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Surprisingly, female models have negative effect on men
Date:11/6/2008

COLUMBIA, Mo. Many studies have shown that media images of female models have had a negative impact on how woman view their own bodies, but does this same effect hold true when men view male models? A leading researcher of media effects on body image at the University of Missouri looked at the effect of male magazines on college-age men. Completing three different studies, Jennifer Aubrey, assistant professor of communication in the College of Arts and Science, found that unlike their female classmates, it was not the same-sex models that affected the males negatively, but quite the opposite.

In her research, which will be published in Human Communication Research, Aubrey found that the cultural expectation for men is not that they have to be as attractive as their peers, but that they need to be attractive enough to be sexually appealing to women.

In her first study, Aubrey measured male exposure to 'lad' magazines, such as Maxim, FHM and Stuff, which she observes contains two main messages: the visual, which mostly contain sexually suggestive images of women; and textual, which contain articles that speak in a bawdy, male voice about topics including fashion, sex, technology and pop culture. Aubrey also measured male body self-consciousness (a participant's awareness and tendency to monitor one's appearance) and appearance anxiety (the anticipation of threatening stimuli). Participants were asked questions such as "During the day, I think about how I look," and then asked the same questions a year later.

"We found that reading lad magazines was related to having body self-consciousness a year later," said Aubrey. "This was surprising because if you look at the cover of these magazines, they are mainly images of women. We wondered why magazines that were dominated by sexual images of women were having an effect of men's feelings about their own bodies."


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Contact: Jeffrey Beeson
BeesonJ@missouri.edu
573-882-9144
University of Missouri-Columbia
Source:Eurekalert  

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