Follow-Up of Getting Serious0

Here is the survey I’m going to use for my research project.


I am conducting this survey on the effect of beauty advertising as part of the Soc 240: Visual Sociology class by instructor Antonia Levy. The questionnaire is anonymous and all responses will be kept confidential.

General Information:

1. Gender: Male   Female   Other

2. Age: 18-21    22-25    26-30+

3. Ethnicity: Black  White  Hispanic  Asian  Native American  Other

4. How often do you read beauty/fashion magazines?

Frequently   Often    Average   Seldom   Never

*Please also list the titles of the magazines (if any):


5. How often do you purchase beauty products because of their advertising?

Frequently  Often    Average   Seldom   Never

6. To what extent you think  the beauty standards presented in advertising nowadays have effect on your view of female beauty?

Very     Somewhat     A little bit     Not at all

Visual Identification: Please take look at images below and answer some questions.

7. Which one would you like to choose to represent your perspective of the female beauty nowadays? And why?

8. Considering the image you choose, do you think it’s realistic?

Image 1 -6, respectively.


Image 1. Street Capture. Poster on 42nd Street Time Square.

Image 2. Monica Bellucci – French Elle cover. Copyright© Elle, Inc.

Image 3. Vintage Vogue UK September 1960. Copyright©2010 voguearchives.

Image 4. Street Capture. Poster on 42nd Street Time Saqure.

Image 5. Sophie Dahl – British Vogue cover Nov. 07. Copyright© Vogue, Inc.

Image 6. Victoria Beckham – Elle cover Jan. 08. Copyright© Elle, Inc.


Getting Serious1


  • Kelly, L. D. (2003). Measuring Up: How Advertising Affects Self-Image/Fashion, Desire, and Anxiety: Image and Morality in the Twentieth Century/Body Work: Beauty and Self-Image in American Culture (book). NWSA Journal, 15(2), 199-203.

In this article, author Lori Duin Kelly refers to a study of how women are affected by Advertisement. Women are affected by advertisement in a variety of ways, mentally, physically, and emotionally.The views that men and women have upon all these ads are different, and although both genders can be affected by these ads , definitely take a heavier impact on the female audience. This article implies that young women with low self-esteem turn to these advertisements in search of answers regarding how to act and dress thus affecting their whole entire life. It also talks about how certain advertisement make women and their bodies into an object which can be changed and improved for the satisfaction of males. Furthermore, advertisement and marketing change not only the self-value of the women that are affected by it, but also changes their appearance as they strive to look as the ideal women in the advertisement.

  • Martin, M. C., & Kennedy, P. F. Social Comparison and the Beauty of Advertising Models: The Role of Motives For Comparison. Advances in Consumer Research, 21(1), 365-371.

The article itself talks about a study where the motives underlining why young adolescent girls will physically compare their body to the body of female models in the advertisement, and found three main motives which are based on self-evaluation, self-improvement, and self-enhancement. Self-evaluation is defined as the judgment of value, worth, or appropriateness of one’s abilities, opinions, and personal traits; self-improvement is defined by an individual drive to improve a particular attribute; and self-enhancement is an individual attempts to maintain positive views of him/her to protect self-esteem. The social roles that these three play in social comparison are further examined for the competition of the study. People strive to become the person in the advertisement, and thus they change themselves to match the qualities seen in advertisement. Therefore advertisement changes the values of self-esteem, culture, and beauty that one might have.

  • Tsai, C. C., & Chang, C. H. (2007). Effect of Physical Attractiveness of Models on Advertising Effectiveness For Male and Female Adolescents. ADOLESCENCE, Vol. 42, No. 168. Copyright: Libra Publishers, Inc.

The study conducted was to investigate the actual effect that attractive models have on advertisement. People are used to comparing their abilities, possessions and appearance with a certain standard; however, people compare themselves with other people, normally with people of their same age or group when that standard is absent. The major comparison is made by adolescent as they compare their personal attractiveness to that of models in advertisement. It was indicated that using very attractive models did attract possible customers but meanwhile affected the perspectives of beauty among those possible customers as well when they compared themselves to the model. It could be both positive and negative effects. This is why it was found that the use of normally attractive models was much more beneficial. This article supports my topic in the fact that people tend to change themselves into what they see allows advertisement to define the social concept of beauty, and build it according to the product they want to sell.


I’m planning to use surveys/questionnaires to complete the research. Short interviews will be introduced when it’s necessary. And the target population is young adolescents. Thus, college students will be recruited.

