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Effects of Ideal Body Images--Translatable Across Gender and Culture?
Unformatted Document Text:  8 invade the Chinese screens and magazine pages, fueled by people’s increasing desire for a better look and for better cosmetic products. As Chinese people are facing an increasing number of beautiful models in their daily life, the effects of these beauties on their body image and self-esteem are an interesting topic to investigate. Another aspect peculiar to the Chinese case is that there is a huge difference between urban areas and rural areas, both in terms of material possession and mentality of the residents. The urban areas are more modernized with reportedly higher income. People are generally more open to new concepts and ideas, while most rural areas are still undeveloped with lower incomes. People are more tradition oriented. According to the Bureau of Statistics of People’s Republic of China (2002), the income difference between urban area and rural area was almost six to one 3 . It would be interesting, therefore, to see whether place of origin is also an intervening factor regarding the social effects of exposure to ideal body images in advertisements. Based on the literature reviewed, several hypotheses and research questions would be examined in this study. First of all, because contrast effects of upward comparison with ideal models have been consistently reported in previous research conducted in the United States, we are interested whether the same effects would occur in the Chinese context. The most obvious contrast effects of this kind of comparison were viewers’ lowered self-evaluation of body images and consequently lowered self-esteem. In addition, as mentioned above, we are interested in the effects of cross-sex comparison as well as same sex comparison, so we would investigate the effects of ideal model images on male and female viewers separately. Therefore, our hypotheses are:

Authors: Xue, Fei., Zhou, Shuhua. and Zhou, Peiqin.
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8
invade the Chinese screens and magazine pages, fueled by people’s increasing desire for
a better look and for better cosmetic products. As Chinese people are facing an increasing
number of beautiful models in their daily life, the effects of these beauties on their body
image and self-esteem are an interesting topic to investigate.
Another aspect peculiar to the Chinese case is that there is a huge difference
between urban areas and rural areas, both in terms of material possession and mentality
of the residents. The urban areas are more modernized with reportedly higher income.
People are generally more open to new concepts and ideas, while most rural areas are still
undeveloped with lower incomes. People are more tradition oriented. According to the
Bureau of Statistics of People’s Republic of China (2002), the income difference between
urban area and rural area was almost six to one
3
. It would be interesting, therefore, to see
whether place of origin is also an intervening factor regarding the social effects of
exposure to ideal body images in advertisements.
Based on the literature reviewed, several hypotheses and research questions
would be examined in this study. First of all, because contrast effects of upward
comparison with ideal models have been consistently reported in previous research
conducted in the United States, we are interested whether the same effects would occur in
the Chinese context. The most obvious contrast effects of this kind of comparison were
viewers’ lowered self-evaluation of body images and consequently lowered self-esteem.
In addition, as mentioned above, we are interested in the effects of cross-sex comparison
as well as same sex comparison, so we would investigate the effects of ideal model
images on male and female viewers separately. Therefore, our hypotheses are:


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