys who scored medium (but not high or low) on appearance schematicity were influenced by the commercials. These findings suggest that the media may have an indirect impact on girls' body image through influence on boys' expectations and evaluations of girls' appearance.

Journal

Sex RolesSpringer Journals

Published: Sep 28, 2004

References

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