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Impact of Skinny Models on Eating Disorders and Women’s Purchasing Behaviour

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Essay title: Impact of Skinny Models on Eating Disorders and Women’s Purchasing Behaviour

The Impact of skinny models on Eating Disorders and Women’s Purchasing Behaviour

Literature Review

The literature review focuses on literature regarding the links between the use of skinny models in advertising, the purchase decision, women’s feelings of self worth, dissatisfaction with their own body and eating disorders.

Models and the Ideal Body Shape

Research in an article by Fay and Price (entitled “Female Body-shape in Advertisements”) found that the body shape of contemporary models in advertisements has reduced since the 1950s. Over the past 15 years the media had represented a very thin body, which was found to be clinically underweight.

They point out that “The particular set of physical characteristics perceived as beautiful and desirable is a social construct that can vary dramatically across cultures and across time within a culture.”

In the journal “in pursuit of identity” reference from Gordon 2000 states “the proliferation of photographic and electronic media images of thin and in most cases emaciated looking women has in the last decade been and increasingly powerful factor in promoting contemporary body ideals to the female audience”

Impact on Advertising Effectiveness

Research by Sharron J. Lennon (physical Attractiveness, Age And Body type) recorded sixty college aged students responses to photos of female models who varied in body type and found that the thinner models were seen as more attractive than heavier models.

Dittmar & Howard 2004 cite (Kathle & Holmer, 1985) who found that the physical attractiveness of a model in an advertisement “increases consumer’s positive attitude toward the product and their willingness to purchase”

Dittmar & Howard in their journal investigating the impact of model’s body size in advertising effectiveness make the point that social comparison theory suggests that exposure to idealised images leads consumers to compare themselves with models often leading to discontent. Advertising then provides the remedy as it attempts to associate the “purchase of the goods with the consumer becoming more like the idealised image”.

(Clayton, Lennon & Larkin, 1987) examined the effects of age and body type or the wearer of garments and the fashion detail of the garment on perceived fashionablity, using 90 college aged female respondents, the results indicated that age and body type did influence judgements of garment

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