Volume 8

Tainted by Beauty: Perceptions of The Effects of Fashion Magazine Exposure on a Woman’s Self-Esteem

Cady E. Ober and Angela M. Klimowicz

Over the past decade the influence of media on women’s self-esteem and body image has been investigated. Moreover, much of the research has focused on video media and its negative influence. This study investigated college women’s perceptions of the influences of varying types of print media on their body image. Participants included 141 college women who read a scenario portraying a hypothetical woman who varied in weight and type of magazine read. The women then completed measures assessing their perceptions of the scenario female who read fashion magazines, their own self-esteem and body shape satisfaction, and personal dieting and exercising habits. Women perceived the overweight woman as having lower physical self-esteem and lower body satisfaction than the average weight woman. In addition, women perceived overweight peers as having lower self-esteem and body satisfaction regardless of magazine type exposure. An interesting pattern of associations was established among the factors of self-esteem, body shape satisfaction, diet, and exercise. Implications for the impact of magazine viewing on young women’s self perceptions are discussed.

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