The Role of the Media

Barrie Gunter

in Oxford Handbook of the Psychology of Appearance

Published in print May 2012 | ISBN: 9780199580521
Published online December 2012 | | DOI:
The Role of the Media

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Concerns about physical appearance can occur among any age group but are especially prevalent among adolescent girls and young women when they experience puberty and find their identity in early adulthood. In addition, individuals with visible differences may experience appearance-related insecurities and suffer social stigmatization. This article focuses on both of these appearance-related phenomena in relation to the role that the mass media play in shaping ‘self’ and ‘other’ perceptions and behaviours. It reviews key theories that have been proposed to explain how the media might influence appearance concerns among consumers, followed by a consideration of the quality of the evidence relating to the extent and consequences of this influence. Finally, the article considers how positive change might be achieved in the media's representation of, and role in shaping, appearance and beauty ideals.

Keywords: appearance psychology; mass media; self; other; beauty

Article.  5329 words. 

Subjects: Psychology ; Social Psychology ; Clinical Psychology

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