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Title: The It Girl: An Unattainable Picture of Perfection. An Examination of Female Portrayal in Advertisements and its Effects on Self-Esteem, Self-Worth, Self- Efficacy and Body Image Satisfaction
Authors: Jessup, Hilary
Advisors: Girgus, Joan
Contributors: Levy Paluck, Elizabeth
Department: Psychology
Class Year: 2015
Abstract: This thesis investigates the effects of female representation in advertisements on self-esteem, self-worth, self-efficacy, ideal body image and perceived effectiveness of advertisements. A review of the relevant literature has indicated that exposure to thin-ideal advertisements results in decreased levels of psychological wellbeing that can manifest itself in the development of eating disorders. This study more deeply explores the effects of media exposure and three different portrayals of women in advertisements: empowered, sexualized, gender-stereotyped and neutral advertisements (not containing human models) on the aforementioned dependent measures. Sexualized and gender-stereotyped advertisements should exhibit robust and detrimental effects on ideal body image, self-efficacy, self-worth and self-esteem. However, the results of this study diverge from the current literature in that advertisements showed minimal effect overall on the dependent measures. It was determined that participants in the neutral condition exhibited significantly lower levels of competition self-worth and appearance self-worth following exposure. Additionally, ideal body image increased across all conditions following exposure. It was also determined that participants classified as being exposed to high levels of media, exhibited higher baseline levels of appearance self-esteem. Lastly, although sexualized advertisements were rated as having more appeal, it was found that the empowerment advertisements had the highest ratings of overall effectiveness, indicating an increased likelihood to purchase the product.
Extent: 143 pages
Type of Material: Princeton University Senior Theses
Language: en_US
Appears in Collections:Psychology, 1930-2017

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