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Romantic Movies and Body Image

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Kate DeSalvo

on 14 May 2014

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Transcript of Romantic Movies and Body Image

Why Study Romantic Comedies and Body Image?
Correlations Between Level of Body Satisfaction and the Viewing of Romantic Comedies
Kate DeSalvo, Jordan Gex, Karen Gonzales, Carly Greer, Casey Hamilton
We live in a media saturated world
Young adults ages 8 to 19 will engage in an average of 7.5 hours of media per day (nationaleatindisorders.org)
Over 80% of Americans watch television daily (nationaleatingdisorders.org)
180 million people watch movies online every month (digitaltrends.com)
Romantic Comedies are the 6th highest grossing genre (ibm.com)
"Romantic movies are to women what porn is to men." -Greg Gutfeld, Fox News
Cultivation Theory in Relation to Romantic Comedies and Body Image
Cultivation Theory
Occurs through repeated exposure of the media
Reality is constructed by:
Social Interactions
Media mimics reality to shape viewers' beliefs and attitudes
Ex: Romantic comedies display unrealistic body image ideals, therefore women believe their body is supposed to look a certain way
Conceptual Definitions
Romantic Comedies = a light and humorous movie, play, etc. whose central plot is a happy love story (Dictionary.com)
Body Image = the subjective picture or mental image of one's own body (Oxford Dictionary)
Thin Ideal = portrayals of thinness as a desirable trait in and of itself or one that co-occurs with other desirable traits (Harrison, 2001)
Moderating Variable
Self Esteem = confidence in one's own abilities or worth (Oxford Dictionary)
H1: Women with low self esteem who frequently view romantic comedies are more likely to be dissatisfied with their body image.

H2: Women who internalize the thin ideal portrayed in romantic comedies are more likely to be dissatisfied with their body image.
Literature Review
203 Undergraduate Females
Ages 18 to 22
Communication Studies
Extra Credit for participation
Primarily Caucasian
Northwestern College Campuse
Trained female research assistants
Surveys administered in individual cubicals to ensure honestly and protect privacy
Informed consent before entering the survey
Average 10-minute response time
Discarded surveys completed under 5-minutes due to dependability concerns
Body Image
Thin Ideal
Romantic Comedy: Media Consumption
Self-Esteem (Moderating Variable)
Self-Esteem refers to a persons self concept. How we feel, value, and perceive ourselves relates directly to our levels of self-esteem.
Our research look at self esteem as a moderating variable
A study conducted by Henderson-King (2006) used the Franzoi & Sheilds Body Esteem Scale to assess overall female personal body satisfaction. Researchers asked each participant of exact physical weight and height to compare perceived body ideals to current, actual physical appearance.
This scale indicates how you feel on certain parts of your body
Unattainable physical perfection that the media has for women
Body Image
Media influences our daily lives in a very drastic way, and women struggle constantly with how they look. In a society that places so much pressure on women, ideal body image desires portrayed in media negatively effect the way women view themselves. We are looking at how Romantic Comedies specifically effect how women look at their own body image.
A study conducted by Mark Tiggemann aims to investigate the influence of body images in the medium of television in adolescent boys and girls.
Watching television provides the public with an unrealistic image of what we should be striving to look like and be like.
Cosmetic Surgery: finding perfectionism (Mammadova & Swami, 2012)
The media is the main beneficiary of creating body dissatisfaction among girls and young women.
"Adolescent girls are continuously exposed to images of idealized female models through the media and advertising (Fouts & Burggraf, 2000; Sypeck, Gray, & Ahrens, 200). " (Ashikali, 2014). This study focuses specifically on cosmetic surgery TV shows with the goal being, to find if content in the shows has direct effect on body image as well as the woman's attitudes towards plastic surgeries
Rosenberg's Self Esteem Scale (Rosenberg, 1979)
Cronbach’s = .89
Heatherton & Polivy (1991) Current Thoughts Scale
Excellent internal validity
In today’s society young girls constantly face pressure to maintain an “ideal,” body image. This image has changed over time and in today’s culture the ideal can be seen throughout the media. Over the years multiple studies have been completed in hopes to find correlations between media and body dissatisfaction in young women. After looking into many of these studies, we found that there is a lack of research focusing specifically on Romantic Comedies and their specific effect on women's body image and dissatisfaction. We will be exploring the variables of body image, the thin ideal, romantic comedies, and self esteem and their affect on how women view themselves and feel confident with their image.

Taken from Google images
Taken from Google images
Taken from Google images
Taken from Google images
Taken from Google Images
Taken from Google images
Taken from Google images
Taken from Google images
What women think the ideal body looks like...
Stunkard's Figure Rating Scale (Stunkard et al., 1983)
The Thin Ideal
Taken from Google images
According to Harrison (1997), the "thin ideal" is the portrayal of thinness as a desirable trait in and of itself or one that co-occurs with other desirable traits. Media exposure towards the thin ideal is a rising influence in individual's negative feelings about their physical appearance (Hass, Pawlow, Pettibone & Segrist, 2012).
Hass,Pettibone and Segrist, 2012, study whether female images portrayed in the media that were air brushed and enhanced, caused women to express low self-esteem and depression (Gerber, 2005).
Not only do women suffer from simply viewing media exposure but they also internalize the media ideals. “The Thin ideal.” (Yamamiya, Cash, Melnyk, & Posavac, 2005).
The effect of media exposure on female s’ weight concern results from a social comparison process whereby females perceive their appearance relative to society’s standard as depicted in the media (Heinberg & Thompson‚ 1992)
The results depict that women may experience stable satisfaction with their bodies when their body shape is very similar to the models pictured in media images, or when the women’s body weight is not an important factor that determines their self-worth because they are high self-confident in skills and abilities unrelated to physical attractiveness.
Romantic Comedy: Media Exposure
Taken from Google images
Romantic comedies are films with light-hearted, humorous plotlines, centered on romantic ideals, such as a true love able to surmount most obstacles. (Johnson, 2013)
Became about in the 30”s and 40’s; centered around the idea of equality of the sexes
In the 70’s RC took a step back because of the woman’s independent movement
In the 90’s it explored started portraying issues with gender and sexuality
Today; “neo-traditional” reference popular culture and consumer products.
Critical cultural scholars argue that the happy endings (i.e., ideal takeaway theme) common in these films lead people to assume the movies are overly idealistic. In addition, these expressed ideals are often rewarded and that could influence viewers to pay more attention to these idealistic themes. (Hefner, 2013)
Exposure to romantic comedies is related to young people’s endorsement of romantic beliefs (Hefner, 2011). Therefore, this statement backs up our hypothesis.

1. Movie Genre Preferences
2. Influence of media and body image internalization
Sociocultural Attitudes Towards Appearance Questionnaire (SATAQ-3) (Calogero, Davis, and Thompsons, 2004)
3.Motivation for movie consumption
Hefners (2011) adapted version of Rubins (1983) scale
4. Perceived similarity to characters
Hefners (2011) refined version of Perceived Homophily Measure (McCroskey, Richmond & Daly, 1975(

Internalization of the Thin Ideal...
Ideal Body Stereotype Internalization Scale (Stice et al., 1994)
Females current satisfaction with their bodies...
Stunkard Figure Rating Scale (Stunkard et al., 1983)

Females body image perception...
Body Image Perception Scale (Ferraro et al., 1994)
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