Survey will includes both close-ended questions and visual identification, as well as some basic background information such as age, gender, and ethnicity/religious. Close-ended questions will be used to find out how participants comprehend beauty via beauty products’ advertisements. For instance, the questions will be like “how often do you buy beauty products because of  the advertising effect?” Moreover, in order to find out how participants identify beauty, images that relate to beauty will be presented. The sources of images are from major fashion magazines like Vogue, ELLE, etc., and also street shots, mostly will be posters.


For ethical considerations, firstly, I will make sure all the images that I prepare to use are legally allow to copy and post, and credits will be given in follow. Secondly, the voluntary, anonymity and confidentiality will be notified in the beginning of the survey. Let participants be aware that participation is entirely voluntary, no negative consequences if she /he stops participating, I’ll keep the identity of the participants unknown, and not revealing any information obtained from participants to any outside parties. Additionally, I will ask for permission to distribute the photos of participants if it’s necessary.


Ethical Considerations2

Since my topic is advertising affects people’s perspectives on beauty, I’m planning to use both advertising images from multiple-sources, such as internet, magazines and posters, and survey.

First of all, i will make sure all the images that i prepare to use are legally allow to copy and post, as well as giving credits for all the images i use. Secondly, the anonymity and confidentiality will be introduced in survey. By this, it mean I’ll keep the identity of the participants unknown, and not revealing any information obtained from participant to any outside parties. Moreover, I will ask for permission to distribute participants’ photos if it’s necessary. Last but most important, that is voluntary. I will inform all the participants that they are free to stop participating at any time without any consequences when they feel uncomfortable to continue.


Visual Exploration1

Photo: Imaxtree

Copyright: Copyright© 2010 Hachette Filipacchi Media, U.S., Inc.

Source: http://www.elle.com/Beauty/Makeup-Skin-Care/Top-5-Beauty-Poll-Best-Mascara

This image was found in ELLE web-magazine about poll of top 5 beauty products -best mascara. It captures a model with ideal eye makeup, which considered as the most popular eye beauty product in cosmetics market. Nowadays, advertising of beauty products challenges our traditional way of viewing beauty. Also, beauty advertisement has became a guide manipulating people’s perception on beauty.

This photo was taken by myself, which is a huge advertising poster on 42nd street/7th avenue. I think it illustrates well how advertising affects people’s perspective on beauty. By looking at the female model in the poster, her perfect makeup, slim body shape, and elegant manners seem to suggest that this is the way of female beauty.


Proposal II4

As means of collecting, communicating, and exposing information, nowadays, mass media has been playing an important role in assistance of constructing social perspectives on beauty. When sexually attractive figures and temptating talks increasingly explicit and frequent present in mediated world, our traditional standard of viewing beauty has been challenged, especially differ among different sexes and genders. For instance, we (both female and male) used to consider feminine, appropriate body proportion, and exquisite face as beauty for female; and masculine, responsible, and also physically attractive for male in general. However, those standardized characteristics now have been re-constructed and re-categorized within cross-cultures, such as people are willing to accept possession of feminine features for male as part of male beauty, as well as female possess neutral-sexual features, at least in some cultures. Thus, as a result of  influences under mass media, more and more people acknowledge their social identities do not necessarily fit their views on sexual beauty.

Moreover, it is interesting to discover the fact that same-sex individuals identify and hold standard very different from individuals of opposite-sex. In another word, when people identify beauty, same-sex individuals are looking for similarity; whereas, the opposite-sex individuals are examining distinctiveness.

Do you want to be one of them?! (*_^)/

For example, by looking at the image above, what do you think? Are they qualified to be standard of beauty? The answer should be YES. Despite of some might argue they are too far to be real, but imagine how it’s possible for advertiser to use image which does not represent beauty at all to explore their market?

Therefore, my research will focus on how mass media affects people’s perspectives on beauty in nowadays. I plan to use survey/questionnaire to statisticalize how mass media (especially in advertising and commercials) guide people’s perspective on beauty of both same- and opposite-sex individuals. The design of survey/questionnaire would involve close-ended questions, open-ended question, and image identification. Demographics would include gender, age, culture, sexual orientation and etc. In addition, I’d like to add market (beauty-related products) research as another control to ensure the accuracy of finding (if it’s possible).


Proposal for topic0

Lots of ideas come to my head when i think of what should i do with the project. However, since I’m taking 2 sociology courses in this semester (visual and sex & gender), it would help me to narrow down the ideas.

Considering this course is about introducing social phenomena via mass media, and plus another course I’m having is about social perspectives on  sex & gender; initially, I’d like to talk about how mass media affects people’s perspectives on beauty of the opposite sex. Or, in another word, what kind of role does mass media play in our society on constructing the perspectives of sexual beauty among different sex and gender. Moreover, how people seeking varied form of partners based on their perception of beauty.

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