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Body Images and Portrayals

  • By: Dara Greenwood
  • In: Encyclopedia of Health Communication
  • Edited by: Teresa L. Thompson
  • Subject:Public Health Education & Health Promotion, Health Psychology, Health Communication

The research literature on media portrayals of beauty and how individuals feel and think about their own bodies is both vast and complicated. Initial assumptions that body image concerns were the exclusive province of heterosexual white women have given way to more careful considerations of groups previously thought to be immune to “mainstream” appearance norms such as women of color, men, and lesbians. Researchers have also broadened their focus with regard to content, studying body portrayals and impact across multiple media genres, from magazines to music videos to video games. In general, findings suggest that both habitual and experimental exposure to idealized media images are associated with increased levels of body concerns and dissatisfaction. However, as with many other models of media effects, there are ...

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