Influence Of Body Image

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The following chapter provides a brief background and insight discussing and describing the influence of the somatology and related industries’ media regarding the way women perceive their body image. This, from here on will be referred to as “the media”. The aims, objectives, and purpose of the study and research design will also be outlined. The study investigates whether the media influences the way South African (SA) women perceive their own body image.


In a world of advertising, companies use images they believe will market their products successfully. The globalisation of the media has also paved the way for print and television advertisements
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This helps to support the perception of the body as being plastic and malleable. The view of a malleable body, along with the pressure to meet the social standards of attractiveness, has been found to create an obsession with appearance management (Ku, Lee & Choo, 2011:92). Not only can appearance be altered by way of weight, fitness, hair or eye colour but new techniques interalia cosmetic/aesthetic procedures, cosmetic surgery and plastic surgery are also performed on parts of the body with the purpose of improving a person’s appearance and/or diminishing signs of aging. This has led women to believe that by transforming themselves and “upgrading” their bodies to a more youthful slender appearance they will be abundantly supplied with positive possibilities like happiness, success, and social acceptability (Featherstone,…show more content…
1.3.2 Perception

Perception is the organisation, identification, and interpretation of information in order to represent and understand the environment (Moskowitz, 2005). Perception is not the passive receipt of these signals, but is shaped by learning, memory, expectation, and attention (Moskowitz, 2005). For the purpose of this study perception will be defined as the process of how one analyses and process visual information.

1.3.3 Body Image

Cash (2002:362) defines body image as a multi-faceted concept that refers to a person’s perception and attitudes of their own body, particularly but not exclusively its appearance. For the purpose of this study body image will be defined as: a person's thoughts and beliefs (cognitive), perception (perceptual), attitude (behavioural) and feelings about their own physical appearance (affective), usually in relation to the media, other women or in relation to their sociocultural beauty "ideal". It is an individual's concept of his or her own body (Viviani, F., Dionisio, E., Biague, F. Bagnol, F., Zecchinato, C. & Scarcella,
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