The Role of Image Body Size, Race, and Familiarity on Subsequent Evaluations of the Self


  • Temple Northup University of Houston



Past research examining the content of media programming has shown women in the media tend to conform to certain beauty and body standards, with the dominant standard being one of “thinness.” Because this thin ideal is so well-documented, there has been an interest in examining the effects of those portrayals on media consumers. Previous research has demonstrated the media can play an important role in causing body dissatisfaction among women. This research builds upon prior studies by conducting an experiment exploring the interaction among image familiarity (the image was of a female celebrity or unknown model), body size (the female was thin or overweight), and race (the female was White or Black) and how those three items could affect participant body satisfaction. Unlike most prior research, the sample was diverse, allowing analysis examining any differences related to participant gender or race. Results suggest there were, indeed, different psychological effects based upon the size, familiarity, and race of the female image viewed, and the effects differed by race. Unlike previous research, there were no differences between genders. Implications from these results are discussed.


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