Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Makeover Shows Correspond With Increased Body Anxiety

Date:
January 25, 2009
Source:
University of Southern California
Summary:
"The Swan." "I Want a Famous Face." "Dr. 90210." "Extreme Makeover." "Nip/Tuck." The list goes on. These are a few of the TV shows that have examined, and promoted, the benefits of plastic surgery in recent years. Some experts believe the shows are driving women to go under the knife to conform to a heightened definition of beauty, one that is increasingly difficult to attain.

Botox injection. Botox belongs to a class of drugs called botulinum toxins, which derive from the bacterium Clostridium botulinum. Women in the a new study equated beauty to wealth and an affluent lifestyle.
Credit: iStockphoto/Leah-Anne Thompson

“The Swan.” “I Want a Famous Face.” “Dr. 90210.” “Extreme Makeover.” “Nip/Tuck.” The list goes on.

Related Articles


These are a few of the TV shows that have examined, and promoted, the benefits of plastic surgery in recent years. University of Southern California professor Julie Albright believes the shows are driving women to go under the knife to conform to a heightened definition of beauty, one that is increasingly difficult to attain.

Consider that, according to the American Society for Aesthetic Plastic Surgery:

  • The number of 18-year-olds who underwent breast-implant surgery nearly tripled from 2002 to 2003.
  • There has been a 444% increase in plastic surgery since 1997.
  • Over 90% of all plastic surgery is performed on women.
  • Americans spent approximately $12.4 billion on cosmetic procedures in 2006.

“The practice now has incredible visibility, which has led to incredible acceptance, which has led to incredible pressure for women to improve their appearance,” Albright believes.

Albright’s study, “Impossible Bodies,” surveyed 662 college students in Los Angeles and Buffalo about their viewing habits and body image.

The study, recently published in Configurations Journal from Johns Hopkins University Press shows that women watch these shows more than men and the more they watch the more they are likely to feel anxiety about their bodies, Albright says.

Women in the study equated beauty to wealth and an affluent lifestyle, Albright said.

“Women are being taught to access power and status through their looks, “ Albright believes. “Before women might buy a Louis Vuitton purse to show off their ‘status.’ Now they might buy new breasts as a sign of their success.”

At the very least, these shows act as an advertisement for the plastic surgery industry, Albright says. At the most these shows impose unrealistic beauty standards that make people question their own bodies while giving them an instruction manual on how to change their appearance.

“The aim of plastic surgery makeover shows is to make women more beautiful and highlight the dissatisfaction women have with their bodies,” Albright said.

“Extreme Makeover” was ABC’s second-highest-rated show for those under 50. “The Swan” attracted more viewers than Miss America and Miss USA. And Albright found the shows play off children’s stories most American children know by heart, such as Cinderella and the Ugly Duckling.

“It’s now everywhere – and it’s not just for rich women behind closed doors,” Albright said.

The findings suggested that women felt a surgically enhanced body was more attractive to men, though men in the study disagreed.

Many of the findings were the same for the two different geographical and socioeconomic areas of the country where the survey was conducted.

But there were some notable differences. Students in Buffalo, whose parental income average $70,000, had more body anxiety than the L.A. students, whose parental income averaged $100,000.

While the L.A. students felt their “problem” body parts were a moral failing, the Buffalo students believed their body issues could keep them from achieving success, Albright said.


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by University of Southern California. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Cite This Page:

University of Southern California. "Makeover Shows Correspond With Increased Body Anxiety." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 25 January 2009. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2009/01/090122163319.htm>.
University of Southern California. (2009, January 25). Makeover Shows Correspond With Increased Body Anxiety. ScienceDaily. Retrieved November 21, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2009/01/090122163319.htm
University of Southern California. "Makeover Shows Correspond With Increased Body Anxiety." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2009/01/090122163319.htm (accessed November 21, 2014).

Share This


More From ScienceDaily



More Health & Medicine News

Friday, November 21, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

WFP: Ebola Risks Heightened Among Women Throughout Africa

WFP: Ebola Risks Heightened Among Women Throughout Africa

AFP (Nov. 21, 2014) Having children has always been a frightening prospect in Sierra Leone, the world's most dangerous place to give birth, but Ebola has presented an alarming new threat for expectant mothers. Duration: 00:37 Video provided by AFP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Could Your Genes Be The Reason You're Single?

Could Your Genes Be The Reason You're Single?

Newsy (Nov. 21, 2014) Researchers in Beijing discovered a gene called 5-HTA1, and carriers are reportedly 20 percent more likely to be single. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Milestone Birthdays Can Bring Existential Crisis, Study Says

Milestone Birthdays Can Bring Existential Crisis, Study Says

Newsy (Nov. 21, 2014) Researchers find that as people approach new decades in their lives they make bigger life decisions. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Ebola: Life Without School in Guinea

Ebola: Life Without School in Guinea

AFP (Nov. 21, 2014) Following the closure of schools and universities in Guinea because of the Ebola virus, students look for temporary work or gather in makeshift classrooms to catch up on their syllabus. Duration: 02:14 Video provided by AFP
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:

Breaking News:

Strange & Offbeat Stories


Health & Medicine

Mind & Brain

Living & Well

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

Health News

Environment News

Technology News



Save/Print:
Share:

Free Subscriptions


Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

Get Social & Mobile


Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

Have Feedback?


Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
Mobile: iPhone Android Web
Follow: Facebook Twitter Google+
Subscribe: RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins