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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, 9 social norm. Women and men look to the media and popular culture for folk heroes, who could be considered an influential minority. Hence the standards set by thin fashion models and muscular sports stars are assimilated into the culture, which eventually manifests as social norms. The other explanations are tied to self-categorization, social identity and social comparison (Hogg, 2000). By these accounts, the difference between the perceived self and group ideals is an effort to maintain group identity. For example, when women overestimate men’s preference for thinness, it simply might be a reaction against the traditional male domination and the unrealistic expectations imposed upon them. In summary, it appears that social judgment of body image is a complex process that is possibly influenced by various psychological mechanisms. But the power of social norms cannot be underestimated. After all, this is the social marker against which social comparisons are made. Therefore, in this study we tried to replicate the Rozin and Fallon (1988) study to check for shifts in body image norms that might have occurred in the last decade. Further, our goal was to examine if the effect of thin and plus-size models operates on perceptions of social norms as it does on self-norms of the ideal female body image. Review of Relevant Studies and Research Questions In this section, we review a few key studies that are most relevant to the theoretical framework of this paper and the dependent variable, namely visual estimation of female body shape. Also, to situate the proposed study within the communication literature, some of the recent studies in communication that focus on media and body image are examined.

Authors: Prabu, David., Liu, Kaiya. and Cortese, Juliann.
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Ideal Body Image, 9
social norm. Women and men look to the media and popular culture for folk heroes, who
could be considered an influential minority. Hence the standards set by thin fashion
models and muscular sports stars are assimilated into the culture, which eventually
manifests as social norms. The other explanations are tied to self-categorization, social
identity and social comparison (Hogg, 2000). By these accounts, the difference between
the perceived self and group ideals is an effort to maintain group identity. For example,
when women overestimate men’s preference for thinness, it simply might be a reaction
against the traditional male domination and the unrealistic expectations imposed upon
them.
In summary, it appears that social judgment of body image is a complex process
that is possibly influenced by various psychological mechanisms. But the power of social
norms cannot be underestimated. After all, this is the social marker against which social
comparisons are made. Therefore, in this study we tried to replicate the Rozin and Fallon
(1988) study to check for shifts in body image norms that might have occurred in the last
decade. Further, our goal was to examine if the effect of thin and plus-size models
operates on perceptions of social norms as it does on self-norms of the ideal female body
image.
Review of Relevant Studies and Research Questions
In this section, we review a few key studies that are most relevant to the
theoretical framework of this paper and the dependent variable, namely visual estimation
of female body shape. Also, to situate the proposed study within the communication
literature, some of the recent studies in communication that focus on media and body
image are examined.


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