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Effects of Ideal Body Images--Translatable Across Gender and Culture?
Unformatted Document Text:  2 images in advertisements have negative influences on viewers’ body images and self- esteem, and whether male and female viewers react differently in this process. We are also interested in some other individual and culture-specific factors that may have influence on viewers’ self-perception, such as geographic origin. Literature Review and Hypotheses Upward Comparison with Ideal Models The stereotype of “what is beautiful is good” has been confirmed in advertising study. It is reported that highly attractive persons are perceived more trustworthy, effective and knowledgeable in ads (McGuire, 1969; Ohanian, 1990). Bower and Landreth (2001) designed a study to find empirical advantage for normally attractive models compared to highly attractive models. Although they indicated that normally attractive models are as effective as highly attractive models for problem-solving products (e.g., acne-concealer), they did find that highly attractive models are more effective than normally attractive models for enhancing products (e.g., lipstick). Based on the assumed advantage of beauty, mass media are full of uncommonly attractive models, which represented only a tiny portion of the general population. Some critics argue that those idealized models presented in mass media cause unintended social consequences in which people were dissatisfied with currently what they had compared to the ideal models in advertisements (Pollay, 1986; Richins, 1991; Harrison, 2000). One of the perspectives that can be employed to explain the effects of ideal models is the social comparison theory (Festinger, 1954). The main components of the

Authors: Xue, Fei., Zhou, Shuhua. and Zhou, Peiqin.
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images in advertisements have negative influences on viewers’ body images and self-
esteem, and whether male and female viewers react differently in this process. We are
also interested in some other individual and culture-specific factors that may have
influence on viewers’ self-perception, such as geographic origin.
Literature Review and Hypotheses
Upward Comparison with Ideal Models
The stereotype of “what is beautiful is good” has been confirmed in advertising
study. It is reported that highly attractive persons are perceived more trustworthy,
effective and knowledgeable in ads (McGuire, 1969; Ohanian, 1990). Bower and
Landreth (2001) designed a study to find empirical advantage for normally attractive
models compared to highly attractive models. Although they indicated that normally
attractive models are as effective as highly attractive models for problem-solving
products (e.g., acne-concealer), they did find that highly attractive models are more
effective than normally attractive models for enhancing products (e.g., lipstick). Based on
the assumed advantage of beauty, mass media are full of uncommonly attractive models,
which represented only a tiny portion of the general population. Some critics argue that
those idealized models presented in mass media cause unintended social consequences in
which people were dissatisfied with currently what they had compared to the ideal
models in advertisements (Pollay, 1986; Richins, 1991; Harrison, 2000).
One of the perspectives that can be employed to explain the effects of ideal
models is the social comparison theory (Festinger, 1954). The main components of the


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