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					Body Image and
Consumer Behavior

By
Dr. Kevin Lance Jones
Body Image
   Body Image refers to a consumer’s subjective
    evaluation of his or her physical self.

   Body image may not be accurate.

   Marketing strategies exploit consumer’s
    tendencies to distort their body images by
    preying on insecurities and appearance.
Body Cathexis
   Body Cathexis means a person’s feelings
    about his or her body.

   Cathexis refers to the emotional significance
    of some object or idea to a person, and some
    parts of the body are more central to self-
    concept than are others.
Ideals of Beauty
   An Ideal of beauty is a particular model, or
    exemplar, of appearance.

   Ideals of beauty for both men and women
    may include physical features as well as
    clothing styles, cosmetics, hairstyles, skin
    tone, and body type.
Is Beauty Universal?
   Yes, some preferences for specific physical features
    may be “wired- in” genetically, and these reactions
    tend to be the same among people around the world.
       Good health
       Youth
       Attributes linked to reproductive ability and
        strength
       Balanced features
Is Beauty Universal?
   Consumers compare themselves to some
    standards (advocated by fashion media) and
    they are dissatisfied with their appearance to
    the extent that they don’t match up to it.

   This lowers self-esteem and diminishes
    effectiveness of an ad because of negative
    feelings aroused by a highly attractive model.
The Western Ideal

   Beauty is more than aesthetics – cues such as
    skin color and eye shape make inferences
    about a person’s status, sophistication, and
    social desirability.
Ideals Of Beauty Over Time
    1800’s – Fashionable to appear delicate to the
     point of looking ill.
    1890’s – Voluptuous, lusty women
    1920’s – boyish flapper
    During economic hardships, people preferred
     actresses with mature features including small
     eyes, thin cheeks, and a large chin.
    During good economic times, the public
     embraced women with babyish features such as
     large eyes and full cheeks.
Ideals Of Beauty Over Time
   19th Century – the desirable waistline for American
    women was in 18 inches.

   Today, many still endure high heels, body waxing,
    eyelifts and liposuction.

   1990’s – saw the emergence of controversial “waif”
    look in which successful models were likely to have
    bodies resembling young boys.
Ideals Of Beauty Over Time
   The strong dominant standard of beauty for
    men is a strongly masculine, muscled body –
    women prefer less muscle than men.

   Advertiser appear to have the male’s ideal in
    mind – sporting the strong and muscular
    physique of the male stereotype.
Working on the Body
   Consumers are motivated to match some ideal
    of appearance so many go to great links to
    change aspects of their physical selves.

       Cosmetic and plastic surgery
       Tanning salons
       Diets
Fattism
   As consumers we are bombarded by images of thin happy
    people.
   The question is how realistic is our appearance standards?
        Barbie’s original dimensions 38-18-34, After plastic
          surgery she has a smaller breast, wider hips and a
          belly button for the first time.
          GI Joe: 5 feet 10 inches tall would have a 32 inch
           waist, 44 inch chest, and 12 inch biceps
          Batman: 30 inch waist, 57 inch chest and 27 inch
           biceps – Holy Steroids Robin!
Body Image Distortions -Women
   Most major body distortions occur among
    women

   Distorted body images are linked to eating
    disorders
       Anorexia – people perceive themselves as to fat.
       Bulimia – binge and purge
Body Image Distortions -Men
   Body Dysmorphic Disorder is an obsession
    with flaws in appearance. Main symptom
    involves excessive checking of mirror.

       Male eating disorders are common among jocks,
        boxers, and other athletes who must conform to a
        weight requirement
Cosmetic Surgery
   Consumers are increasingly electing to have
    cosmetic surgery to change a poor body
    image or simply enhance appearance.

       Japan – belly button reconstruction
       Men-face lifts, brow lifts, silicon pectoral
        implants and calf implants
       Women – virtually any part of the body is fair
        game
Breast Augmentation
   Our culture rends to equate breast size with sex
    appeal (What was wrong with Pam Anderson when
    she first came to the USA?).

   One research firm found that small chested women
    react negatively to discussing the subject of bras. (A-
    OK line created).

   Popularity of push-up bras to create the image of
    enhanced cleavage.
Body Decoration and Mutilation
    The body is usually adorned or altered in
     some way in every culture. Decorating
     yourself serves a number of purposes:

    1.   To separate group members from non group
         members

    2.   To place an individual in the social organization.
Body Decoration and Mutilation

3.   To place the person in a gender category.
4.   To enhance sex role identification.
5.   To indicate desired social conduct.
6.   To indicate high status or rank.
7.   To provide a sense of security
Tattoos
   Both temporary and permanent tattoos are popular
    body adornment.

   Body art makes a statement about the self, and these
    skin designs serve some of the same functions that
    other kinds of body painting do in primitive cultures.

   Tattoos are deeply rooted in folk art.
Tattoos
   Previously tattoos were crude images of death,
    animals, pinup women or military designs.
   Now, science fiction themes, Japanese symbolism,
    and tribal designs.
   Tattoos have a long-history of association of people
    who are social outcast.

   What do you think of tattoos?
Body Piercing
   Body piercing is decorating the body with various
    kinds of metallic inserts has now become a popular
    fashion statement.

       Navel
       Ears
       Eyebrows
       Skull
       Chin
       Nose
       Personal body parts

				
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posted:4/15/2010
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