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the self..identity


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CHAPTER OBJECTIVES When students finish this chapter they should understand why: The self-concept is strongly influences consumer behavior. Products often play a pivotal role in defining the self-concept. Sex-role identity is different than gender, and society’s expectations of masculinity and femininity help to determine the products we buy to be consistent with these expectations. The way we think about our bodies (and the way our culture tells us we should think) is a key component of self-esteem. Our desire to live up to the cultural expectations of appearance can be harmful. Every culture dictates certain types of body decoration or mulitlation that help to identify its members. CHAPTER SUMMARY The self-concept refers to the beliefs a person holds about his or her attributes and how he or she evaluates these qualities. In other words, consumers’ self-concepts are reflections of their attitudes toward themselves. Whether these attitudes are positive or negative, they will help to guide many purchase decisions—products can be used to bolster self-esteem or to “reward” the self. Self-esteem refers to the positivity of a person’s self-concept. Marketing communications can influence a consumer’s level of self-esteem. Self-esteem is influenced by a process where the consumer compares his or her actual standing on some attribute to some ideal. In a way, each of us really has a number of different “selves” encased in our personality. Marketers must identify these “selves” and direct their efforts toward them. 130 THE SELF C H A P T E R 5
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Section 2: Consumers as Individuals It has been said that “you are what you consume.” The chapter explores the meaning of that phrase and points out links between consumption and the self-concept. In a modern sense, the self has been extended through a variety of props and settings to define a consumer’s social role in society and within their own sphere. A person’s sex-role identity is a major component of self-definition or self-concept. Conceptions about masculinity and femininity, largely shaped by society, guide the acquisition of “sex-typed” products and services. Advertising and other media play an important role in socializing consumers to be male and female. Although traditional women’s roles have often been perpetuated in advertising depictions, this situation is changing somewhat. Gender goals and expectations are different now than they were even 10 years ago. Segmenting by gender and sex role is examined in a new light. Alternative lifestyles have been factored into the gender equation. A person’s conception of his or her body also provides feedback to self-image. A culture communicates certain ideals of beauty, and consumers go to great lengths to attain these. Many consumer activities involve manipulating the body, whether through dieting, cosmetic surgery, tattooing, or even mutilation. Sometimes these activities are carried to an extreme, as people try too hard to live up to cultural ideals. One example is found in eating disorders, where women in
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