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Effect of Thin vs. Plus-Size Models: A Comparison of Body Image Ideals by Gender
Unformatted Document Text:  Ideal Body Image, 6 woman’s actual body image is different from her own ideal, self-discrepancy theory predicts disappointment and dejection-related emotions of unfulfilled positive potential. On the other hand, if the mismatch is between actual-self and ought-self expectations of others, self-discrepancy predicts agitation-related emotions resulting in guilt, self- contempt, and uneasiness. When self-discrepancy theory was applied to body dissatisfaction and eating disorders, Strauman et al. (1991) found that the actual/ideal discrepancy was related to bulimic symptoms, whereas the actual/ought discrepancy was related to anorexic symptoms. For a more detailed explanation of the relations between self-discrepancy and body dissatisfaction, see Harrison (2001). The failure to stand up to others’ expectations or ideals can be pivotal, especially in life of an adolescent. In this paper we focus on only one aspect of the ideal that is imposed on women, namely the perceptions of ideal body shape imposed at the societal level. It is our contention that social norms could act as strong self-guides in the construction of one’s body ideal. To address this, we examined whether exposure to thin and plus-size fashion models affects individual and social norms of ideal female body image among both men and women. Determining ideal self-concept and self-guides poses a methodological challenge. Strauman et al. (1991) provide a detailed framework to measure the various anchors of the body image self-concepts and self-guide, which has been successfully replicated by Harrison (2001). But for the purposes of our study, we opted for a simple visual estimation of body shape on a scale developed by Stunkard, Sorenson, and Schlusinger (1983), which consists of nine line drawings of different female body shapes that range from thin to obese.

Authors: Prabu, David., Liu, Kaiya. and Cortese, Juliann.
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Ideal Body Image, 6
woman’s actual body image is different from her own ideal, self-discrepancy theory
predicts disappointment and dejection-related emotions of unfulfilled positive potential.
On the other hand, if the mismatch is between actual-self and ought-self expectations of
others, self-discrepancy predicts agitation-related emotions resulting in guilt, self-
contempt, and uneasiness. When self-discrepancy theory was applied to body
dissatisfaction and eating disorders, Strauman et al. (1991) found that the actual/ideal
discrepancy was related to bulimic symptoms, whereas the actual/ought discrepancy was
related to anorexic symptoms. For a more detailed explanation of the relations between
self-discrepancy and body dissatisfaction, see Harrison (2001).
The failure to stand up to others’ expectations or ideals can be pivotal, especially
in life of an adolescent. In this paper we focus on only one aspect of the ideal that is
imposed on women, namely the perceptions of ideal body shape imposed at the societal
level. It is our contention that social norms could act as strong self-guides in the
construction of one’s body ideal. To address this, we examined whether exposure to thin
and plus-size fashion models affects individual and social norms of ideal female body
image among both men and women.
Determining ideal self-concept and self-guides poses a methodological challenge.
Strauman et al. (1991) provide a detailed framework to measure the various anchors of
the body image self-concepts and self-guide, which has been successfully replicated by
Harrison (2001). But for the purposes of our study, we opted for a simple visual
estimation of body shape on a scale developed by Stunkard, Sorenson, and Schlusinger
(1983), which consists of nine line drawings of different female body shapes that range
from thin to obese.


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