You Should Be Reading: Fashion and Body Image

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This week, Worn Through would like to highlight a subject that receives a lot of attention in the media: fashion and body image. The question of fashion’s role in shaping young people’s body images has been hotly debated for the past several decades and especially in the last ten years. Is fashion’s preference for a tall, thin body type at least partly responsible for the booming diet, weight-loss, and cosmetic surgery industries? Does fashion advertising have different effects on a girl or woman based on her preexisting weight, friend group, and skin color? How does one measure the effect of fashion on body image? These questions are only a few of those explored in the following three recently published articles, which examine various aspects of the fashion + body image issue. We hope you enjoy!

1. Kashubeck-West, S., Coker, A. D., Awad, G. H., Stinson, R. D., Bledman, R., & Mintz, L. (2013). Do measures commonly used in body image research perform adequately with African American college women? Cultural Diversity and Ethnic Minority Psychology, 19(3), 357-368.

This study examines reliability and validity estimates for 3 widely used measures in body image research in a sample of African American college women (N = 278). Internal consistency estimates were adequate (α coefficients above .70) for all measures, and evidence of convergent and discriminant validity was found. Confirmatory factor analyses failed to replicate the hypothesized factor structures of these measures. Exploratory factor analyses indicated that 4 factors found for the Sociocultural Attitudes Toward Appearance Questionnaire were similar to the hypothesized subscales, with fewer items. The factors found for the Multidimensional Body-Self Relations Questionnaire–Appearance Scales and the Body Dissatisfaction subscale of the Eating Disorders Inventory–3 were not similar to the subscales developed by the scale authors. Validity and reliability evidence is discussed for the new factors. — Full Article Abstract

2. Lunde, C. (2013). Acceptance of cosmetic surgery, body appreciation, body ideal internalization, and fashion blog reading among late adolescents in SwedenBody Image, 10(4), 632-635.

This study examined adolescents’ attitudes of cosmetic surgery, as well as the relationships between these attitudes, body appreciation, body ideal internalization, and fashion blog reading. The sample comprised 110 (60 boys, 50 girls) late adolescents (mean age 16.9 years) from a Swedish high school. The results indicated that younger adolescents seem somewhat more accepting of cosmetic surgery. This was especially the case for boys’ acceptance of social motives for obtaining cosmetic surgery (boys’ M = 2.3 ± 1.55 vs. girls’M = 1.7 ± 0.89). Girls’, and to a limited extent boys’, internalization of the thin ideal was related to more favorable cosmetic surgery attitudes. Athletic ideal internalization and body appreciation were unrelated to these attitudes. Finally, girls who frequently read fashion blogs reported higher thin ideal internalization, and also demonstrated a slight tendency of more cosmetic surgery consideration. — Full Article Abstract

3. Seock, Y.-K., & Merritt, L. R. (2013). Influence of Body Mass Index, perceived media pressure, and peer criticism/teasing on adolescent girls’ body satisfaction/dissatisfaction and clothing-related behaviors. Clothing & Textiles Research Journal, 31(4), 244-258.

The present study investigated the relative importance of Body Mass Index (BMI), perceived media pressure, and peer criticism/teasing for body satisfaction/dissatisfaction of female adolescents and their clothing-related behaviors. This study also examined the influence of body satisfaction/dissatisfaction on clothing-related behaviors. Data were collected from a convenience sample of 320 high school girls living in a southeastern part of the United States. The data analysis consisted of exploratory factor analysis, hierarchical regression analysis, and bivariate and multiple regression analyses. When examining the relative importance of the three variables on adolescent girls’ body satisfaction, BMI was found to be the least important factor. When entered into the regression equation alone, BMI was found to be a significant determinant of body satisfaction/dissatisfaction. However, when it was entered into the regression equation with perceived media pressure and peer criticism/teasing, BMI was not a significant factor. The results showed that perceived media pressure and peer criticism/teasing have significant negative influences on adolescent girls’ body satisfaction. The results further indicated that perceived pressure from media affects both self-enhancing and body-concealing clothing-related behaviors. The results also revealed that peer criticism/teasing is a critical determinant of Body-Concealing Behavior. BMI, however, do not demonstrate significant influence on either self-enhancing or body-concealing behaviors. A significant positive relationship was found between body satisfaction and self-enhancing behaviors, whereas a significant negative relationship was found between body satisfaction and body-concealing behaviors. — Full Article Abstract


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