Television Consumption Drives Perceptions of Female Body Attractiveness in a Population Undergoing Technological Transition

Boothroyd, L.G. and Jucker, J.-L. and Thornborrow, Tracey and Barton, R. and Burt, D.M. and Evans, E.H. and Jamieson, M. and Tovee, Martin (2020) Television Consumption Drives Perceptions of Female Body Attractiveness in a Population Undergoing Technological Transition. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology: Interpersonal Relations and Group Processes. . ISSN 0022-3514

Documents
Television Consumption Drives Perceptions of Female Body Attractiveness in a Population Undergoing Technological Transition
Accepted Manuscript
[img]
[Download]
[img] PDF
Boothroyd_Jucker_JPSP_ACCEPTED_VERSION.pdf - Whole Document

712kB
Item Type:Article
Item Status:Live Archive

Abstract

Perceptions of physical attractiveness vary across cultural groups, particularly for female body size and shape. It
has been hypothesised that visual media propagates Western ‘thin ideals’. However, because cross-cultural
studies typically consider groups highly differentiated on a number of factors, identifying the causal factors has
thus far been impossible. In the present research, we conducted ‘naturalistic’ and controlled experiments to test
the influence of media access on female body ideals in a remote region of Nicaragua by sampling from villages
with and without regular television access. We found that greater television consumption remained a significant
predictor of preferences for slimmer, curvier female figures after controlling for a range of other factors in an
ethnically balanced sample of 299 individuals (150 female, aged 15-79) across 7 villages. Within-individual
analyses in one village over 3 years also showed an association between increased TV consumption and
preferences for slimmer figures amongst some participants. Finally, an experimental study in two low-media
locations demonstrates that exposure to media images of fashion models can directly impact participants’ body
size ideals. We thus provide the first converging cross-sectional, longitudinal and experimental evidence from
field-based research, that media exposure can drive changes in perceptions of female attractiveness.

Keywords:attractiveness; BMI; waist-hip ratio; Miskitu; Mestizo; Garifuna; Creole; body ideals; media; thin ideal; television; Nicaragua
Subjects:C Biological Sciences > C830 Experimental Psychology
C Biological Sciences > C880 Social Psychology
Divisions:College of Social Science > School of Psychology
ID Code:38074
Deposited On:04 Nov 2019 10:47

Repository Staff Only: item control page