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Effects of Ideal Body Images--Translatable Across Gender and Culture?
Unformatted Document Text:  5 decades, beautiful models and muscular males bombarded the airwaves. It is necessary to investigate the effects of these images on both female and male audiences. As far as we know, this kind of cross-sex influence has received little attention by social comparison theorists. Gulas and McKeage’s study (2000) is one of the few studies examining the cross-sex effects. In their study, male participants were exposed to financially successful female models presented by ads. Results showed that male participants’ self-esteem was lowered in the cross-sex comparison. The present study also will examine how participants response to physically attractive models of the other sex. Contrast Effects of Ideal Models There are two types of comparison effects regarding upward social comparison. One is assimilation effect, which refers to positive self-evaluation in upward comparison. The logic to explain the assimilation effect lies in the assumption that if comparers view themselves as one part of the group to which comparison target belongs, then they may internalize the success of the comparison target. The other kind of effects is the contrast effect. That is, individuals express negative self-evaluation about themselves after exposure to superior others because of the perceived comparison discrepancy. Most research in body image has reported the contrast effects. A substantial body of research in body image has focused on thinness of models presented by mass media. There is a well documented positive relationship between thin- ideal media exposure and eating disorders (Harrison, 2000; Kowner & Ogawa, 1993; Bissell & Zhou, 2002). Although many people are gaining weight in the past several decades, the models presented by mass media are getting thinner and thinner (Silverstein

Authors: Xue, Fei., Zhou, Shuhua. and Zhou, Peiqin.
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5
decades, beautiful models and muscular males bombarded the airwaves. It is necessary to
investigate the effects of these images on both female and male audiences. As far as we
know, this kind of cross-sex influence has received little attention by social comparison
theorists. Gulas and McKeage’s study (2000) is one of the few studies examining the
cross-sex effects. In their study, male participants were exposed to financially successful
female models presented by ads. Results showed that male participants’ self-esteem was
lowered in the cross-sex comparison. The present study also will examine how
participants response to physically attractive models of the other sex.
Contrast Effects of Ideal Models
There are two types of comparison effects regarding upward social comparison.
One is assimilation effect, which refers to positive self-evaluation in upward comparison.
The logic to explain the assimilation effect lies in the assumption that if comparers view
themselves as one part of the group to which comparison target belongs, then they may
internalize the success of the comparison target. The other kind of effects is the contrast
effect. That is, individuals express negative self-evaluation about themselves after
exposure to superior others because of the perceived comparison discrepancy. Most
research in body image has reported the contrast effects.
A substantial body of research in body image has focused on thinness of models
presented by mass media. There is a well documented positive relationship between thin-
ideal media exposure and eating disorders (Harrison, 2000; Kowner & Ogawa, 1993;
Bissell & Zhou, 2002). Although many people are gaining weight in the past several
decades, the models presented by mass media are getting thinner and thinner (Silverstein


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