Real women on real beauty: Self-discrepancy, internalization of the thin ideal, and perceptions of attractiveness and thinness in Dove's Campaign for Real Beauty

This experiment tested the effectiveness of manipulated images of a Dove model, of varying shapes and sizes, to assess how or if exposure to an average or plus-size model would decrease women’s short-term internalisation of body image ideals.

Real women on real beauty: self-discrepancy, internalization of the thin ideal, and perceptions of attractiveness and thinness in Dove's Campaign for Real Beauty

Kimberly Bissell

University of Alabama

Amy Rask

Media Research Lab

Introduction

Research in the area of body image distortion suggests the media are one of many potential variables related to increases in disordered eating, especially in college and adolescent female women. The media are often held partially responsible for youn. 1980; Gagnard 1986; Silverstein . 1986; Andersen & DiDomenico 1992; Wiseman . 1992; Nemeroff . 1994; Cash & Henry 1995; Spitzer 1999; Owen & Laurel-Seller 2000) have found that the body shape standard for women has become increasingly thinner over the decades, while other studies (see Bowen & Schmid 1997; Schooler . 2004) have documented a lack of diversity in terms of the female body shape most prevalent in multiple media forms.