The Marketing Of Body Image: A Cross-Cultural Comparison Of Gender Effects In The U.S. And China
Recently, there has been increasing controversy about the use of extremely thin female models and extremely muscular male models in advertising and fashion campaigns. While this practice has been studied extensively over time, it is again in the forefront as models with low body mass indexes are being kept off runways around the world. While most consumers understand that these images are nearly unattainable, they do tend to compare themselves with these idealized images resulting in lower satisfaction with their own bodies and lower self-esteem. While past research most often examines these feelings with respect to women, there is little research on the effect on men and their self-image. Also, while this has primarily been a “western” problem, it is becoming a problem in “eastern” cultures as western images and advertising campaigns proliferate. This study examines both U.S. and Chinese men and women’s perceptions of body image. The findings show cultural differences between the U.S. and Chinese males and females. The U.S. women were the most affected, while there was no difference by gender between the Chinese men and women. However, as the Chinese culture becomes more influenced by western ideals, this trend in body image dissatisfaction should increase.
Parker, R. Stephen, Diana L. Haytko, and Charles M. Hermans. "The marketing of body image: a cross-cultural comparison of gender effects in the US and China." Journal of Business & Economics Research (JBER) 6, no. 5 (2008).