In Western society, this idea fights against long held valuations of physical appearance, primarily as portrayed or conspicuously not portrayed in the media. Body positivity proponents across social media therefore seek to make diverse body types more visible, partly as a reminder to rethink our cultural conceptions of what it means to be beautiful, and that such concepts are not fixed. Advertising is one of the salient ways to measure shifts in consumer expectations.
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Conventionally tall, thin, lean and light-skinned bodies have long held pride of place in fashion. The results of the Dove report indicate that there is still a long way to go. It is easy to attribute these issues as stemming from a distinctly American or Western preoccupation with superficiality.
However, the Dove report brings to light that body negativity is more of a global pandemic.
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The long- and short-term effects of these negative self-emotions are far from superficial. A majority of young female respondents admitted to avoiding friends, joining in social activities, and not eating when feeling negative about their body image.
It is also worthwhile to add that although the report focuses on women, it is becoming increasingly recognized that low self-esteem and poor body image among men is also a struggle fueled by media representation and cultural norms Lovejoy What is beautiful to one person or recognized as beautiful within a society or culture may not hold true for others, yet are some traits preferred over others throughout the world? But is this all really new? Ethnographic descriptions of preferred traits seem to mimic the popular media in predominantly focusing the weight, shape, and stature of the female form.
However, there is still much variation between desirable and undesirable features. Furthermore, these ideas can change over time, as will be seen below. What makes a society desire a certain body type or appearance over another is a perfect topic for cross-cultural research and one that is ideally suited to uncover rich examples from within eHRAF World Cultures.
To the Balinese, the average features of Nordics are not to be admired; sharp noses, prominent chins, white skin, blue eyes, blond hair, and so forth are distasteful to them. Only dogs, monkeys, and evil characters have long, prominent teeth and hair over their bodies. For the Balinese taste, the skin should be smooth, clear, [and the hair] thick, black, and glossy; goddesses are represented with hair down to their knees.
The complexion should not be too dark and a girl with a golden skin is considered beautiful even if other requirements are missing. The face should be round, the eyes bright and almond-shaped, but not too large, while the mouth must not be too small, with full arched lips and short even teeth. That is certainly a lot for women to embody. Another assumption that Western media often makes is that Western society is especially more obsessed with minute details of female appearance over that of males, and that this contributes to trickle-down effects on young girls like we see in the Dove Body Confidence Report.
Data from ethnographic accounts from eHRAF appear to indicate that on the whole, there are typically many more provisions and conditions on female beauty than on male beauty wherever you look. However, men are not absent from beauty expectations. Most often these focus on body shape and outward manifestations of strength. Men are not free from body expectations; typically focusing on physical strength. Ethnographic data on male bodies is somewhat less readily available.
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In colonial-era ethnographic accounts of beauty, it is significant that details about desirable physical appearance were often relayed by male authors. News :. As of 1st April Dove Medical Press will no longer consider meta-analyses for publication. Home Journals Why publish with us?
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