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Research Paper - English 102 Research Paper Causes of...

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English 102 Research Paper Causes of Negative Body Image in Men For decades now, society has been quick to showcase the female’s apparent obsession with appearance. Women are commonly perceived as overly self-conscious and even a bit vain, whether it is media or peer induced. Men, on the other hand, have slipped under the radar when it comes to body image. As defined by, body image is the subjective concept of one's physical appearance based on self-observation and the reactions of others. In simpler terms, it is the way we view ourselves physically using our own judgments as well as other people’s feedback. Men, presently, are almost as displeased with their personal appearance as women are. Recent studies are showing bodily dissatisfaction among men within ten percent of women, at about 45 percent (women are at 55 percent) (Baird 115). Most important to these findings, however, is determining their causes. Knowing where these come from may help prevent future damage to young males and could possibly correct certain aspects now. Media, other people in the same age group, the opposite sex, sales of aesthetic merchandise and procedures, and environment play key roles in the shaping of a man’s body image. Reasons for negative male body image are many, but most can be attributed to media focus on perfection. Constantly flooding the covers of magazines and television advertisements are flawless male models complete with body-builder physiques and unblemished complexions. In most cases, these models are also shown as successful characters, suggesting that with perfect looks comes success. Unfortunately, these 1
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projections are not only inaccurate; they are partially to blame for self-destructive behaviors that are associated with unfavorable body image. A study performed in 2004, which was reported in the North American Journal of Psychology by Amy Baird, examined the effects of male models in advertisements on men’s self perception (115). 173 male college students from introductory psychology courses were chosen to participate. Cologne or clothing products were shown to the men, either with or without male models in the pictures. Shortly after, their own opinions of themselves were recorded. The results concluded that the men who viewed male models along with the products showed significantly less satisfaction with themselves then the men who saw only the products being advertised (Baird 115). The reason for this is that there is an “upward comparison” between the person viewing the model and the actual model. As people, we have a tendency to compare our current shape to an ideal one, and as a result feel as if we are lacking. The same goes for other media such as movies and television. When asked about his view of the perfect body type, a participant in one study stated “not Arnold Schwarzenegger built but maybe Jean Claude Van Damme, Vin
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This note was uploaded on 04/27/2008 for the course ENGL 102 taught by Professor Bivona during the Spring '08 term at Arizona.

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Research Paper - English 102 Research Paper Causes of...

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